Faculty Books

Beyond Personal Identity: Dogen, Nishida, and a Phenomenology of No-Self (Routledge Studies in Asian Religion)Beyond Personal Identity: Dogen, Nishida, and a Phenomenology of No-Self (Routledge Studies in Asian Religion)
By Gereon Kopf
Routledge, 2001

Applies Dogen Kigen's religious philosophy and the philosophy of Nishida Kitaro to the philosophical problem of personal identity, probing the applicability of the concept of non-self to the philosophical problems of selfhood, otherness, and temporality which culminate in the conundrum of personal identity.

Christian Ethics: A Case Method Approach, 4th Edition
By James Martin-Schramm, Laura Stivers, and Christine Gudorf
Orbis Books, 2012

The case method approach, effective in disciplines from business to law, forms the backbone of this classroom-proven work. Designed specifically for undergraduate and beginning graduate courses, this latest revision includes ten new cases, including cases on immigration, homelessness and foreclosures, water, ethical issues in the workplace, closing hospital emergency rooms, executive pay, living together vs. marriage, same-sex marriage, and physician-assisted death. In addition, the remaining cases have been updated to keep the book contemporary with “real life” issues in order to provide productive discussions and fruitful learning.

Christian Environmental Ethics: A Case Method Approach
By James Martin-Schramm and Robert Strivers
Orbis Books, 2003

Nine cases and commentaries that present real-life situations and analyze the crucial decisions to be made.

Environmental issues are front-page news—from the storage of nuclear waste (not in my backyard!) to our dependence on imported oil. Individuals, communities, and industries with differing interests confront these issues on a daily basis and often vie for public support.

The first section describes the causes of environmental degradation, develops principles of environmental justice, and demonstrates how to approach decision-making. Nine cases and commentaries, based on actual situations, then explore the issues and provide resources—both moral and theological—to help readers evaluate possible outcomes. Each case/commentary includes suggested readings and relevant web sites for further research.

Climate Justice: Ethics, Energy, and Public Policy
By James Martin-Schramm
Fortress Press, 2010

Energy issues and climate change have loomed up from issues at the horizon to confront humanity directly and vitally. They are now pressing public-policy challenges of monumental scale and import. James Martin-Schramm draws on decades of involvement with ethics, public policy, and environmental ethics to provide this lucid and astute analysis of the problems and options for addressing energy and climate change.

Martin-Schramm argues that reliance on fossil fuels has produced grave threats to justice, peace, and the integrity of creation. Addressing these threats requires of Christians not simply new individual sensitivities and sacrifices but a new way of living in harmony with the earth and an earnest search for policy that fosters sustainability, reflects values of equity and fairness, and operates on a scale commensurate with the problems. Martin-Schramm proposes a full analysis of the problems and causes of our situation and real principles for an ethic of ecojustice. He also provides specific assessment of norms, policy options, and recommendations in the areas of energy and climate change and a glimpse of what a workable alternative might look like, globally and locally.

Martin-Schramm's work combines solid analysis with genuine commitment to effective policy, all driven by a Christian imperative to understand and tackle this deepest challenge to life itself.

The Fear of IslamThe Fear of Islam: An Introduction to Islamophobia in the West
By Todd Green
Fortress Press, 2015

American and European societies, particularly in the long wake of the events of 9/11 and the bombings in Madrid and London, have struggled with the recurrent problem of Islamophobia, which continues to surface in waves of controversial legislative proposals, public anger over the construction of religious edifices, and outbreaks of violence. The ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestine contributes fuel to the aggressive debate in Western societies and creates the need for measured discussion about religion, fear, prejudice, otherness, and residual colonialist attitudes. The Fear of Islam speaks into this context, offering an introduction to the historical roots and contemporary forms of religious anxiety regarding Islam within the Western world. Tracing the medieval legacy of religious polemics and violence, Green weaves together a narrative that orients the reader to the complex history and issues that originate from this legacy, continuing through to the early and late modern colonial enterprises, the theories of "Orientalism," and the production of religious discourses of alterity and the clash of civilizations that proliferated in the era of 9/11 and the war on terror. The book contains analysis of interviews from figures such as Keith Ellison, John Esposito, Ingrid Mattson, Eboo Patel, Tariq Ramadan, and others.

Market and Margins: Lutheran Perspectives by Wanda DeifeltMarket and Margins: Lutheran Perspectives
Edited by Wanda Deifelt
Minneapolis: Lutheran University Press, 2014

No generation before ours has witnessed as much social and economic inequality, with a widening gap between those who can afford luxurious life styles and those who barely survive. While a market-based economy allows some to prosper, it also has adverse effects, leaving many at the margins and lacking what they need for subsistence. Can a market economy assure that, through competition, more people will be economic players? Or does a market ruled by the price of commodities lead to the commodification of life itself? Can a global economic order, often guided by greed, be transformed to provide sustainable livelihood for all?

These questions, among others, were the focus of the 2013 Consultation of Teaching Theologians, organized by the ELCA/ELCIC Association of Teaching Theologians. The consultation was held from August 5-7, 2013, at the Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary in Columbia, South Carolina.

The Association of Teaching Theologians is a community of theologians engaged in a ministry of teaching in the classroom, in the church, and in the world at large. The purpose of the association is to help the teaching theologians of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada to better understand, affirm, and carry out their vocation as teachers of the church. 

Merleau-Ponty and Buddhism
By Gereon Kopf and Jin Y. Park
Lexington Books, 2010

Merleau-Ponty and Buddhism explores a new mode of philosophizing through a comparative study of Maurice Merleau-Ponty's phenomenology and philosophies of major Buddhist thinkers such as Nagarjuna, Chinul, Dogen, Shinran, and Nishida Kitaro. Challenging the dualistic paradigm of existing philosophical traditions, Merleau-Ponty proposes a philosophy in which the traditional opposites are encountered through mutual penetration. Likewise, a Buddhist worldview is articulated in the theory of dependent co-arising, or the middle path, which comprehends the world and beings in the third space, where the subject and the object, or eternalism and annihilation, exist independent of one another. The thirteen essays in this volume explore this third space in their discussions of Merleau-Ponty's concepts of the intentional arc, the flesh of the world, and the chiasm of visibility in connection with the Buddhist doctrine of no-self and the five aggregates, the Tiantai Buddhist concept of threefold truth, Zen Buddhist huatou meditation, the invocation of the Amida Buddha in True Pure Land Buddhism, and Nishida's concept of basho.

Population Perils and the Churches' Response
By James Martin-Schramm
World Council of Churches Publications, 1997

The number of people added to the human race every year is equal to the population of Mexico, and the overwhelming majority of them are born in conditions of growing poverty. In forty years the world's population has doubled, and experts predict it will nearly double again in the next fifty. Meeting the needs of so many people will require a five- to tenfold increase in economic activity, and doubts are growing that the earth can sustain this. Churches, like the human family as a whole, are deeply divided over what to do about it. The author makes a lucid survey of the various "perils" of the population question, and gives an overview of responses already being made by churches and the ecumenical family.

Queering the Ethiopian Eunuch: Strategies of Ambiguity in Acts
By Sean Burke
Fortress Press, 2013

Were eunuchs more usually castrated guardians of the harem, as florid Orientalist portraits imagine them, or were they trusted court officials who may never have been castrated? Was the Ethiopian eunuch a Jew or a Gentile, a slave or a free man? Why does Luke call him a "man" while contemporaries referred to eunuchs as "unmanned" beings? As Sean D. Burke treats questions that have received dramatically different answers over the centuries of Christian interpretation, he shows that eunuchs bore particular stereotyped associations regarding gender and sexual status as well as of race, ethnicity, and class. Not only has Luke failed to resolve these ambiguities; he has positioned this destabilized figure at a key place in the narrative—as the gospel has expanded beyond Judea, but before Gentiles are explicitly named—in such a way as to blur a number of social role boundaries. In this sense, Burke argues, Luke intended to "queer" his reader's expectations and so to present the boundary-transgressing potentiality of a new community.

Radically Open: Transcending Religious Identity in an Age of Anxiety
By Robert Shedinger
Cascade Books, 2012

America stands in the throes of an anxiety epidemic, yet Americans live in one of the most religious countries in the world? Shouldn't people with deep spiritual roots be less vulnerable to emotional suffering? Such an enigma stands at the center of this book, but the enigma turns out to be more apparent than real. The overt religiosity so characteristic of modern American society ironically serves to foster the anxiety epidemic by locking people into a disenchanted secular mindset, leaving them cut off from the deep spiritual resources they so desperately need in the face of mounting anxiety.

Based on the author's own journey through the darkness of anxiety in conversation with the psychology of Carl Jung, this book argues that transcending religious identity and submitting to the greater wisdom of the cosmic story holds a powerful key to resolving anxiety and creating a more just and sustainable world. Surprisingly, the Islamic tradition may provide one of the best models for how to accomplish this.

Responding to Secularization: The Deaconess Movement in Nineteenth-Century Sweden
By Todd Green
Brill, 2011

The causal link between modernization and secularization constitutes the core of secularization theories, but what these theories often overlook are the ways in which modernity can benefit religion. Focusing on the female diaconate’s contributions to education, health care, and poor relief in nineteenth-century Sweden, this book argues that modernization created new possibilities and opportunities for religious communities to wield public influence. The rise, growth, and social significance of the deaconess movement remain incomprehensible apart from the very modernizing forces that secularization theories claim are detrimental to religion.

The Role and Function of Repentance in Luke-Acts
By Guy Nave
Brill, 2002

This book explores the central function of the concept "repentance" in the narrative structure and implied social world of the Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles, and examines how repentance is presented as part of the divine plan. In Luke-Acts, everyone is eligible for membership in the community of God’s people. Such inclusivity requires a radical change in thinking on the part of many in the emerging religious community of Luke-Acts. Repentance in Luke-Acts represents this fundamental change in thinking that enables diverse individuals to receive the salvation of God and to live together as a community of God’s people. The book sets the literary and theological motifs of the New Testament narrative within the social realities of the Greco-Roman world, including varieties of Judaism. It elaborates ways the implied audience would have thought about changing one’s mind, attitudes, and behavior as a step in the progress toward virtue. The book provides an excellent synthesis and analysis of the usage of "repent" and "repentance" in Classical, Hellenistic, Hellenistic Jewish, and early Christian literature.

Tatian and the Jewish Scriptures: A Textual and Philological Analysis of the Old Testament Citations in Tatian’s Diatessaron
By Robert Shedinger
Peeter's Press, 2001

It has long been argued that Tatian, in the production of the Diatessaron, made regular reference to the Old Testament Peshitta when he came across Old Testament citations in the Gospels.

This book argues on the contrary that Tatian made little or no use of the Old Testament Peshitta, but regularly took over the text of the Old Testament citations as he found them in the Gospel sources out of which he created his harmony. Where they differ from the form of these citations in the standard Greek text tradition of the Gospels, it is because, in the second century, Tatian had access to Gospel sources which may have varied significantly from the text of the later manuscripts on which our modern critical editions are based. Thus, Tatian's Diatessaron becomes a window into an early state of the Gospel texts and supports the idea that a significant amount of textual fluidity characterized the Gospel texts in the first two centuries of their transmission.

This study will be of interest to those working in the fields of Diatessaronic studies, New Testament Textual Criticism, and the history of the Syriac Church.

Was Jesus a Muslim? Questioning Categories in the Study of Religion
By Robert Shedinger
Fortress Press, 2009

An intriguing question - Do Muslims understand Jesus in some ways more historically appropriate than Christians do? - leads Robert F. Shedinger into a series of provocative challenges to the disciplines of religious studies and comparative religions. Questioning the convenient distinction between "politics" and "religion" and the isolation of "religion" from wider social and cultural questions, Shedinger offers a proposal for a more accurate and respectful understanding of faith that he argues will improve possibilities for mutual understanding among Christians, Muslims - and others.

Who Killed Goliath? Reading the Bible with Heart and Mind
By Robert Shedinger
Judson Press, 2001

In exploring the various complexities of the Bible, the authors of these nine essays seek to help readers develop new insights into familiar biblical texts that will lead to a greater appreciation of God’s Word. Shedinger, Spink, and their fellow essayists challenge the wave of books that promote the idea that a literal reading of the Bible is the only one relevant to today’s Christians.

Their exploration of Paul in 1 Corinthians, David and Goliath, and the stories of Mary Magdalene, the Samaritan woman, and others introduce readers to a variety of different strategies for reading the Bible in a deeper and more complex way. In tackling some difficult, seemingly contradictory passages of Scripture that many prefer to ignore, the authors demonstrate how these different interpretive strategies can influence the messages we receive when we turn to the Bible.