2018 Annual Meeting, Nov 17-20

Mark your calendars for the 2018 Annual Meeting! Plan to join your colleagues in Denver November 17-20. Register Now!

2018 Regional Meetings

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Books and Major Publications

Esther Acolatse, Knox College, University of Toronto

Powers, Principalities, and the Spirit, Eerdman's, 2018. Among the many factors that separate churches in the West from those of the global South—worship styles, approaches to Scripture, demographic trends of growth or decline—there may be no greater difference than their respective attitudes toward super-natural “powers and principalities.” This book attempts to bridge this enormous hermeneutical gap not only between the West and global Christianity but also between the West and its own biblical-theological heritage.

Mike Ashcraft, Truman State University

A Historical Introduction to the Study of New Religious MovementsRoutledge, 2018. The American public’s perception of New Religious Movements (NRMs) as fundamentally harmful cults stems from the "anticult" movement of the 1970s, which gave a sometimes hysterical and often distorted image of NRMs to the media. At the same time, academics pioneered a new field, studying these same NRMs from sociological and historical perspectives. For these scholars in the new field of NRM studies, NRMs were legitimate religions deserving of those freedoms granted to established religions. Those scholars in NRM studies continued to evolve methods and theories to study NRMs. This book tells their story.

Stephen S. Bush, Brown University

William James on Democratic IndividualityCambridge University Press, 2017. William James (1842–1910) argued for a philosophy of democracy and pluralism that advocates individual and collective responsibility for our social arrangements, our morality, and our religion. In James' view, democracy resides first and foremost not in governmental institutions or in procedures such as voting, but rather in the characteristics of individuals, and in qualities of mind and conduct. In this book, Stephen Bush explores how these themes connect to James' philosophy of religion, his moral thought, his epistemology, his psychology, and his metaphysics.

Alexander Chow, University of Edinburgh

Chinese Public Theology: Generational Shifts and Confucian Imagination in Chinese Christianity, Oxford University Press2018. Since the end of the Cultural Revolution, Christians in China have been constructing a public theology to engage the Chinese state and society. Chinese Public Theology recalls the events which have led to this transformation and examines the developments of Christianity across three generations from the state-sanctioned Protestant church, the secular academy, and the growing urban renaissance in Calvinism. It also offers suggestions for the future direction of a Chinese public theology, which has wider implications on the lively discourse on public theology—both within mainland China and beyond.

Vincent Lloyd, Villanova University

In Defense of Charisma. Columbia University Press, 2018. Martin Luther King, Jr., has charisma, as does Brad Pitt. Adolf Hitler and Mother Teresa, Clarence Darrow and the Dalai Lama, and many a high school teacher have charisma. Charisma marks, or masks, power. Charisma legitimates, but charisma also attracts suspicion. Astride the secular-sacred divide, charisma enchants. Drawing together resources from religious studies and sociology and applying them to examples from history, popular culture, and literature, this book offers a novel theory of charisma. It argues that there are actually two types of charisma, authoritarian charisma, that conceals, and democratic charisma, that reveals, orienting us toward justice.

Devaka Premawardhana, Colorado College

Faith in Flux: Pentecostalism and Mobility in Rural Mozambique, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2018. Anthropologist Devaka Premawardhana arrived in Africa to study the much reported “explosion” of Pentecostalism, the spread of which has indeed been massive. Yet Premawardhana found no evidence for this in the province of Mozambique where he worked. His research suggests that much can be gained by including such places in the story of global Christianity, by shifting attention from the well-known places where Pentecostal churches flourish to the unfamiliar places where they fail.

Ashley Purpura, Purdue University

God, Hierarchy, and Power, Fordham University Press, 2017. In the current age where democratic and egalitarian ideals have preeminence, Eastern Orthodox Christianity faces the challenging questions: “Why is hierarchy maintained as the model of organizing the church, and what are the theological justifications for its persistence?” This book presents four Byzantine authors on the topic of ecclesiastical hierarchy in theoretical, ritual, and pragmatic contexts to suggest a theological tradition of constructing authentic ecclesiastical hierarchy as divinely communicative, and to critically reflect on its relevance.

Angela Rudert, Ithaca College

Shakti's New Voice: Guru Devotion in a Woman-Led Spiritual MovementRowman & Littlefield, 2017. Shakti’s New Voice is the first comprehensive study of Anandmurti Gurumaa, a widely popular contemporary female guru from north India known for offering spiritual teachings and music on satellite television and the Internet. Based on extensive ethnographic fieldwork and religious-historical research—as well as unexpected and unprecedented outsider contact with the guru—Angela Rudert offers an intimate portrait of “Gurumaa” that will be of interest to the guru’s admirers as well as to scholars.