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Dangerous Religious Ideas
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Reveals how faith traditions have long passed down tools for self-examination and debate, because all religious ideas--not just extremist ones--can cause harm as well as embody important moral teachings

Table of Contents

PART I: DANGEROUS RELIGIOUS IDEAS

INTRODUCTION

CHAPTER 1
What Are Dangerous Religious Ideas?

PART II: SCRIPTURE

CHAPTER 2
Scripture as a Dangerous Religious Idea

CHAPTER 3
Judaism-The Canonization of Controversy

CHAPTER 4
Christianity-The Human Equation

CHAPTER 5
Islam-The Role of Doubt in Faith

CHAPTER 6
Scripture in the Contemporary Context

PART III: CHOSENNESS AND ELECTION, SUPERSESSION AND SALVATION

CHAPTER 7
A Matrix of Dangerous Religious Ideas

CHAPTER 8
Chosenness in Judaism

CHAPTER 9
Election in Christianity

CHAPTER 10
Divine Guidance in Islam

CHAPTER 11
Enduring Challenges

PART IV: GOOD AND DANGEROUS

CHAPTER 12
Religion in the Public Square? The Case of Criminal Justice

CHAPTER 13
The Space-In-Between

Acknowledgments
Notes
Index

About the Author

Rachel S. Mikva serves as the Rabbi Herman E. Schaalman Chair and Associate Professor in Jewish Studies, and the Senior Faculty Fellow of the InterReligious Institute at Chicago Theological Seminary. Rabbi Mikva went to teach and earn her Ph.D. at Jewish Theological Seminary, focusing on rabbinic literature and the history of scriptural interpretation. Her courses and research address a range of Jewish and comparative studies, with a special interest in the intersections of scripture, culture and ethics.

Reviews

"This cogent work provides a promising platform for interreligious engagement, particularly for interfaith academics."
-Publishers Weekly

"A generous and thought-provoking book about the power and uses of religious faith."
-Booklist

"The book's most radical gesture is its enactment of the change it wants to see in the world. In binding often antagonistic faiths between the covers of a single volume, Mikva shows how pleas from spiritual leaders for restraint, flexibility and self-critique unite the traditions of all three-and, in her view, offer the greatest hope for goodness, healing and justice."
-The New York Times

"Religion has been responsible for profound acts of compassion and unspeakable acts of violence. It has birthed great civilizations and destroyed entire societies. It has fostered the expansion of universal human rights and fomented hatred and bigotry of the other. In Rachel Mikva's telling, the very things that make religion a force for good are also what makes it so dangerous. As both a scholar and a rabbi, Mikva is unblinking in her self-critical examination of these dangerous religious ideas, offering believers and nonbelievers alike a new way to think about the enduring the power of faith."
-Reza Aslan, author of Zealot: The Life of and Times of Jesus of Nazareth

"Theologically informed, politically aware, and ultimately encouraging, the volume honestly names problematic texts and tendencies within the three monotheistic traditions and then provides the resources within those same traditions for self-correction and interreligious engagement. Given the role of religion in the public square, Mikva's voice is not only helpful; it is also needed."
-Amy-Jill Levine, author of The Misunderstood Jew

"A crucial contribution to the current struggle over the political uses and abuses of religion, Rachel Mikva's nuanced and compelling case for self-critical faith examines the paradox of religious ideas that both inspire humility and human flourishing and mandate certainty and oppression. She invites those betrayed by faith and those nourished by faith to engage ultimate questions of meaning and morality as we consider public theologies that lead to a more just society for us all."
-Rita Nakashima Brock, coauthor of Saving Paradise: How Christianity Traded Love of This World for Crucifixion and Empire

"This illuminating book will change the way you think about religious ideas."
-Eboo Patel, founder and president of the Interfaith Youth Core and author of Interfaith Leadership: A Primer

"Dangerous Religious Ideas is engaging, vulnerable, honest, and powerful. If you are not bothered by this book in some way, you have probably not taken it seriously. Mikva's work is provocative, and you will be a better person-whether of faith or not-for having read it."
-Joel N. Lohr, coauthor of The Hebrew Bible for Beginners

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