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Faithful Narratives

Historians of religion face complex interpretive issues when examining religious texts, practices, and experiences. Faithful Narratives presents the work of twelve eminent scholars whose research has exemplified compelling strategies for negotiating the difficulties inherent in this increasingly important area of historical inquiry. The chapters range chronologically from Late Antiquity to modern America and thematically from the spirituality of near eastern monks to women's agency in religion, considering familiar religious communities alongside those on the margins and bringing a range of spiritual and religious practices into historical focus. Focusing on Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, the essays address matters central to the study of religion in history, in particular texts and traditions of authority, interreligious discourse, and religious practice and experience. Some examine mainstream communities and traditions, others explore individuals who crossed religious or confessional boundaries, and still others study the peripheries of what is considered orthodox religious tradition. Encompassing a wide geographical as well as chronological scope, Faithful Narratives illustrates the persistence of central themes and common analytical challenges for historians working in all periods. Contributors: Peter Brown, Princeton University; Nina Caputo, University of Florida; Carlos Eire, Yale University; Susanna Elm, University of California, Berkeley; Anthony Grafton, Princeton University; Susannah Heschel, Dartmouth College; Phyllis Mack, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey; Kenneth Mills, University of Toronto; David Nirenberg, University of Chicago; Mark A. Noll, University of Notre Dame; David B. Ruderman, University of Pennsylvania; Lamin Sanneh, Yale University; Andrea Sterk, University of Florida; John Van Engen, University of Notre Dame.
Product Details

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Challenge of Religion in History ANDREA STERK AND NINA CAPUTO Part One: Late Antique and Medieval Religious Debates and Their Modern Implications 1. Pagan Challenge, Christian Response: Emperor Julian and Gregory of Nazianzus as Paradigms of Interreligious Discourse SUSANNA ELM 2. Between Syria and Egypt: Alms, Work, and the "Holy Poor" PETER BROWN 3. Medieval Monks on Labor and Leisure JOHN VAN ENGEN 4. Sibling Rivalries, Scriptural Communities: What Medieval History Can and Cannot Teach Us about Relations between Judaism, Christianity, and Islam DAVID NIRENBERG Part Two: Early Modern Perspectives on Spirituality, Culture, and Religious Boundaries 5. The People and the Book: Print and the Transformation of Jewish Culture in Early Modern Europe DAVID B. RUDERMAN 6. The Jewish Book in Christian Europe: Material Texts and Religious Encounters ANTHONY GRAFTON 7. Mission and Narrative in the Early Modern Spanish World: Diego de Ocana's Desert in Passing KENNETH MILLS 8. Incombustible Weber: How the Protestant Reformation Really Disenchanted the World CARLOS EIRE Part Three: From the Premodern to the Modern World: Sacred Texts, Individual Agency, and Religious Identity 9. Religion and Gender in Enlightenment England: The Problem of Agency PHYLLIS MACK 10. Constructions of Jewish Identity through Reflections on Islam SUSANNAH HESCHEL 11. Bible, Translation, and Culture: From the KJV to the Christian Resurgence in Africa LAMIN SANNEH 12. Reflections on the Bible and American Public Life MARK A. NOLL Notes

About the Author

Andrea Sterk is Associate Professor of History at the University of Florida. She is the author most recently of Renouncing the World Yet Leading the Church: The Monk-Bishop in Late Antiquity. Nina Caputo is Associate Professor of History at the University of Florida. She is the author of Nahmanides in Medieval Catalonia: Community, History, and Messianism.


"Faithful Narratives features an all-star lineup of historians, the best of the best, and all deliver. They contend that religion cannot be explained away, ignored as a factor in human agency, reduced to a by-product of other factors, or treated as a category separate from society."-David Kling, University of Miami, author of The Bible in History "Traversing the boundaries of the religious and the secular, the premodern and modern, and the disciplines of history and religious studies, this collection of illuminating and compelling essays offers new insights into the significance of religion in the study of history. It is an important and interdisciplinary intervention in modern historiography, for the contributors remind us that religion belongs alongside politics, economics, and culture as an integral dimension of individual and communal identity."-Kim Haines-Eitzen, Cornell University, author of The Gendered Palimpsest

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