With a decline in traditional religious belief, interest in spirituality has grown in Western cultures. The notion of spirituality expresses the fact that people are driven by goals that concern more than material satisfaction. Here, the author explores the historical foundations of spirituality and thinks about how it transforms lives.
What are African religions? African Religions: A Very Short Introduction answers this question by examining primarily indigenous religious traditions on the African continent. It focuses on the diversity of people, ethnic groups, languages, cultures, ethos, and worldviews, keeping in mind the continent's regional diversity. Using a multidisciplinary methodological approach, Olupona examines a wide range of African religious traditions on their own terms as well as in their pluralistic social, cultural, and political contexts. Cultural and postcolonial interpretive frameworks benefit the discussion. For example, the book moves beyond ethnographic descriptions and interpretations of core beliefs and practices to look at how African religion has engaged issues of socioeconomic development and power relations. Sources for this book include archaeological and historical references. Additionally, Olupona uses ethnographic materials based on fieldwork collected through interviewsand participant observation, along with archival materials, including missionary records, which describe African religious practices. Though the emphasis is on native faith traditions, these are not static traditions. African religions have responded to changes within their local communities and to fluxes caused by outside influences. About the Series: Oxford's Very Short Introductions series offers concise and original introductions to a wide range of subjects - from Islam to Sociology,Politics to Classics, Literary Theory to History, and Archaeology to the Bible. Not simply a textbook of definitions, each volume in this series provides trenchant and provocative - yet always balanced and complete - discussions of the central issues in a given discipline or field. Every Very Short Introduction gives a readable evolution of the subject in question, demonstrating how the subject has developed and how it has influenced society. Eventually, the series will encompass every major academic discipline, offering all students an accessible and abundant reference library. Whatever the area of study that one deems important or appealing, whatever the topic that fascinates the general reader, the Very Short Introductions series has a handy and affordable guide that will likely prove indispensable.
From its origins to the present day, Owen Davies explores ideas about paganism that have existed over the last two millennia. He takes a chronological look at changing attitudes towards its beliefs, its practices, and its relationship with the Church.
"Presents pilgrimage in a global and historical context. Using a wide range of examples, Reader explores how people take part in and experience their pilgrimages, and what they take back from their journeys, He concludes by examining why pilgrimages appear to be so popular in our increasingly secular age."--Front flap
At a time when Christianity is flourishing in the Southern hemisphere but declining in much of the West, this Very Short Introduction offers an important overview of the world's largest religion. Exploring the cultural and institutional dimensions of Christianity, and tracing its course over two millennia, Linda Woodhead provides a fresh, lively, and candid portrait of Christianity's past and present. Addressing topics including the competition for power between different forms of Christianity, the churches' use of power, and its struggles with modernity, this new edition includes up to date information on the growth and geographical spread of Eastern Christianity, reflecting the global nature of Christianity in our ever-shifting contemporary culture. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly.Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
Hinduism is practised by nearly eighty per cent of India's population, and by some seventy million people outside India. In this Very Short Introduction, Kim Knott offers a succinct and authoritative overview of this major religion, and analyses the challenges facing it in the twenty-first century. She discusses key preoccupations of Hinduism such as the centrality of the Veda as religious texts, the role of Brahmins, gurus, and storytellers in the transmission of divine truths, and the cultural and moral importance of epics such as the Ramayana. In this second edition Knott considers the impact of changes in technology and the flourishing of social media on Hinduism, and looks at the presence of Hinduism in popular culture, considering pieces such as Sita Sings the Blues. She also analyses recent developments in India, and the impact issues such as Hindu nationalism and the politicization of Hinduism have on Hindus worldwide. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
This Very Short Introduction provides both the believer and non-believer with a balanced survey of the central questions of theology. David Ford's approach draws us in to considering the principles underlying religious belief, including the centrality of salvation to most major religions, the concept of God in ancient, modern, and postmodern contexts, the challenge posed to theology by prayer and worship, and the issue of sin and evil. He also probes the nature of experience, knowledge, and wisdom in theology, and discusses what is involved in interpreting theological texts. In this new edition, Ford considers the contemporary relevance of theology, including the effect of globalization and digitized communication, examines the theological responses to change and development in science, considers the impact of increased engagement between Islam and the West, and looks at the development and importance of theology between the different faiths. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
From Zeus and Europa, to Diana, Pan, and Prometheus, the myths of ancient Greece and Rome seem to exert a timeless power over us. But what do those myths represent, and why are they so enduringly fascinating? This imaginative and stimulating Very Short Introduction goes beyond a simple retelling of the stories to explore the rich history and diverse interpretations of classical myths in both high art and popular culture.