New Books from Duke Divinity Faculty
American Religion: Contemporary Trends
By Mark Chaves, Professor of Sociology, Religion, and Divinity
Princeton University Press, 2011
160 pages, Hardcover, $22.95
Most Americans say they believe in God, and more than a third say they attend religious services every week. Yet studies show that people do not really go to church as often as they claim, and it is not always clear what they mean when they tell pollsters they believe in God or pray. American Religion presents the best and most up-to-date information about religious trends in the United States in a succinct and accessible manner. This sourcebook provides essential information about key developments in American religion since 1972, and is the first major resource of its kind to appear in more than two decades.
Song of Songs: Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible
By Paul Griffiths, Warren Professor of Catholic Theology
Brazos Press, 2011
240 pages, Hardcover, $32.99
Paul Griffiths’ theological exegesis of the Song of Songs is a welcome addition to the well-received Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible. This commentary, like each in the series, is designed to serve the church—providing a rich resource for preachers, teachers, students, and study groups—and demonstrate the continuing intellectual and practical viability of theological interpretation of the Bible.
Food and Faith: A Theology of Eating
By Norman Wirzba, Research Professor of Theology, Ecology, and Rural Life
Cambridge University Press, 2011
264 pages, Paperback, $24.99
This book provides a comprehensive theological framework for assessing eating’s significance, employing a Trinitarian theological lens to evaluate food production and consumption practices as they are being worked out in today’s industrial food systems. Norman Wirzba combines the tools of ecological, agrarian, cultural, biblical, and theological analyses to draw a picture of eating that cares for creatures and that honors God. Unlike books that focus on vegetarianism or food distribution as the key theological matters, this book broadens the scope to include discussions on the sacramental character of eating, eating’s ecological and social contexts, the meaning of death and sacrifice as they relate to eating, the Eucharist as the place of inspiration and orientation, the importance of saying grace, and whether or not there will be eating in heaven. Food and Faith demonstrates that eating is of profound economic, moral, and theological significance.
Ephesians: A Theological Commentary
By Allen Verhey, Professor of Christian Ethics, and Joe Harvard
Westminster John Knox Press, 2011
312 pages, Hardcover, $35.00
This commentary on Ephesians, part of the WJK Belief Series, was written with Joe Harvard, the pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Durham, N.C.
Apocalypse Against Empire: Theologies of Resistance in Early Judaism
By Anathea Portier-Young, Associate Professor of Old Testament
486 pages, Hardcover, $50.00
In this fresh and daring take on ancient apocalyptic books, Portier-Young reconstructs the historical events and key players from the year 167 B.C.E., a period of intense persecution for the people of Judea as Antiochus IV Epiphanes attempted to eradicate traditional Jewish religious practices. Her sophisticated treatment of resistance in early Judaism builds on a solid contextual foundation, arguing that the first Jewish apocalypses emerged as a literature of resistance to Hellenistic imperial rule. In particular, Portier-Young contends, the book of Daniel, the Apocalypse of Weeks, and the Book of Dreams were written to supply an oppressed people with a potent antidote to the destructive propaganda of the empire—renewing their faith in the God of the covenant and answering state terror with radical visions of hope.
Nature and Altering It
By Allen Verhey, Professor of Christian Ethics
160 pages, Paperback, $15.00
This timely book examines some of the cultural myths that have shaped the ways in which Western culture perceives “nature,” and then presents the biblical narrative as an alternative story that can shape a different ethos toward “nature and altering it.”
Living Without Enemies: Being Present in the Midst of Violence
By Samuel Wells, Dean of Duke Chapel and Research Professor of Christian Ethics, and Marcia A. Owen
InterVarsity Press, 2011
144 pages, Paperback, $12.00
Living Without Enemies tells the story of a community’s journey through four different dimensions of social engagement in response to violence. After attempts to seek legislative solutions led nowhere, a religious coalition began holding prayer vigils for local victims of gun violence. It was then that Owen discovered the beauty of simply being present. Through her friendships with both victims and offenders, Owen learned that “being with” was precisely the opposite of violence—it was love. And to truly love others as God loves us meant