The Quakers: A Very Short Introduction

The Quakers: A Very Short Introduction

The Quakers are a fascinating religious group both in their origins and in the variety of reinterpretations of the faith since. Emerging from the social unrest of the English civil war, the Quakers have gone on to have an influence way beyond their numbers: be it their continued stance against war or their pioneering work against slavery. At the same time, Quakers maintain a distinctive worship method to achieve the direct encounter with God which has been at the heart of the movement since its beginning. This book charts the history of Quakerism and its present-day diversity, and outlines its approach to worship, belief, theology and language, and ecumenism. 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.

The Cultivation of Conformity

Towards a General Theory of Internal Secularisation

The Cultivation of Conformity

This book explores the inter-relationship between religious groups and wider society and examines the way religious groups change in relation to societal norms, potentially to the point of undergoing processes of ‘internal secularisation’ within secular and secularist cultures. Received sociological wisdom suggests that over time religious groups moderate their claims. This comes with the potential loss of new adherents, for theorists of secularisation suggest unique or universal, rather than moderate, truth claims appear attractive to would-be recruits. At the same time, religious groups need to appear equivalent, in terms of harmlessness, to state-sanctioned religious expression in order to secure rights. Thus, religious organisations face a perpetual conundrum. Using British Quakers as a case study as they moved from a counter-cultural group to an accepted and accepting part of twentieth- and twenty-first-century society, the author builds on models of religion and non-religion in terms of flows and explores the consequences of religious assimilation when the process of constructing both distinctive appeal and ‘harmlessness’ in pursuit of rights is played out in a secular culture. A major contribution to the sociology of religion, The Cultivation of Conformity presents a new theory of internal secularisation as the ultimate stage of the cultivation of conformity, and a model of the way sects and society inter-relate.

Christianity: A Very Short Introduction

Christianity: A Very Short Introduction

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.

The Bible: A Very Short Introduction

The Bible: A Very Short Introduction

It is sometimes said that the Bible is one of the most unread books in the world, yet has been a major force in the development of Western culture and continues to exert an enormous influence over many people's lives. This Very Short Introduction looks at the importance accorded to the Bible by different communities and cultures and attempts to explain why it has generated such a rich variety of uses and interpretations. It explores how the Bible was written, the development of the canon, the role of Biblical criticism, the appropriation of the Bible in high and popular culture, and its use for political ends. 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.

Sikhism: A Very Short Introduction

Sikhism: A Very Short Introduction

This book describes the key threads in the history of Sikhism, from the late 15th century to the present day. It examines the development of a distinct Sikh identity, and explores the meaning of Sikhism - its teachings, practices, rituals, and festivals.

Sikhism: A Very Short Introduction

Sikhism: A Very Short Introduction

The Sikh religion has a following of over 20 million people worldwide, and is ranked as the world's fifth largest religion. However, events such as the verbal and physical attacks on Sikhs just after September 11, where Sikhs were being mistaken for Muslims, suggest that the Sikh faith still remains mysterious to many. This Very Short Introduction introduces newcomers to the meaning of the Sikh religious tradition, its teachings, practices, rituals and festivals. Eleanor Nesbitt highlights and contextualizes the key threads in the history of Sikhism, from the first Gurus to martyrdom, militarization, and the increasingly significant diaspora. Examining gender, caste, and the changes that are currently underway in the faith, Nesbitt considers contemporary Sikh identities and their role in our world. 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.

Conscience: A Very Short Introduction

Conscience: A Very Short Introduction

Where does our conscience come from, and how reliable is it? Exploring its deep historical roots, Paul Strohm considers what conscience has meant to successive generations. Using examples from popular culture and contemporary politics he demonstrates that conscience is as important today as it ever has been.

The Oxford Handbook of Quaker Studies

The Oxford Handbook of Quaker Studies

Quakerism began in England in the 1650s. George Fox, credited as leading the movement, had an experience of 1647 in which he felt he could hear Christ directly and inwardly without the mediation of text or minister. Convinced of the authenticity of this experience and its universal application, Fox preached a spirituality in which potentially all were ministers, all part of a priesthood of believers, a church levelled before the leadership of God. Quakers are a fascinating religious group both in their original 'peculiarity' and in the variety of reinterpretations of the faith since. The way they have interacted with wider society is a basic but often unknown part of British and American history. This handbook charts their history and the history of their expression as a religious community. This volume provides an indispensable reference work for the study of Quakerism. It is global in its perspectives and interdisciplinary in its approach whilst offering the reader a clear narrative through the academic debates. In addition to an in-depth survey of historical readings of Quakerism, the handbook provides a treatment of the group's key theological premises and its links with wider Christian thinking. Quakerism's distinctive ecclesiastical forms and practices are analysed, and its social, economic, political, and ethical outcomes examined. Each of the 37 chapters considers broader religious, social, and cultural contexts and provides suggestions for further reading and the volume concludes with an extensive bibliography to aid further research.

Foucault

Foucault

Born in 1926 in France, Foucault is one of those rare philosophers who has become a cult figure. Over the course of his life he dabbled in drugs, politics, and the Paris SM scene, all whilst striving to understand the deep concepts of identity, knowledge, and power. From aesthetics to the penal system; from madness and civilisation to avant-garde literature, Foucault was happy to reject old models of thinking and replace them with versions that are still widely debated today. A major influence on Queer Theory and gender studies (he was openly gay and died of an AIDS-related illness in 1984), he also wrote on architecture, history, law, medicine, literature, politics, and of course philosophy. In this Very Short Introduction Gary Gutting presents a wide-ranging but non-systematic exploration of some highlights of Foucault's life and thought. Beginning with a brief biography to set the social and political stage, he then tackles Foucault's thoughts on literature, in particular the avant-garde scene; his philosophical and historical work; his treatment of knowledge and power in modern society; and his thoughts on sexuality. This new edition includes feminist criticisms of Foucault's apparently sexist treatment of the Jouy case, as well as a new chapter offering a unified overview of the College de France lectures, now a major focus of interest in Foucault. 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.

The Mongols: A Very Short Introduction

The Mongols: A Very Short Introduction

In the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, the Mongols carved out the largest land-based empire in world history, stretching from Korea to Russia in the north and from China to Syria in the south, and unleashing an unprecedented level of violence. But as Morris Rossabi reveals in this Very Short Introduction, within two generations of their bloody conquests, the Mongols evolved from conquerors and predators to wise rulers who devised policies to foster the economies of the lands they had subjugated. By adopting political and economic institutions familiar to the local populations and recruiting native officials, they won over many of their non-Mongol subjects. In addition, Mongol nobles were ardent patrons of art and culture, supporting the production of Chinese porcelains and textiles, Iranian tiles and illustrated manuscripts, and Russian metalwork. Perhaps most important, the peace imposed by the Mongols on much of Asia and their promotion of trade resulted in considerable interaction among merchants, scientists, artists, and missionaries of different ethnic groups--including Europeans. Modern Eurasian and perhaps global history starts with the Mongol empire.