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Theology and Dialogue
edited by bruce d. marshall
university of notre dame press, 302 pages, $14.95 

These “essays in conversation with George Lindbeck” are also essays in deserved celebration of a thinker who has done as much as anyone in the last half-century to advance ecumenical understanding with theological integrity. David Tracy, David Burrell, Nicholas Lash, Peter Ochs, and Hans Frei are among the contributors. 

What Did They Think of the Jews?
collected and edited by allan gould 
with an epilogue by paul johnson
 aronson, 615 pages, $50.  

Views of the chosen people by hundreds of history’s most famous personages, from antiquity to modern limes: Cicero, Augustine, Cervantes, Newton, Franklin, Napoleon, Lincoln, Dickens, Tolstoy, Joyce, Stalin, Churchill, Orwell, Gandhi, Raymond Chandler, Malcolm X, and on and on. This collection of essays and excerpts has no particular theme, but it makes for some fascinating reading. 

Church and Jewish People:
New Considerations

by johannes cardinal willebrands
paulist press, 280 pages, $14.95.

A summary of Catholic-Jewish relations since Nostra aetate (1965), the papal declaration that initiated a process of reconciliation between the Church and the Jewish people. The essays and addresses in this volume are not only insightful, but they are also authoritative in that their author, Johannes Cardinal Willebrands, is the former president of the Holy See’s Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews. 

Union and Liberty:
The Political Philosophy of John C. Calhoun

edited by ross m. lenge
liberty fund, 626 pages, $35 
cloth, $9.50 paper. 

Discourses, essays, speeches, and letters by one of the leading American statesmen/political theorists of the nineteenth century. It includes, inter alia, Calhoun’s two most significant works: A Disquisition on Government and A Discourse on the Constitution and Government of the United States. Calhoun’s endorsement of slavery and his denial of natural rights provide a chastening reminder that brilliance and originality do not necessarily mean wisdom. 

A Bridging of Faiths:
Religion and Politics in a New England City

by n. j. demerath and rhys h. williams
princeton university press, 358 pages, $29.95.

Two sociologists examine Springfield, Mass., a once Protestant bastion that has turned majority Catholic. The story is told in terms of the push and pulls of “secularization” and “sacralization,” and the authors conclude that the former is winning in the long run, although the latter demonstrates bursts of reactive vitality in pressing questions such as abortion. 

What Is Faith?
Esssays in the Philosophy of Religion

by anthony kenny
oxford university press, 125 pages, $8.95 paper. 

An engaging overview of perennial questions, with some winsome connections made between Anselm and Wittgenstein on the ineffability of God. The God in question is more that of the philosophers than the Christian God revealed as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. But deftly done nonetheless. 

Give Peace a Chance:
Exploring the Vietnam Antiwar Movement

edited by melvin small and william d. hoover
syracuse university press, 300 pages, $17.95 paper.  

It is not all that George McGovern claims in the foreword, but it is a representative and reasonably balanced overview from the left-center. Mitchell Hall’s reflections on Clergy and Laity Concerned and the role of religious opposition to the war is especially well done. 

The Way of the Pilgrim and The Pilgrim Continues His Way
doubleday / image books, 196 pages, $8.  

A fine new translation by Helen Bacovcin brings alive again the wondrous story of a nineteenth-century Russian peasant who relentlessly asks how to “pray without ceasing” and discovers the infinite reaches of the “Jesus Prayer.”

Out in the World:
Gay and Lesbian Life From Buenos Aires to Bangkok

by Neil Miller
Random House, 364 pages, $22.

Sympathetic reportage on homosexuals and gay activism around a large part of the world. Although not inclined to be analytical, the author is led to agree with David Greenberg and others that homosexuality and homosexual identity is not inherited but socially constructed. 

Preaching to Strangers:
Evangelism in Today’s World

by william h. willimon and stanley hauerwas
westminster/ john knox press, 112 pages, $9.99 paper.

Master preacher Willimon preaches and ever-provocative theologian Hauerwas tells him what is good and bad about these twelve sermons. Every preacher should preach so well, and should have such a thoughtful listener. (Not $10, not $9.95, but $9.99. Is this is a first in book pricing?) 

God’s Peoples:
Covenant and Land in South Africa, Israel, and Ulster

by donald harman akenson
cornell university press, 404 pages, $29.95

The Queen’s University historian examines the ways in which nations have employed the template of God’s ancient covenant with Israel to forge their own identity. Of the three nations considered, only Israel, be believes, is moving toward a greater reliance on the covenant metaphor. He suggests that the idea of covenant will become more important as, following the collapse of empires, new and small nations attempt to assert themselves against what they perceive to be a threatening world. 

The Refinement of America:
Persons, Houses, Cities

by richard l. bushman
knopf, 504 pages, $40.

A gracefully written account of the ascendancy of gentility over 300 years of the American republic. Bushman, distinguished historian at Columbia University, is alert to the role of oldline Protestantism in this story and has some gentle fun with Horace Bushnell, who exhorted Christians to emulate God who, as demonstrated by the creation, has exquisite taste. 

When Time Shall Be No More:
Prophecy Belief in Modern Culture

by paul boyer 
harvard university press, 467 pages, $29.95.

A detailed survey of Bible prophecy in popular American religion. The book is long on information, short on analysis.

Photo by Eugenio Mazzone on Unsplash. Image cropped.