Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Bob Robinson on Jesus and the Religions

My colleague and friend Bob Robinson has a new book out titled Jesus and the Religions: Retrieving a Neglected Example for a Multi-cultural World (Wipf & Stock, 2012). Robinson is Senior Lecturer in Theology at Laidlaw College in Christchurch, New Zealand. He is the author of Christians Meeting Hindus (2004). He is a Research Fellow with the Western Institute for Intercultural Studies, and a part of the Scholars Network for Sacred Tribes Journal, and a Charter Member for the Evangelical Chapter of the Foundation for Religious Diplomacy.

Book Description

How should followers of Christ live in a multi-religious world? This book argues that the example of Jesus has something fresh and helpful to say to those who ponder the question. It takes something old—the example of Jesus—to say something new to our pluralist world. Most of the book examines the meetings of Jesus with Gentiles and Samaritans. These are found in some of the most poignant and dramatic encounters and teaching passages in the Gospels: a synagogue address with near-murderous consequences; the healing of a pagan centurion's servant; the setting free of the afflicted child of a Gentile mother; a moving encounter at a Samaritan well; the unlikely story of a compassionate Samaritan—and more. This is a scholarly but accessible discussion of what it might mean to "have the same attitude of mind that Christ Jesus had" in our contemporary multi-religious world.


"Bob Robinson is to be commended for insisting that a christocentric and missional approach to interreligious dialogue is neither imperialistic nor conversation-stopping, but in fact the best way to show respect for, and have fruitful dialogue with, our non-Christian friends and colleagues. His focus on Jesus' example in his relations with Gentiles is fresh and helpful."
—Gerald R. McDermott
Professor of Religion, Roanoke College
Author of Can Evangelicals Learn from World Religions?

"Rereading the gospel story of Jesus in a pluralistic world brings forth treasures old and new: what emerges is the familiar Lord of Christian faith on the one hand, but one who is surprisingly open in his interactions with Samaritans and Gentiles (non-Jews) on the other hand. Bob Robinson leaves no stone unturned in this patient but yet invigorating Christology that shows there is so much more to consider about . . . fresh approaches to people of other faiths today."
—Amos Yong
J. Rodman Williams Professor of Theology, Regent University
Editor with Clifton Clarke of Global Renewal, Religious Pluralism, and the Great Commission (2011)

"How should believers live today in a multifaith world? Dr. Robinson argues convincingly and passionately that Jesus' encounters with Gentiles and Samaritans give a vital example for us today. In a work richly informed by studies of the historical Jesus and the first-century world, by contemporary Christology, and a Christian theology of religions, Dr. Robinson shows that 'the imitation of Christ' can guide Christians in interreligious relations today. . . . Clearly argued and scholarly but highly accessible, this important and welcome contribution is a must for all who are interested in this vital area."
—Paul Trebilco
Professor of New Testament, University of Otago
Author of Self-Designations and Group Identity in the New Testament (2011)

"Since Jesus never met a Buddhist or a Muslim, the people who seek to 'follow Jesus' have sometimes thought that his teaching and example provide no guidance for interaction with adherents of other faiths today. This book, however, demonstrates that Jesus . . . does provide just such an example, one that is invaluable for us today in our spiritually pluralistic world."
—Harvey Cox
Hollis Research Professor of Divinity, Harvard Divinity School
Author of The Future of Faith (2009)

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Handbook of Hyper-real Religions Released Soon

Handbook of Hyper-real Religions
Edited by Adam Possamai, University of Western Sydney

Today a new trend is clearly discernable, that of ‘hyper-real religions’. These are innovative religions and spiritualities that mix elements of religious traditions with popular culture. If we imagine a spectrum of intensity of the merging of popular culture with religion, we might find, at one end, groups practicing Jediism appropriated from the Star Wars movies, Matrixism from the Matrix trilogy, and neo-pagan rites based on stories from The Lord of the Rings and the Harry Potter series. At the other end of the spectrum, members of mainstream religions, such as Christianity can be influenced or inspired by, for example, The Da Vinci Code. Through various case studies, this book studies the on- and off-line religious/spiritual consumption of these narratives through a social scientific approach.

Readership: All those interested in the intersection of contemporary religion and popular culture, sociology of religion, postmodern religion and consumerism.

Contributors include: Stef Aupers, Eileen Barker, Lauren Bernauer, Douglas E. Cowan, Carol M. Cusack, Markus Davidsen, Martin Geoffroy, Dick Houtman, Danielle Kirby, Massimo Introvigne, Joseph Laycock, Carly Machado, Debbie McCormick, John W. Morehead, Kamaludeen Mohamed Nasir, Alan Nixon, Krzysztof Olechnicki, Adam Possamai, Johan Roeland, Heinz Scheifinger, John Wallis and Benjamin Zeller.

Adam Possamai, Ph.D in Sociology, La Trobe University, is Associate Professor at the
University of Western Sydney, and President of the International Sociological Association’s Research Committee on the sociology of religion. He has published extensively in the sociology of religion, sociological theory and the study of popular culture.

This book will be released soon.