Rezensionen von Pfarrer Dr. Horst Jesse

In Homiletisch - Liturgisches Korrespondenzblatt - Neue Folge, 30. Jahrgang, 2013, Nummer 111,
ISSN: 0724-7600 (gedruckt),
ist meine Rezensionen des Buchs:
"Was zum Frieden dient"
Rundfunkpredigten von Wolfgang Schlichting
mit einem Vorwort von Landesbischof Prof. Dr. Joachim Heubach
erschienen im Flacius-Verlag-Fürth, 1986, 170 Seiten, ISBN 3-924022-17-8
auf den Seiten 293 bis 295 abgedruckt.

In Homiletisch - Liturgisches Korrespondenzblatt - Neue Folge, 29. Jahrgang, 2012, Nummer 108,
ISSN: 0724-7600 (gedruckt),
ist meine Rezensionen des Tagungsberichts:
"Bernard Bolzanos bessere Welt"
Akten der Internationalen Tagung in Salzburg am 27. und 28. Mai 2010
herausgegeben von Kurt F. Strasser (Salzburg, 2011), 224 Seiten, ISBN 978-80-87127-33-9
auf den Seiten 313 bis 318 abgedruckt.

In Homiletisch - Liturgisches Korrespondenzblatt - Neue Folge, 28. Jahrgang, 2011, Nummer 107,
ISSN: 0724-7600 (gedruckt),
sind meine Rezensionen der Bücher bzw. Aufsätze:
"Pia Desideria"
von Hermann Bezzel (Aufsatz aus dem Jahr 1912),
Über Erziehung
Einsegungunsunterricht im Jahr 1901,
von Hermann Bezzel (Mit einem Geleitwort von Johannes Hanselmann, Flacius-Verlag, Fürth/Bayern, 1986) und
Pro Ecclesia
Gesammelte Aufsätze zur dogmatischen Theologie, Band 1
von Peter Brunner (Flacius-Verlag, Fürth/Bayern, 2. Aufl., 1990), ISBN: 3-924022-26-7,
auf den Seiten 834 bis 839 und 844 bis 854 abgedruckt.

In Homiletisch - Liturgisches Korrespondenzblatt - Neue Folge, 28. Jahrgang, 2011, Nummer 106,
ISSN: 0724-7600 (gedruckt),
ist meine Rezensionen des Buchs:
Der Schatz im Acker der ZeitDer Schatz im Acker der Zeit.
Theologica et Ratisbonensia.
von Günter Schlichting (mit einem Geleitwort von Bischof Sakrausky, Flacius-Verlag, Fürth/Bayern, 1986),
369 Seiten,
ISBN: 3-924022-04-6,
auf den Seiten 710 bis 716 abgedruckt.

In Homiletisch - Liturgisches Korrespondenzblatt - Neue Folge, 28. Jahrgang, 2011, Nummer 105,
ISSN: 0724-7600 (gedruckt),
ist meine Rezensionen des Buchs:
Non confundar in aternum.
von Karlmann Beyerschlag (mit einem Vorwort von Herbert Breit, Flacius-Verlag, Fürth/Bayern, 1986),
auf den Seiten 472 bis 477 abgedruckt.

In Homiletisch - Liturgisches Korrespondenzblatt - Neue Folge, 28. Jahrgang, 2010/2011, Nummer 104,
ISSN: 0724-7600 (gedruckt),
sind meine Rezensionen der Bücher:
Mit der Kirche leben.
Christlicher Glaube in der Praxis,
von Bo Giertz (aus dem Schwedischen von Otto Kullmann, Flacius-Verlag, Fürth/Bayern, 1984), broschiert,
Er zog seine Straße fröhlich.
Ein Taufbüchlein
von Hermann Dietzfelbinger (Flacius-Verlag, Fürth/Bayern, 2. Aufl., 1984), 86 Seiten, ISBN: 3924022127,
auf den Seiten 211 bis 215 abgedruckt.

In Homiletisch - Liturgisches Korrespondenzblatt - Neue Folge, 27. Jahrgang, 2010, Nummer 103,
ISSN: 0724-7600 (gedruckt),
ist meine Rezension der Aufsatzsammlung:
Überfluß haben am Wort der Wahrheit.
Luthers erste Sorge,
von Hermann Dietzfelbinger (Flacius-Verlag, Fürth/Bayern, 1984), 109 Seiten, broschiert,
auf den Seiten 706 bis 709 abgedruckt.

In "The European Legacy - Towards New Paradigms", 2010, Volume 15, Issue 5,
ISSN: 1470-1316 (electronic), 1084-8770 (paper),
ist meine Rezension:
Philosophy and Real Politics,
By Raymond Geuss (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2008), viii + 116 pp. $: 19, 95; Pd.: 11, 95, cloth,
auf den Seiten 673 bis 674 abgedruckt.

In "The European Legacy - Towards New Paradigms", 2009, Volume 14, Issue 7 ist meine Rezension:
The Serpent Within: Politics, Literature and American Individualism,
By Joseph C. Bertolini (Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1997),
auf den Seiten 928 bis 929 abgedruckt.

In "Church History and Religions Culture", Edited by Wim Janse, 2009, Volume 98, Issue 1-3, ISSN: 1871-241X, ist meine Rezension:
Philipp Melanchthon. Ethicae Doctrinae Elementa et Enarratio Libri quinti Ethicorum,
Editionen zur früheren Neuzeit I,
Herausgegeben und eingeleitet von Günter Frank, unter Mitarbeit von Michael Beyer (Stuttgart/Bad Cannstatt: Frommann-Holzboog, 2008, ISBN 978-3-7728-2372-5),
auf den Seiten 335 bis 338 abgedruckt.

In "The European Legacy - Towards New Paradigms", 2009, Volume 14, Issue 1 ist meine Rezension:
The Enlightened Eye: Goethe and Visual Culture,
Edited by Ebelyn K. Moore and Patrician Anne Simpson (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2007),
auf den Seiten 105 bis 106 abgedruckt.

In "The European Legacy - Towards New Paradigms", 2008, Volume 13, Issue 7 ist meine Rezension:
Public Vision, Private Lives: Rousseau, Religion, and Twenty-First-Century Democracy,
By Mark S. Cladis (New York: Columbia University Press, 2006),
auf den Seiten 899 bis 900 abgedruckt.

The Children of Abraham: Judaism, Christianity, Islam

On Justification: Economies of Worth

Early Modern Europe, 1450–1789

The European Legacy, Vol. 13, No. 1, pp. 101–138, 2008

Book review

The Children of Abraham: Judaism, Christianity, Islam

By Francis E. Peters (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2006), xixþ237 pp. $16.95/£10.95 paper.

Religion is a very interesting and complex subject. On the one hand, we should differentiate between religion and faith but, on the other, they are two sides of a single subject. Religion contains dogmas and rituals; faith refers to a human being’s personal feeling of God and experience of the religious life. We can discuss only religion, not faith, because we cannot understand another person’s religious feelings.

As we daily see in the press and electronic media, there is today a religious renaissance in the world as well as conflicts between religions. But the ostensibly religious motives for these conflicts have nothing to do with religion or faith, for the message of all religions is peace and life with God.

The new edition of Francis E. Peters’ The Children of Abraham: Judaism, Christianity, Islam seeks to help the reader to understand these three Abrahamic traditions. It is written in a direct and accessible style with thorough and nuanced discussions of each of the three religions. It is a welcome contribution for a new generation of readers facing an international political environment where respectful engagement is imperative. Updated footnotes provide expert guidance to the highly complex issues.

Besides the introduction (The Scripture) and epilogue (Sacred History) the book is organised in eight chapters: ‘‘The Promise and the Heirs’’; ‘‘A Contested Inheritance’’; ‘‘Community and Hierarchy’’; ‘‘The Law’’; ‘‘Scripture and Tradition’’; ‘‘The Worship of God’’; ‘‘Renunciation and Aspiration’’; and ‘‘Thinking and Talking about God.’’ In each chapter the author underlines the parallels and the differences of the three great faiths of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. They were born of an event that each remembers as a moment in history, when the ‘‘One True God appeared to an Iron Age sheikh named Abram (later Abraham) and bound him in a covenant forever’’ (1). Peters regrets that Christians and Muslims have little interest in the history of Israel, which makes the relationship of the three religions all the more interesting. The relationship between Judaism and Christianity was influenced by Philo of Alexandria and the Hellenized Paul. Their relationship with Islam was influenced by the Life, composed by Ibn Ishaq (31). The believers of each of these three religions saw themselves as members of an identifiable society (41).

The three religions differ in their view of Jesus as the son of God, of Muhammad as prophet, and also in practical life. Judaism considers itself as a covenant with God, Christianity sees itself as a Church, and Islam sees itself as a religious and political association. They also differ in their understanding of the scriptures: The Torah is interpreted by the Mishna; the Bible by the Apostolic tradition, and the Quran is not allowed to be interpreted at all (95).

Only Christianity and Islam have developed asceticism in the form of monastic communities (116). Christian monks and Moslem sufis exemplify unique forms of religious practice.

Chapter 8 is particularly interesting. Here Peters discusses the problems of philosophy and revelation (138ff). He points out that the ancient Greeks did not believe in the revelation of God, but that He exists as a chiffre in their philosophy. The connexion of philosophy and theology peaked in the twelfth century in the works by Maimonides, Ibn Rushd, Ibn Sina, Thomas Aquinas, and others. In their theological treatises they also addressed Aristotle’s philosophy (160). Ibn Rushd proposed a theory of double truth, one of revealed religion and the other of philosophy (165). But this experiment of theology and philosophy had no future in Judaism, Christianity, or Islam: each religion returned to its original faith in God’s relevation to Abraham, Moses, Jesus Christ, and Muhammad, marking the beginning of its Sacred History (171), and their differences.

Peters’ book ends at this point. But it is here, where the problems of the interconfessional discussions of the three religions start. Peters suggests that the only bridge between Judaism and Islam across the great abyss of the transcendent God and his creation is the relevation itself, the Word, the Book: ‘‘The anomaly of Christianity for both Muslim and Jew is that the Word became flesh . . . Jesus was his own Scripture’’ (171). Peters argues that Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are the children of Abraham, so it is difficult to understand their conflicts in the Near-East and the phenomenon of Muslim terrorism.

Some remarks must be made: the three religions have never approached the academic standards that Peters sets down in his book. They have changed and developed over time. Judaism, Christianity, and Islam of the twelfth century differ from what they were in the twentieth century. They are complex and diverse: Judaism has various strands, orthodox, liberal and Zionist; Christianity comprises Catholics, Protestants, Orthodox and other Christian groups; and Islam comprises Shiites and Sunnis and other groups.

Faith has nothing to do with dogma: it is a practical form of religious life. Certainly everyone who is a believer can find a basis in his own religion to fulfil his religious life. The Children of Abraham, at least, does not try to answer Victor and Victoria Trimondi’s Krieg der Religionen. Politik, Glaube und Terror im Zeichen der Apokalypse (War of Religions: Politics, Faith and Terror in the Sign of Apocalypse) (Wilhelm Fink Verlag, 2006). Jews, Christians, and Muslims often do not understand the religious holidays and feasts of the other, but this must not be the end of their dialogue. We have to try our best to understand other religions and our own. Perhaps Peters’ book can help us in this.

Review written by Horst Jesse

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The European Legacy, Vol. 12, No. 6, pp. 753–788, 2007 Book Reviews

Book review

On Justification: Economies of Worth

By Luc Boltanski and Laurent The´venot (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2006), viii þ389 pp. $39.50/£26.95 paper.

On Justification (originally published in French in 1991), which offers a new view of social economy and is one of the founding documents of the ‘‘economics of convention’’ school in France, addresses the relation between ‘‘person-states and thing-states’’ (which constitutes what we define as a situation) (1). The authors do not speak about social groups (youth, women) or social classes (labourers, employees). They apply Pierre Bourdieu’s anthropological research to the relation between classifying operations and practical interventions (3), taking as their point of departure the works of Max Weber. Boltanski and The´venot want to show how social peace is possible between the individual and the society, by a quantifiable scale of values on justification (chapter 11). The book, written as a great essay, follows the French tradition of philosophical discussion of a subject, differing very much from Anglo-American scientific writing. It is also a very interesting book.

The authors examine a wide range of situations where people justify their actions, whether involving themselves, things, or others, instinctively drawing on their experience to appeal to principles they hope will command respect. They recognize that individuals often misread situations and that many disagreements can be explained by people appealing, knowingly and unknowingly, to different principles. They discuss the values of the aristocratic state and of the popular state to find out the benefits of justice (chapter 3). Honor, as worth (or value), allows a person to work for the common good, but it does not fit into the current forms of institutionalism, organizational ecology, network analysis, rational choice, or transaction-cost economics. In their search for a solution to this problem, the authors do not follow any of the major theoretical perspectives of social economy, but show the great potential of charting new territory and of enlivening the debate. They argue that justification falls into six main forms exemplified by six authors: civic (Rousseau), market (Adam Smith), industrial (Saint-Simon), domestic (Bossuet), inspiration (Augustine), and fame (Hobbes). They discuss each writer’s philosophical tradition and methods to show their sociological characteristics. Turning to philosophy to define their goal of constructing a common humanity, they choose the notion of the polis (French, cite´) to justify the order of ranking people and things. They use cite´ as it is used in St Augustine’s Civitas Dei, showing how often their presentaion of values depend on theological ideas (chapter 4). The valency in this polis may be criticized by other forms of justification (using their six forms of justification). Thus, the world of the family can be criticized by the world of citizenship.

The authors show how justifications conflict, as people compete to legitimize their views of a situation, and provide a theoretical framework for analysing society by abandoning critical sociology. Their aim is to discover a new way of examining justification, since the statistical processing of data does not succeed in wholly eliminating the presence of persons. Therefore, to assign the respondents to a category, the agent responsible for processing the material has to imagine them in comparison to people he knows: ‘‘By treating the operations of qualification and generalization within a single analytical framework in our diverse research projects, we were able to grasp both the type of case that can constitute a cause in which justice is demanded and the type of investment to ensure the adjustment of diverse resources within a common form’’ (8). What the authors mean by this is that their analysis allows them to bring to light the internal tensions at the heart of what constitutes the economy.

Their approach centers on the role of criticism: they see society as critical, because people can make public their unjust situation. This approach also enables them to overcome the conflicts between individual and collective actions. They want to generalize the individual, which is why critical sociology must be given up: for, the investigator has to distance himself from the object to be able to criticize it. Some points of criticism need to be mentioned. One is the neglect of history, on which the concept of the polis is founded. The second is the sociology of consensus, which neglects the relationship of power between individuals and things, for they concentrate their attention on compromise. Boltanski and The´venot want to propel political actions to transform the collective will and to help human beings view life as not socially, economically and biologically determined.

In Le nouvel esprit du capitalisme (2003) Luc Boltanski and Eve Chiapello discussed the dialectical relationship of criticism and capitalism, and attempted to make the model of the polis more dynamic by examining the history and the principle of exploitation. Boltanski and The´ venot return with their book On Justification: Economies of Worth to critical socilogy but do not return to Marx’s conception, because they cannot reconcile his ideology with their model of the polis. What they do is to analyse capitalism through its revolutions in the last thirty years, thus making a more directly political contribution.

Review written by Horst Jesse

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The European Legacy, Vol. 12, No. 4, pp. 497–543, 2007 Taylor & Francis, Colchester, UK ISSBN: 10848770

Book Review

Early Modern Europe, 1450–1789

By Merry E. Wiesner-Hanks. Cambridge History of Europe (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006), iv þ 495 pp. $85.00/£45.00 cloth; $39.99/£19.99 paper.

Merry E. Wiesner-Hanks’s Early Modern Europe, 1450–1789 is the second part of four in the Cambridge History of Europe, the innovative textbook series covering European history and Europe’s relationship to the rest of the world from the year 600 to the present day. The series offers both an indispensable synthesis and an orginal interpretation of the European past.

The author offers a clear survey of the social, political, intellectual and religious transformations in Europe in its entirety, ranging eastward to the Ottoman Empire and Russia, northward to Sweden, and southward to Portugal. It includes European colonies overseas and integrates religions, ethnicity, gender, class and regional differences. The book presents six central topics: individuals in society; politics and power; cultural and intellectual life; religion; economics and technology; Europe and the world; the Jews and the Muslims in Europe as well as gender history are explored in two chronological sections, 1450–1666 and 1600–1789 in order to shed new light on developments that were central to the formation of Europe.

Wiesner-Hanks’s opens each chapter with leading questions on what constitutes modernity in the various spheres of life, and answers them by telling history as a narrative, which allows her to show how life changed for the better. She is particularly concerned with the role of women in history, ending the volume with a question: if Albrecht Du¨rer, in the sixteenth century, were to travel through time to the late eigteenth century of William Blake, what changes would he have noticed and what would have seemed familiar? (478).

Her focus is on the physical bodies of individuals in contrast to Jacob Burckhardt’s intellectual focus (46). The emphasis on the human body at the various stages of life allows her to describe changing lifestyles. She discusses the political power theories of Nicolo Machiavelli, the theories of virtues of Polydore Vergil (79), and the division of state and church. She views political life as a social body, noting, for example, that the monarchies in Britain, France and Spain were built on taxation systems and bureaucracies, where parliaments guaranteed stability. But the social differences in these nations were the beginning of peasant revolutions (164).

Two new developments—the invention of the printing press by Gutenberg and the voyages of discovery of Christophor Columbus—changed the daily lives and the economic and technological realities of Europe (219). These developments led to wide-ranging commercial exchanges between Europe and its overseas territories and marked the beginning of the revolution in the conception of the individual. The Protestant Reformation shifted people’s focus from the Church to practical matters such as education and self-goverment.

Thomas Hobbes developed a new political theory in Leviathan (253), promoting the metaphor of the body for society, in which each part was dependent on the other. For him the basis of government was not divine right but the agreement of the people, with both civil and ecclesiatical authorities ruling alongside the ruler. National crises were the result of the enormous size of armies and bureaucracies, fiscal policies and an expansionary foreign policy, which led to the French Revolution (301). Frederick II of Prussia and the Emperor Joseph II both displayed a new style of rule compared to that of Louis XIV. They saw themselves as the foremost servants of their nations and consequently their nations did not experience a revolution as in France.

According to the author The French Revolution was not caused by the Scientific Revolution of the French philosophers and their new conception of nature and the state. It was caused by the resistance to state reforms, by the marked difference in lifestyles of the rich and the poor and by Queen Marie Antoinette. The philosopher Baruch Spinoza was no pantheist (341), but knew the difference between creator and creature. It is a shame that English speaking historians know little about the history of The Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation (see Hans Maier, Die ältere deutsche Staats-und Verwaltungslehre [Belrlin, 1966]).

In ‘‘Religious Consolidation and Renewal’’ (364 ff.), the author turns to the new lifestyles of the European religious communities that settled in North America and ultimately created the United States. She discusses how the settlers dealt with European-native marriages and with managing slaves. She also discusses the new agricultural inventions in the Netherlands and industrialization in England, again focusing on women’s daily life and the social problems of the poor, but she also argues that the rich supported the social, economic and industrial developments that improved living conditions.

Early Modern Europe charts the transition from the invention of printing in the 1450s to the French Revolution 1789 by featuring texts, illustrations, maps, timelines and guides to further reading as well as a companion website with further primary sources and illustrative materials. A complementary volume to this finely written study may be T. C. W. Blanning’s, The Old Europe, 1660–1789: The Culture of Power and the Power of Culture (Cambridge, 2004).

Horst Jesse
Berlstraße 6a. 81375 Munich, Germany

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