Religions, Spiritualities All books
Alain Boureau is one of the most original French medievalists. In his earlier, best-selling book on the droit du seigneur, he showed that such a custom had never actually existed. The present work is not about Satan and Satanism, but about the birth of demonology, i.e. about the demons that inhabit Satan's Court - a fascinating topic for a medievalist. Before the end of the thirteenth century, theology had shown little interest in demons, according to Boureau. But Saint Thomas Aquinas' Treatise on Evil, written in 1272, changed all this. Boureau tries to find an explanation. He is not concerned with why people believe in demons - he has not written a social history of demonology. Instead, he sets out to understand why theologians became interested in the subject - for this is a history of theological ideas about demons. The author summarises his explanation as follows: I propose that the date of the invention of demonology be moved forward by more than a century, not because a new doctrine was established and enforced then, as was the case in the fifteenth century, but because of the considerable procedural changes that assimilated witchcraft and invocations of the devil with the crime of heresy, which in turn led to new legal developments and more revelations. In addition, the injection of doctrinal content into the ancient theme of the devil's pact explained demoniac activity in the world. The issue that lies at the heart of these discussions about a pact with the devil, evil and evidence is obviously the emergence of our legal system. Alain Boureau is a director of studies at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales.
How the uniqueness of the Jewish people can help us all —Jews and non-Jews
Translation and commentary of one of the most famous surates of the Koran, the fundamental book of Islam, that of The Event or "the key to the door of riches" which teaches of the gifts given to man by God. André Miquel is a professor at the Collège de France.
Based on years of study, this unusual anthropological study, helps us understand the individual itineraries that explain why so many Jews...
Shrouded in legend, wrapped in mystery, disparaged, censored, and sometimes even burned, the Talmud remains one of the cornerstones of Judaism. Yet the general reader knows little about it. What is the source of the shared inspiration underlying Talmudic texts which are known to address every aspect of human existence? What are the basic Talmudic notions of morality, politics, and the law, as well as of family and social relationships? Georges Hansel unveils the basic Talmudic principles as well as the underlying inspirational forces that are responsible for their coherence. Georges Hansel is a mathematician and professor emeritus at the University of Rouen.
What does it mean to be oneself? What does it mean to believe? An exploration of the neuroscience and philosophy of subjectivity
The recent advances in life sciences have modified our knowledge about the nature of man. Genetic engineering has given us a certain power over his future. Which principles must preside over artificial procreation and organ donation? How far can we allow genetic engineering and medical experimentations to go? What are the moral and ethical barriers of human science?
Two French specialists on Islam, one Algerian, the other a native Frenchman, discuss Islam and its confrontation with the Western world. Interweaving references to the past and present, they recount a long history of cultural confrontation, marked by continuous debate and violent conflict, repulsion and fascination. Resolutely optimistic, yet painfully aware of the religious intransigence which enshrouds their subject, their conversations shed new light on the conceptions of power and unity within the Muslim world.
What are the origins of the universe? Besides human beings, are there other conscious living creatures in the universe? If there are, do they resemble humans? Could their appearance be entirely different? If Christian teachings are true, could they also apply to such extraterrestrial creatures? What are Good and Evil? What is Gods role? How did nature take on the forms it has? In a relaxed, conversational tone, Philippe de Baleine addresses some of the major metaphysical, theological and cosmological issues that are being asked today. Philippe de Baleine is a journalist, essayist and novelist.