Religions, Spiritualities All books
One of the greatest experts on the Middle East revisits the great question of Islam and its clash with the West
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.
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?
In 1945, there were 20,000 Hasidim in the world. Today, there are between 350,000 and 400,000, about half of whom live in Israel. This population explosion cannot be explained simply by demographic reasons. In France alone, it is estimated that there are 10,000 to 15,000 Lubavitch Hasidim, a small but particularly active community. Jacques Gutwirth paints a vivid picture of the major centres of Hasidism - Antwerp, New York, Jerusalem, Bne Brak and Paris. He describes the main aspects of Hasidism today, its spiritual and intellectual contributions, its recent history and the influence it has. Hasidism cannot be reduced simply to a religious conception, a way of expressing one's religion, or a particular lifestyle. Its rapid development is linked to current politics and global economics, to which in turn it also contributes. In this rigorous, balanced study of one of Judaism's most dynamic communities, the author provides solid information to further the discussion on the rise of religious fundamentalism. Jacques Gutwirth is an anthropologist and an honorary research fellow at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS). A pioneer in the field of urban anthropology, he has taught at the University of Provence, in Aix, and at the University René Descartes, in Paris, as well as in Germany and the United States. He is the founder of the laboratory of anthropology at the CNRS. His first book, Vie Juive Traditionnelle, about a Hasidic community in Antwerp, is regarded as a classic. He is also the author of Les Judéo-Chrétiens Aujourd'hui and L'Eglise Electronique: La Saga des Télévangélistes
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.