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REVIEW: Anthony Swindell, Going to Extremes in Biblical Rewritings: Radical Literary Retellings of Biblical Tropes

Jonathan Clatworthy writes in his review: This book illustrates the literary reception of the Bible. The ‘extremes’ are the freedom which many writers bring to rewriting biblical stories. Some rewritings are antagonistic to the biblical text, the ‘hypotext’. Some use it as a departure point for a quite different development. Some amplify the hypotext, some condense it. There are prequels and sequels. Some change the tone, making it tragic or comic. Some give greater emphasis to minor biblical characters, or introduce new characters. Sometimes the viewpoint of the narration changes. For example The Dream of the Rood moves the viewpoint of the Crucifixion from that of an onlooker to that of the cross. ...

REVIEW: The Precarious Church – Redeeming the Body of Christ by Martyn Percy

Sebastian Satkurunath writes: I wanted to like this book; I really did. The stated premise, that church is at its best when it is outward focused and trusting in God to provide rather than prioritising its own security in the form of financial resources and numerical growth, is a compelling and appealing one, and thoroughly in the spirit of the sermon of the mount (Mt 6.25-34). What’s more, there are clearly many ways in which the Church of England fails to meet this ideal, and I am quite sure that there is a valuable and interesting book to be written about how those failures play out and how we can, as an institution, repent of them, and learn to become more truly the body of Christ on earth. ...The book is a collection of essays, most of which have been previously published elsewhere, organised into seven sections, each of which concludes with a brief reflection and some discussion questions. ...

REVIEW: God Interrogated – Reinterpreting the Divine by Lynne Renoir

In this Review Rosalind Lund writes: Lynne Renoir grew up in a deeply conservative Christian home and spent the first fifty years of her life deeply committed to the Christian Faith. However, despite believing that Christianity is true, she did not experience any sort of transformation, which she feels the scriptures describe as normative for the believer. Eventually, she came to feel that either her attempts to reach God, or allow God to reach her, were in some way defective. Lacking the sort of transformation which she sees as the necessary confirmation of belief, she now feels she must question the whole idea of an all-powerful God. In keeping with her desire to question the existence of God, Lynne Renoir embarked on postgraduate degrees in psychology and philosophy and research into quantum theory. Her conclusions cover God and Philosophy, God and Science, and finally God and Belief. ...

Review – ENGLISH VICTORIAN CHURCHES: Architecture, Faith, & Revival by James Stevens Curl

Conservation Architect John Woodcook reviews: ENGLISH VICTORIAN CHURCHES: Architecture, faith & revival by James Stevens Curl. - Never has this book been so needed! Over 20 years after the publication of Simon Jenkins' England’s Thousand Best Churches, this volume again brings to the attention of a wider readership the richness of ecclesiastical architecture. The intervening years have not been kind to our church heritage or indeed the role of the Church as an institution in society generally. As Canon Orford points out in his Preface to Curl’s book, ‘Ignorant zeal has greatly harmed our ecclesiastical inheritance, and, in the 20th and 21st Centuries, Victorian Buildings have been particular targets for misguided adaption and demolition’. However, ‘this book provides the material for preventing such continuing disregard for the surviving fabric entrusted to us’… Absolutely so! Despite over 50 years of campaigning by the Victorian Society and over 60 years dedicated to research and writing on ‘under- appreciated and often threatened Victorian architecture’ by Professor Curl, future generations still stand to regret our lack of appreciation of the extraordinary richness of this heritage. Unfortunately, for the present- day Church hierarchy they are regarded as ‘redundant plant’ to be disposed. ...

Book review. My Journey as a Religious Pluralist: A Christian Theology of Religions Reclaimed – Alan Race

The Rev'd Dr. Peniel Rajkumar writes: Few theologians have approached the many questions and challenges that religious plurality poses for Christian theologies of religions with such honesty and depth as Alan Race. Never the one to dodge difficult questions, Race has both problematised as well as probed, with passion and profundity, a wide-range of themes and questions that are concomitant to Christian understanding and engagement with other religions

World Congress of Faiths – Spirituality and Ecology: Religious Wisdom for the Future – Review of online Conference 29th April 2021

Jenny Kartupelis reports: Spirituality and Ecology: Religious Wisdom for the Future - The UK-based World Congress of Faiths, in collaboration with the Parliament of the World’s Religions, held an on-line conference on 29 April to explore the interplay between spirituality and ecology.

STEALING FROM THE SARACENS How Islamic Architecture Shaped Europe by Diana Darke

Review by Rosemary Hart

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