For the serious New Testament reader, the Library now has a copy of The Zondervan Greek and English Interlinear New Testament, Call Number 225.48 Bib 2008.
In a more recent book, Down in the Chapel, Religious Life in an American Prison, Call Number 200.9748 Dub 2013, Joshua Dubler interviews black prisoners serving life sentences without the possibility of parole or privileges in a Pennsylvania maximum security penitentiary, about their religion. The unspoken issue is whether religion and religious services have any meaning to men living under such hopeless conditions. For the most part, Professor Dubler lets the prisoners and their chaplains tell their own stories so the reader can draw his or her own conclusions. Around page 268-269, Dubler reminds the reader that Pennsylvania penitentiaries originated when 18th century Quakers substituted rehabilitation of law-breakers by forced confinement for the grisly physical punishments of the time. The idea was to nourish the soul rather than mortify the flesh. By pages 309-310, Dubler concludes that the 21st century abandonment of rehabilitation in favor of punishment and the warehousing of criminal defendants, has left religious activity in prisons with the more limited mission of providing tools for spiritual survival in the current climate of “mass incarceration.” Dubler is a student of comparative religion and the chapter entitled “Friday” also explores the history of Islam among modern black men and its tenuous relationship with Sunni Arab traditions. You may want to read this book before you review any reports from the New Mexico State Legislature’s Criminal Justice Reform committee. See, front page, Albuquerque Journal, November 11, 2013.
Diarmaid MacCulloch is the English writer of a 1,161 page history of the Western Christian Church. In a shorter 358 page book, entitled Silence : A Christian History, call Number 248.47 Mac 2013, MacCulloch takes up the history of silence or mystical contemplation in the Western Church. He contrasts silent individual worship with noisy public forms of religious expression. Both forms have their place in the Christian tradition. He believes that the Protestant Reformation was a legitimate response to imperial church governance in the late Middle Ages, but when the Protestant churches broke up monasteries, they also destroyed the contemplative Christian tradition. MacCullough clearly supports the return of meditation and contemplation to the Christian church. However, he undercuts his own argument by a couple of nasty chapters condemning Christian silence in the face of moral crises, such as philandering theologians, child sexual abuse, anti-Semitism and American black slavery. If silence is a superior expression of religion, why did it condone and facilitate so many long standing moral wrongs?
A number of new books are in the collection, especially regarding Navajo and Native American spirituality.
We have also received some generous donations of works in theology and church history from retired clergy.