Book Reviews

Book Reviews

The Growth of the Christian Church: A Search for Faith, Form and Freedom (AD 30-2000) and The Growth of the Christian Church: A Search for Faith, Form and Freedom (A Reader)

The Growth of the Christian Church: A Search for Faith, Form and Freedom (AD 30-2000) and The Growth of the Christian Church: A Search for Faith, Form and Freedom (A Reader) are being reviewed together as they are substantial works which complement each other, or as Letellier puts it, “supplement each other.” Nevertheless, they each make worthwhile reading as individual scholarly works…These two substantial books, beautifully illustrated, offer an excellent and comprehensive account, comprehensible to a general readership, of the Growth of the Christian Church. However, with its Reader and its extensive references these two books would be invaluable reading for those entering the priesthood, but it could also be worthwhile reading for those entering the Reformed ministry, and those with a secular interest in the history of religion.” READ MORE >> – Robert F. Gibson- BSc, MBA, BDiv., Retired Engineering Lecturer

See No Evil: Secularity versus Sacred Scriptures

“The topic of the book is of great importance, yet there is no comprehensive book of this nature now available for use in classrooms or for the general reader. The influence of secularization has grown dramatically and there are now many criticisms of religion from a secular perspective but there are very few, if any, responses from a responsible religious perspective. Yet there are billions of people who are adherents of the major religious traditions in our world. Professor Leightner’s book fills this gap very well. Even people fully committed to the practice of secular thinking and analysis will benefit greatly from Professor Leightner’s insights into the deepest meaning of their own traditions of thought. Professor Leightner’s book will be a major contribution to modern insight.”
Daniel Quinn Mills
Professor Emeritus, Harvard University School of Business Administration, USA

“Leightner argues that secular culture has mislead economists and society more broadly into conflating counterfeit values (evil) with the wisdom found in Jewish, Islamic, Christian, Hindu and Theravada sacred texts, causing severe personal and social harm. Those like Pol Pot (responsible for the Khmer Rouge’s crimes against humanity) persuade themselves and many others that their actions are virtuously motivated, when they are intrinsically evil. People need to step back and appreciate that evil may be contaminating their ethics. This is a message that many professionals do not want to hear, but needs a fair hearing.”
Steven Rosefielde
Professor of Economics at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA

The History of the Order of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem

“It was in 1972 that I, as Chaplain, was contacted by a member of the Military and Hospitaller Order of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem to conduct a memorial service for one of the inmates of the local prison. An inmate, still a young man, who had committed suicide. Suicide in prison happens frequently. For certain reasons my other Christian colleagues had no ear for the family and the friends of the deceased. I had never heard about this Order and had even little or no knowledge about any such Order! The service was held in a small church. The family and the friends were thankful. The fact that it happened in an (official) church was for most of the attendees a reason to be joyful. It meant that the deceased in any case was a human being. He was not — as people would say — put in a grave as a dog although some dogs get sometimes greater attention than a human being.

The fact that The Order of Saint Lazarus is not restricted to one instituted church is very important. It’s ecumenical in the right sense of the word; Roman Catholics, Protestants, Orthodox, Anglicans and members of other Christian denominations have always been active. Why? It is an Order; more Eastern than Western. It always was spiritually protected by the Eastern Church. To be exact: by the Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarchate. It is one of the oldest Orders of Chivalry since 1841. Right now the ‘spiritual’ father is the patriarch Gregorius III Laham. Certainly many of such Orders were created in the wake of the Crusades. Its real origins are somehow shrouded in a haze of reality and myth (page 14). The Order base their existence and mission on the story that before the actual Crusades took place there was, outside the walls of Jerusalem, a hospital for lepers under the patronage of Saint Lazarus ( This book gives a clear picture of the Order; its quarrels, its schisms, its frustrations, its regional and national downfalls, its links with Governments and so often with the head of the Latin Church. The author reviews the Order in 7 chapters; Medieval Pilgrim Services in the Holy Land, The Brethren of the Order in the Holy Land, The Brethren of the Order in Medieval Europe, The Papal Bull Cum solerti meditation pensamus of 1489, The French First Colonial Empire, The Fused Orders of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel and Saint Lazarus, & The Modern Order of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem. Certainly important are the aims of today’s evolution and philanthropic activities as seen in the light of our secular world. One of the important witnesses in the world of its humanitarian vocation was the fact that the theologian, missionary and medical doctor Albert Schweitzer (died 1965) was one of the prominent chevaliers. This book is both a well documented report (10 pages bibliography!) and an invitation to respect and to put into practice the message of Christian love and care for our fellowman in present-day society.”
Chris Vonck, Rector FVG, published in Acta Comparanda XXVI

Islamism: Global Surveys and Implications for the Future of the Arab Countries

“Using carefully collected survey data, Tausch had previously demonstrated that the official religious teachings of the Catholic Church towards the religious other do not necessarily trickle down to its most devoted members. Now he is applying similar methods to probe attitudes in Muslim societies towards a host of issues, hopefully opening a window into those societies.”
Arie Folger
Member of the Standing Committee of the European Rabbinical Conference
Member of the Rabbinical Court of Austria
Rabbi of the Bet Midrash Orchot Chajim

“This impressively researched empirical study comes at just the right time: “Islamism” asks for the development potential of the Arab countries and discusses the question of how the West should position itself. Anyone looking for answers to these crucial questions should refer to this book.
Alexander Pinwinkler
Associate Visiting Professor of Economic and Social History at the University of Vienna
Teaches at the Department of History of the University of Salzburg as well as at the Department of Economic and Social History of the University of Vienna

“Arno Tausch has few peers globally with his expertise on the Muslim world. This expertise is demonstrated in “Islamism: Global Surveys and Implications for the Future of the Arab Countries”. With the Middle East North Africa region in turmoil, now more than ever we need such expertise. This book is a veritable tour de force majestic in its scope and depth as it examines civic culture in the Arab world, anti-Semitism, Islamism and gender relations and the nexus between globalization and the environment and how this impacts the region.”
Professor Hussein Solomon
Head of Department of Political Studies and Governance
University of the Free State, South Africa

The Word Confined: Bible Study in an American Prison

“This book is a gift to all those wanting to bring effective and significant biblical instruction to the incarcerated as it is a guide that bridges the gap between the Church and the Prison Community for effective biblical training, learning and spiritual enhancement.” – Reverend Dr. Thomas L. Brown, Pastor Emeritus, Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church, Professor at Martin University, Radio Host for the Harambee Broadcast, Instructor in Yoga Meditation

“What is amazing about Charles Atkins’ book is that he succeeds in interpreting a very long and very committed experience in prison chaplaincy with a very deep and a very extensive knowledge of penitentiary studies, adult education and Christian theology.” – Reverend Dr. Olivier Bauer, Professeur Ordinaire, Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies, University of Lausanne, Switzerland

“Charles Atkins, Jr. places transformative religious education and transformative learning at the center of an approach to prison ministry that supports these pathways of development. This work centers on reflection and dialogue in an intentional environment where bible study meets the daily life concerns of late adolescents and young adults who seek to reconstruct their lives even as they dwell within the walls of incarceration. The Word Confined: Bible Study in American Prison provides a roadmap for a fresh constructivist approach to prison ministry.” – Dr. James P. Keen, Co-author of Common Fire: Leading Lives of Commitment in a Complex World,/I>; Former Vice President and Professor at Antioch College; Former Millicent Fenwick Distinguished Research Professor at Monmouth University; Founding Executive Director of the Governor’s School of New Jersey; Visiting faculty in Applied Theology at Harvard Divinity School

For more information about this book, please click here.

An Examination of Religiosity: Influences, Perspectives and Health Implications

“This is an outstanding resource for physicians and health professionals interested in better understanding the interplay between religion and medicine. This book offers a comprehensive overview of the field through enlightening chapters written to offer to the reader both a practical and theoretical approach.” – AURO DEL GIGLIO. MD, PhD (Brazil). President of Brazilian Association of Palliative Care. Former Governor of the Brazil Chapter, American College of Physicians. Writer on Humanism and Judaism subjects.

“This exceptional work, by following the scholar rigor of quality, is another inestimable piece to contribute on the rescue of the human dimension of healthcare. I particularly appreciated the logical and didactical sequence of the chapters, and how the mind-brain problem was scientifically approached on the last ones.” – RONILDA IYAKEMI RIBEIRO. Psychologist, PhD (Brazil). Professor, Faculty of Psychology, University of S. Paulo. Member of the Psychology and Religion Working Group. Representative on the Interreligious Forum for a Culture of Peace and Freedom of Belief.

“A help for us, while responsible for the education of future physicians, through bringing the dimension of spirituality, to make up the integrality of care. A reference to be adopted on our academic Discipline of Spirituality and Thanatology and on our forthcoming specialization on Interfaith Chaplaincy.” – PAULO C. N. FONTÃO. MD, MSc (Brazil). Coordinator Professor, Discipline of Spirituality and Thanatology, Santa Marcelina School of Medicine. Advisor for Family and Community Medicine of the Federal Council of Medicine.

“This is a book we were waiting for – it restores the broken mosaic of the human being. Material worthy to be included in the recommended bibliography of our programs on Palas Athena Association, where we promote the rapprochement of cultures and the knowledge sharing.” – LIA DISKIN (Brazil). Journalist, writer and international lecturer. Coordinator of the Committee for the Decade of Peace, in partnership with UNESCO. Coordinator of the visits of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Brazil.

“In past, it was not easy for me, as a physician, to stand alone for a Discipline of Spirituality on a medical school. Therefore, I am enthusiastically looking forward at the potential of this work for the advancement of the Spirituality-and-Health binomial understanding, for either teaching, research and assistance purposes.” – ALEXANDRE SERAFIM. MD, MSc (Brazil). Coordinator Professor of the Discipline of Medicine and Spirituality, Department of Medicine, University of Taubate. Instructor on the Order of the Guardians of Humanity.

“An important reading not only for health practitioners, but also for religious ministers of all faiths engaged in pastoral care for sick people. Among the various differentials in this book, the diversity of worldviews, coming from researchers of different countries, makes the work richer.” – JOSE BIZON. MSc, Catholic Canon (Brazil). Full Professor, Faculty of Theology, Pontifical Catholic University of S. Paulo. Ecclesiastical Advisor for Ecumenical and Interreligious Dialogue, Brazilian Conference of Catholic Bishops.

“Congratulations on the magnificent book, which concentrates so diverse and attractive aspects of this important theme, the Spirituality-Health relationship. A reference for professionals of all healthcare areas.” – MARGARETH ROSE PRIEL. MD, PhD (Brazil). Specialized in Bioethics and Pastoral Practice of Health. Participant of the Technical Chamber for Bioethics of the Regional Council of Medicine, State of S. Paulo. Professor in research methodology, and bioethics.

“I had a few opportunities to participate in projects on spirituality and health with Dr. Marcelo Saad, the main editor. Once again, he collected and compiled information on this matter from unique scholars with a variety of views. All readers, whatever their fields of activity, will find much to expand their knowledge in this book.” – ALEXANDER MOREIRA-ALMEIDA. MD, PhD (Brazil). Professor of Psychiatry at Federal University of Juiz de Fora. Coordinator of the Special Group Religion, Spirituality and Psychiatry, at the World Psychiatric Association.

For more information about this book, please click here.

Essays on the Philosophical Nexus between Religion and Politics. Volume 1

“True to form, my fellow Yale alumnus Dr. Emanuel L. Paparella has once again come out with a brilliant book of essays. This one deals with the thorny but perennial theme of the interface between Religion and Politics, two human phenomena which have had a love-hate relationship from time immemorial within the history of civilizations. Indeed, the nexus religion-politics has constituted a passionate scholarly concern of his for several decades. It appears not only in his Ph.D. dissertation on the Concept of Providence within the philosophy of history of Giambattista Vico, presented in the late 80s at Yale University, but in just about all of his extraordinary books within the field of cultural anthropology. Dr. Paparella has been reflecting long and hard on this thorny subject. This book will delight readers interested in the history and development of civilizations. It is replete with original insights and is nothing short than the distillation of years of reflections on the subject. Those reflections will prove essential to any contemporary attempt at rescuing our troubled Western civilization which Dr. Paparella describes as a civilization in search of its soul.” – Dr. Michael Vena, Professor Emeritus, Southern Connecticut State University

“Emanuel L. Paparella has for many years researched the hot theme of the nexus between religion and politics, or religion and democracy. He has done so on a purely theoretical level but also on an historical level, thus exploring a vast field of knowledge. He possesses a consummate ability to relate to each other different cultural traditions from which he is able to derive original points of reflection. The theme of the nexus religion and politics, given our current philosophical confusion on fundamental values, is, in my opinion, central for the construction of a society which remains free and just, as professor Paparella certainly augurs.” – Professor Ernesto Paolozzi, University of Suor Orsola Benincasa, Naples, Italy

“Dr. Paparella’s choice of subjects is wide and varied, reflecting on problems both old and new, and makes for engaging, thought provoking reading. Though it has been said there is nothing new under the sun, reading Dr. Paparella’s work gives one a new understanding and appreciation for the great philosophers through the ages, and an invigorating direction for the future.” – Professor Michael Newman, Broward College, Davie, FL

“Democracy is not a political concept but it is a way of life. It is a fundamental axiom of a healthy society. The conversation between life and democracy is a constant process and includes the nexus between democracy and religion. Professor Paparella’s essays on the nexus between Democracy and Religion, masterfully unveil the truths in this nexus, without avoiding ideological, theoretical or political conflicts. They search in depth, under the surface of contemporary practices and events, for true relationships and communications between religion, democracy and a healthy society.” – Thanos Kalamidas, Chief Editor Ovi magazine & Ovi Project

For more information about this book, please click here.