• RELIGION

Going Clear

Lawrence Wright delivers an exhaustively researched, equitable history of Scientology's meteoric rise.  From the Church's origins under  L. Ron Hubbard to its intimate bond with some of Hollywood's biggest stars, Wright's reportage unveils one of the most intriguing institutions of our time.

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  • RELIGION

The Unintended Reformation

The Protestant Reformation's lasting impact is the subject of Brad S. Gregory's edifying work of history. As the framework of Christianity that had united much of Europe began to fragment in the 16th century, a secularized society emerged that proved the progenitor of our own.

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  • RELIGION

Revelations

In works like The Gnostic Gospels and Beyond Belief, Elaine Pagels has offered a fresh, fascinating perspective on the Bible and its place in history. With Revelations, she turns to the New Testament's most controversial book and finds a first century AD condemnation of Rome's decadence, as well as evidence of the early struggle to define who could and could not become a Christian.

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  • RELIGION

fathermothergod

One would be hard-pressed to find a more devastating and personal critique of Christian Science than this new memoir from Lucia Greenhouse, which details her unconventional upbringing under that medicine-declining spiritual regime and the crisis of confidence brought on by her faithful mother's death from cancer. Equally unsparing of all participants, even herself, Greenhouse seeks catharsis in telling her story.

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  • RELIGION

Fire Monks

If a flaming tree falls in the forest, does anybody panic? Not if the onlookers are Zen Buddhist monks. When wildfires threatened their mountain home in 2008, five California monks saved the oldest Zen monastery in the U.S. by guiding the flames as one would an old but unruly friend. Colleen Morton Busch's riveting account is an astonishing portrait of courage under fire, and the power of mindfulness in the face of crisis.

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  • RELIGION

Holy Bones, Holy Dust

A piece of the True Cross is the least bizarre item in Charles Freeman's fascinating and unprecedented examination of the holy relics that shaped the course of medieval empires, as Christian rulers more concerned with prestige than sanctity vied for possession of a saint's hair or blood, all to impress their peers and subjects.

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  • RELIGION

God's Secretaries

Easter week seems a good time to mark the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible by recommending a favorite book that chronicles its making. The author, Adam Nicolson, as Katherine A. Powers once wrote, "is a partisan of this great work as a vessel containing the inherited glory and grace of the English language," and we share her admiration for his 2003 volume.

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  • religion

The Complete Psalms

Below is an excerpt from Pamela Greenberg's lively new -- and complete -- translation of the Psalms (Psalm 27). It is always surprising to revisit texts we assume we know, and when the text is scripture, the words within words that new translations invoke can be especially refreshing, and at times revelatory. As here.

 

In your tent, I will make my songs into offerings,
singing forth all my melodies to your name.

Listen, God, to my voice when I call out.
With compassion, answer my need.
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  • religion

The Language God Talks

The 94-year-old novelist (The Caine Mutiny, The Winds of War) uses his friendship with physicist Richard Feynman as a springboard to an explanation of faith, science, and meaning.

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  • RELIGION

The Best Spiritual Writing of 2009

Voices and visions explore the reaches of the inner life in this rewarding anthology of essays, poems, fiction, and memoir by the likes of John Updike, Diane Ackerman, Richard Rodriguez, Nicholas Carr, Mary Jo Bang, Richard Wilbur, Louise Glück, and others. Read more...

April 19: "What you see first, after the starting gun's crack, is a column of bobbing runners, thousands of them, surging downhill..."

Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch is the winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. James Parker calls this Dickensian coming-of-age novel "an enveloping…

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