Explore our groundbreaking books that facilitate teaching across disciplines. To request an exam copy, click on “Request an Exam or Desk Copy” on the book page, and this will take you to our distributor’s site where you can order your copy.

Invitation to Syriac Christianity: An Anthology edited by Michael Philip Penn, Scott Fitzgerald Johnson, Christine Shepardson, and Charles M. Stang

Despite their centrality to the history of Christianity in the East, Syriac Christians have generally been excluded from modern accounts of the faith. Originating from Mesopotamia, Syriac Christians quickly spread across Eurasia, from Turkey to China, developing a distinctive and influential form of Christianity that connected empires. These early Christians wrote in the language of Syriac, the lingua franca of the late ancient Middle East, and a dialect of Aramaic, the language of Jesus. Collecting key foundational Syriac texts from the second to the fourteenth centuries, this anthology provides unique access to one of the most intriguing, but least known, branches of the Christian tradition.

Understanding Religion: Theories and Methods for Studying Religiously Diverse Societies by Paul Michael Hedges

This innovative coursebook introduces students to interdisciplinary theoretical tools for understanding contemporary religiously diverse societies—both Western and non-Western. Using a case-study model, the text considers:

  • A wide and diverse array of contemporary issues, questions, and critical approaches to the study of religion relevant to students and scholars
  • A variety of theoretical approaches, including decolonial, feminist, hermeneutical, poststructuralist, and phenomenological analyses
  • Current debates on whether the term “religion” is meaningful
  • Many key issues about the study of religion, including the insider-outsider debate, material religion, and lived religion
  • Plural and religiously diverse societies, including the theological ideas of traditions and the political and social questions that arise for those living alongside adherents of other religions

Religion in America by Lisa D. Pearce and Claire Chipman Gilliland

Written in an engaging and accessible tone, Religion in America probes the dynamics of recent American religious beliefs and behaviors. Charting trends over time using demographic data, this book examines how patterns of religious affiliation, service attendance, and prayer vary by race and ethnicity, social class, and gender. The authors identify demographic processes such as birth, death, and migration, as well as changes in education, employment, and families, as central to why some individuals and congregations experience change in religious practices and beliefs while others hold steady. Religion in America challenges students to examine the demographic data alongside everyday accounts of how religion is experienced differently across social groups to better understand the role that religion plays in the lives of Americans today and how that is changing.

Conversion to Islam in the Premodern Age:
A Sourcebook
edited by Nimrod Hurvitz, Christian C. Sahner, Uriel Simonsohn, Luke Yarbrough

Conversion to Islam is a phenomenon of immense significance in human history. At the outset of Islamic rule in the seventh century, Muslims constituted a tiny minority in most areas under their control. But by the beginning of the modern period, they formed the majority in most territories from North Africa to Southeast Asia. Across such diverse lands, peoples, and time periods, conversion was a complex, varied phenomenon. Converts lived in a world of overlapping and competing religious, cultural, social, and familial affiliations, and the effects of turning to Islam played out in every aspect of life. Conversion therefore provides a critical lens for world history, magnifying the constantly evolving array of beliefs, practices, and outlooks that constitute Islam around the globe. This groundbreaking collection of texts, translated from sources in a dozen languages from the seventh to the eighteenth centuries, presents the historical process of conversion to Islam in all its variety and unruly detail, through the eyes of both Muslim and non-Muslim observers.

The Sea in the Middle: The Mediterranean World, 650–1650 by Thomas E. Burman, Brian A. Catlos, and Mark D. Meyerson

The Sea in the Middle presents an original and revisionist narrative of the development of the medieval west from late antiquity to the dawn of modernity. This textbook is uniquely centered on the Mediterranean and emphasizes the role played by peoples and cultures of Africa, Asia, and Europe in an age when Christians, Muslims, and Jews of various denominations engaged with each other in both conflict and collaboration.

Key features:

  • Fifteen-chapter structure to aid classroom use  
  • Sections in each chapter that feature key artifacts relevant to chapter themes
  • Dynamic visuals, including 190 photos and 20 maps

Texts from the Middle: Documents from the Mediterranean World, 650–1650 by Thomas E. Burman, Brian A. Catlos, and Mark D. Meyerson

Texts from the Middle is a companion primary source reader to the textbook, The Sea in the Middle. It can be used alone or in conjunction with the textbook, providing an original history of the Middle Ages that places the Mediterranean at the geographical center of the study of the time period ca. 650–1650.

Building on the textbook’s unique approach, these sources center on the Mediterranean and emphasize the role played by peoples and cultures of Africa, Asia, and Europe in an age when Christians, Muslims, and Jews of various denominations engaged with each other in both conflict and collaboration. The supplementary reader mirrors the main text’s fifteen-chapter structure, providing six sources per chapter.

Both texts pair together to provide a framework and materials that guide students through this complex but essential history—one that will appeal to the diverse student bodies of today.

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