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Cover of Transgender Studies Quarterly (TSQ) on Trans*/Religion (Volume 6, issue 3, August 2019)

In 2008 Georgetown University Library received a grant from The Gladys Brooks Foundation to establish an endowment fund in support of the acquisitions of library materials in emerging disciplines (see Library Associates Newsletter Spring 2008, no. 87). This year Amy Phillips was awarded funding from the grant for the area of trans studies, religious and theological studies. Below, she gives an outline of the state of the field and a list of the new materials she has acquired with her Gladys Brooks Foundation grant:

Might not trans theology be one technology by which trans activists, theologians, and scholars are reimagining both cosmology and ontology? Theology can function as a method of rethinking materiality and the conditions of embodiment outside its current constraints, which is part of what made it so attractive to early feminist theologians.” - Max Strassfeld and Robyn Henderson-Espinoza

The above quote comes from an introduction essay by Max Strassfeld and Robyn Henderson-Espinoza for a special issue of Transgender Studies Quarterly (TSQ) on Trans*/Religion (Volume 6, issue 3, August 2019). The special issue brought the most recent scholarship to the fore of what is a growing area of much needed attention not only in the academic pursuit of studying theology but in reflection on the practical and lived experience of transgender people in communities of faith. It is “an interdisciplinary field that draws upon the social sciences and psychology, the physical and life sciences, and the humanities and arts,” that is “as concerned with material conditions as it is with representations practices, and often pays particularly close attention to the interface between the two.” (Kelly quoting Stryker, page 10, see below)

Prior to this TSQ issue, another major publication bringing together scholars in this nascent field was the special issue of The Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion (volume 34, no. 1, Spring 2018). The issue was devoted solely to “Transing and Queering Feminst Studies and Practices of Religion''. Obviously, the title for my blog is based on this special issue.  Of note in this issue is the literature review of Trans* Studies in Religion by Siobhan M. Kelly entitled “Multiplicity and Contradiction” (pages 7-23). This article was key for me because I used it to expand my knowledge of the field and to select the landmark and most recent publications in this area for our library collection. 

Below is the fruit of the Gladys Brooks Foundation Grant. I should note that some of the older titles represent prototypes or groundbreaking works in the field. I’ve organized the list starting with the most recent publications alphabetized by title. Please be aware that many of the books have not been received yet, so online books might not be available and physical books might not have arrived in the library yet.

2020

Pauli Murray: A Personal and Political Life by Tory R. Saxby. Chapel-Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2020

Queer Religiosities: An Introduction to Queer and Transgender Studies in Religion by Melissa M. Wilcox. Lanham, MD: Rowman & LIttlefield Publishing Group, 2020

Something that May Shock and Discredit You by Daniel Mallory Othberg. New York: Atria Books, 2020.

Unlocking Orthodoxies For Inclusive Theologies: Queer Alternatives by Robert E. Goss London: Routledge, 2020

2019

Affirming God’s Image: Addressing the Transgender Question with Science and Scripture by J. Alan Branch. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2019

Queer Theologies by Chris Greenough. Abingdon : Routledge, 2019

She’s My Dad: a Father’s Transition and a Son's Redemption. By Jonathan Williams, with Paula Stone Williams. Louisville, Kentucky: Westminster John Knox Press, 2019

2018

Trans-Gender by Justin Sabi-Tanis. Eugene, Oregon: Wipf & Stock, 2018 

Transforming the Bible and the Lives of Transgender Christians by Austen Hartke. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2018

2017

According to Whose Will: The Entanglements of Gender & Religion in the Lives of Transgender Jews with an Orthodox Background by Oriol Poveda. [Sweden]: Uppsala Universitet, 2017

Retreating Forward: A Spiritual practice with transgendered persons by David E. Weekley. Eugene, Oregon: Resource Publications, 2017

Transgender Liturgies: Should the Church of England Develoop Materials to Mark the Gender Transition? By Martin Davie. London: The Latimer Trust, 2017

2016

This is My Body: Hearing the Theology of Transgender Christians. Edited by Christina Beardsley and Michelle O’Brien. London: Darton, Longman & Todd, 2016

2015

Queer Bible Commentary edited by Deryn Guest. London: SCM, 2015  (reprint of 2006 first edition)

2013

Talking Taboo: American Christian Women Get Frank About Faith edited by Erin Lane and Enuma Okoro. Ashland, Oregon: White Cloud Press, 2013

2011

In From the Wilderness:  She-R-Man by David E. Weekley. Eugene, Oregon: Wipf & Stock, 2011

2010

Balancing the Mechitza: Transgender in Jewish Community edited by Noach Dzmura Berkeley, Calif.: North Atlantic Books, 2010.

Psalms by Joy Ladin. Eugene, Or.: Resource publications, 2010

2007

Another possible word edited by Marcella Maria Althause-Reid, Ivan Petrella, and Luiz Carlo Susin. London: SCMS Press, 2007

2005

Practicing Safer Texts: Food, Sex and the Bible in Queer Perspective by Ken Stone. London: T& T Clark, 2005 

2004

The Sexual Theologian: Essays on Sex, God and Politics edtied by Marcella Althaus Reid and LIsa Isherwood. London: T & T Clark International, 2004

2000

Take Back the Word: A Queer Reading of the Bible by Robert E Goss. Cleveland : Pilgrim Press, 2000

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This has been a surreal month with limited movement outside our homes, or, in some cases sheltering in place altogether. Italy is under complete shutdown. People are finding ways to amuse themselves as we saw glimpses of Italians organizing communal balcony concerts. What are you doing at home? A long time ago, in Tuscany a Jesuit was sheltered in place and you’ll never guess what he did to pass the time….

Alfonoso Niccolai (1706-1784) was a Jesuit theologian trained at the Roman College between 1726 and 1738. He taught rhetoric along with courses in Scripture. In 1781 Leopold II made him his court theologian, a fortunate appointment since this was when many Jesuits were sent to prison or expelled from their countries because Pope Clement XIV extinguished and suppressed the Order. One of Niccolai’s most significant works was the biblical commentary entitled Dissertazioni e Lezioni di Sacra Scrittura, which was first published in 1756. This work was 12 volumes covering the Old Testament and was lauded by the Jesuit poet Giambattista Roberti. 

So to answer the question of what Niccolai did in midst of the suppression of his order: In 1781,  sheltered in place, as it were, in Tuscany, while Leopold II’s theologian, he began working on a second edition of this monumental multi volume work! One wonders if the work grew tiresome or too difficult. There is not an answer to this question, but we do know he never completed the second edition. 

Woodstock’s set of Dissertazioni e Lezioni di Sacra Scrittura is incomplete. Mitchell Fariss, one of our metadata specialists, helped bring this to light during our comprehensive cataloging project for our rare books.

Post by Amy Phillips

Front page of Dissertazioni

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Entrance to Woodstock Library, one door open, sign above the door

In conjunction with the 50th anniversary of Lauinger Library, and the exhibit, 50 Years of Excellence and Service,  Woodstock Theological Library highlights its part in Lauinger's story with its own exhibit.  The exhibit,  Woodstock College Goes to Woodstock Center, tells the story of Woodstock's collections as it moved through various locations culminating in its joining Lauinger 46 years ago, and the joint history of the Woodstock Theological Center,  which served as a Jesuit thinktank at Georgetown until 2013. The exhibit is located next to the Woodstock reading room, and will be viewable from March through May. 

 

 

 

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 Job TitlePhoneEmail 
J. Leon Hooper, S.J.Department Head202-687-4250jlh3@georgetown.edu 
Adrian VaagenesDigital & Archival Services Librarian202-687-7474av762@georgetown.edu 
Amy PhillipsRare Materials Cataloger202-687-2902aep49@georgetown.edu 
Front Desk 202-687-7513woodstocktheology@georgetown.edu 
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Baseball Box ScoreWith the Washington Nationals in the World Series, and baseball fever gripping the nation’s capital, it’s worth remembering that the Jesuits of Woodstock College were just as fanatical about our nation’s pastime. Every year, from 1890-1948, around the time of our own “fall classic,” Woodstock Jesuits would face off in a best of three “World Series,” with the Philosophers (younger students in the 3 year philosophy program), against the Theologians (older students finishing the 4 year theology program). 

The series was a chance to indulge in a bit of fun distraction and outdoor recreation, in what was a rigorous time of study. The players often chose humorous team names, showing the playful side of jesuit life, with names like “the Always-Outs” vs “the Never-Hits,” “the Hannibals” vs “the Cannibals,” “the Moreovers” vs “the Howevers,” and “the Best Team” vs “the Very Best Team.” However, the series wasn’t all fun and games, and the Woodstock community took the series very seriously, recording and preserving the scores and highlights for over 50 years, all of which can be found within the Woodstock College Archives. It is from these box scores that we know that the Woodstock series was just as wild and exciting as that between the American and National League, with shutouts, no-hitters, controversial calls, squeeze bunts, and a 30 hit game. Previous Jesuit archivists were even careful to maintain the overall win/loss records, with the young Philosophers beating out their Theologian elders, 29-22. 

May our own World Series also be one for the record books!

Go Nats!

-Written by Adrian Vaagenes, Digital & Archival Services Librarian

Baseball Record

Baseball Record

 

 

 

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The Woodstock Theological Library lost a great friend this last Saturday. In honor of Gerard Mannion, we are reposting an entry he kindly wrote for us two years ago. 

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In honor of Saint Patrick's Day, Woodstock Theological Library (WTL) is delighted to have a guest blogger: Professor Gerard Mannion, Joseph and Winifred Amaturo Chair in Catholic Studies of Georgetown’s Theology Department. Here is his insightful analysis of the history and context of one of our manuscripts:

One of the precious manuscripts held in the WTL (which can also be accessed, as a digital resource) is the 17th century History of Ireland, written by priest and poet Seathrún Céitinn (the Anglicized version of his name, under which the MS is catalogued being Geoffrey Keating) A native of Tipperary, he lived from c. 1569 to c. 1644. He lived during one of the many turbulent centuries in the history of relations between Ireland and England. Because Catholics could not receive a university education in Ireland at that time, like many, he had to leave the country and study at one of the numerous Irish Colleges established all over the continent specifically for Irish Catholics. Keating went to the college in Bordeaux, France, where he completed the Doctor of Divinity degree awarded by the main university there. His History of Ireland was written in early modern Irish (entitled Foras Feasa ar Éirinn, meaning the ‘Foundation of Knowledge on Ireland’), which charts the history of Ireland from the earliest of times until the arrival of the Norman invaders in the twelfth century.

 

Hence the Latin title: Historia rerum Hibernicarum ab orbs et gentis incunabulis ad Hiberniam Anglorum ditioni adjectam. Loosely translated it means ‘The History of Ireland from the beginning of the world until Ireland became added to the English dominium’. The English would not allow it to be printed owing to the strong Catholic leanings of the work and the Latin translation was most likely produced on the continent. It circulated in hand-written manuscript form in Irish, Latin and English until finally an adaptation (rather than precise replication) of the history was printed in 1723.

Geoffrey Keating's History of IrelandIt is a Latin hand-written manuscript that we have at Georgetown (pictured above) based on a Latin edition of the work believed to have been printed between 1650 and 1672.

The work’s key value lies in the window it sheds on the self-understanding and perception of the Irish of themselves and their history of the seventeenth century during those troubled times. Some contemporaries questioned the precise nature of Keating’s sources but much of what it says about ancient Ireland can indeed be confirmed from other and often more ancient sources. Keating was indeed a gifted historian after the fashion of his times – skillfully blending fact, interpretation, legend, myth and rhetoric. But, then again, it could be argued that most historians even to this day work with varying elements of each of these characteristics too!

The picture it gives is of the distinctive, noble and proud ancient Irish kingdoms with a pronounced cultural history of their own and one of the first vernacular languages in Europe (in fact Irish is believed to be the very first language aside from Latin to have a written form). Ireland was a sovereign, independent kingdom (of kingdoms) which, although it became the home of various wandering tribal peoples throughout its ancient history, had never once been conquered. Keating goes to some lengths to try to portray the Norman rulers of much of Ireland from the twelfth century onwards as simply being the successors of the earlier Irish kings and therefore, were also endorsed by the people rather than conquerors as such. In particular, through the endorsement of their rule by some of the ancient Irish leaders themselves through an agreement with the pope in the twelfth century that this was in Ireland’s interests that the Normans should play such a role in their land.

Keating also tries to establish a common lineage between the contemporary Stuart Kings of Britain and the same ancient tribes from whom many of the Irish were descended.

The extended preface criticizes a number of earlier (English) historians for their inaccurate and demeaning portrayal of Ireland in their own histories. This, too reflected the political climate of the time as James had become the first Stuart monarch to accede to the British throne in 1603 with his son, Charles I succeeding him in 1625. For those Catholics in Ireland with some ancestry linked to earlier Norman settlers (via England hence known as the ‘Old English), of which Keating was one, due o his own Norman ancestry the new monarchy represented a time of both opportunity and trepidation for Ireland.

The work therefore gives a social and political vision of ancient Ireland that might inspire and inform a new social and political order in the (then) present day. For example, Keating makes much of the fact that the High Kings of Ireland were appointed through consensus of the people rather through birthright and hereditary mechanisms.

The work also represents a distinctive contribution to the continued Catholic responses to the Protestant Reformation and it weaves together the history of Irish society and the Irish church and portrays the latter as integral to the flourishing for the former. Again, this speaks to the times of its author (who returned to Ireland to minister as a priest) as much as to the history of ancient Ireland although, once again, much older sources do indeed demonstrate the intricate interweaving of Irish social and ecclesial life and practices in general.

As Irish people and so many others all over the world celebrate St Patrick’s Day today, it is fitting to commemorate this history of Ireland which divided that history into three epochs – pre-Christian, the era of early Christian Ireland after the arrival of St Patrick and finally the period of the Normans’ arrival in Ireland. It should be noted however, that much older sources demonstrate that there were Christians in Ireland before St Patrick, although Patrick did indeed consolidate the faith in Ireland and converted countless numbers, including many influential societal leaders.

One could argue that the actual history of ancient Ireland is even more fascinating than Keating’s skillful blending of contemporary concerns with ancient sources and legends suggests. Ever since the country’s embracing of Christianity in the 5th Century, Ireland, of course, soon came to be known a land of ‘saints and scholars’. Christianity in medieval Ireland did indeed blend with the unique cultural and social traditions of that land and developed into a very distinctive and progressively inculturated form of the Christian faith, indeed into something quite distinctive from the character of ‘Roman Christianity’ of the era.

The rich customs and traditions of ancient Irish society that Keating mentions were indeed blended with the new faith brought to the land. Anyone who visits some of Ireland’s most ancient, historic and stunningly beautiful natural sites can immerse themselves into this ancient cultural world still, including the worlds of those such as Saints Patrick, Brigid, Kevin and Columbanus (the latter of which helped convert so many lands throughout Europe and remains honored buried in Bobbio, Italy to this day). They may learn how Christianity flourished through the many schools of the land and how Ireland sent its missionaries far and wide across Europe, leaving a deep and lasting impression upon European culture, the impact of which can be seen to this day.

Most surprising of all, perhaps, they might learn that much of what is most distinctive about ‘Celtic’ Christianity in its Irish context actually owes much to the characteristics and ways of the people who predate the time of the Celts in that land. They would hear about and discuss the clashes between the ‘Celtic’ Christians and their ‘Roman’ counterparts and how practices differed significantly in Ireland from elsewhere, whether this be that Irish monks wore their hair long as opposed to the Roman tonsure, to the innovation which Irish monks introduced in order to offer a process of healing and reconciliation for those troubled by their transgressions – the practice which became private confession. They would learn how women enjoyed greater freedom and opportunity in many parts of ancient Ireland and could be political (even military) as well as religious leaders, as well as having a right to education and even to practice law.

They would also be immersed in the story of how, in Western Europe’s dark ages, after the final demise of the Roman Empire, Ireland’s remote location kept deep learning and scholarship alive, including as a last outpost where some of the classics of ancient Greek and Latin literature were well known and read and so how Irish scholars, ‘saved civilization’, as one study has put it (by Thomas Cahill, a fascinating read that perhaps shares much in common with Keating’s own idealized narrative in parts!). As already mentioned, ancient Irish is believed to be Europe’s first vernacular language to have its own literary form. So, as well as an historical and religious focus, anyone delving deep into the history of this most westerly lands of Europe would be immersed in exploring social, cultural and indeed political issues of those times.

They would see and hear how religion is always found in inculturated forms – that is to say – that a particular faith by necessity becomes refracted through and in turn changed and developed by the cultural milieu in which it is lived out and how there is a profound two-way relationship of influence between religion and the cultures in which it is practiced. Such a journey throughout history has deep implications for religion in differing communities in our world, as well as for the relations between differing branches of the same faith, including Christianity, today.

So on St Patrick’s Day it is fitting to raise a toast to this noble scholar who helped chronicle not simply the story and profound impact of Patrick and Christianity upon Ireland, but helped demonstrate why the Irish are given to celebrate the land of their birth and its many ancient heroes, heroines and customs. Keating's History of Ireland helps us understand why this day, March 17th, is so special to so many, many millions around the globe.

Entry written by Gerard Mannion on 1/17/2017

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On April 11th, Lauinger library will be hosting the author, George Saunders, who will give the Annual Casey-McIlvane Memorial Lecture on the intersection of Catholicism, Buddhism, and writing. Saunders most recent book, Lincoln in the Bardo, is a text deeply indebted to religious themes found in Christian and Buddhist theology such as sin, salvation, dukkha, and samsara. Saunders uses the historical event of President Lincoln's midnight visit to the fresh grave of his son, Wille, along with an invented cast of ghostly residents of the cemetery, to beautifully explore these themes. In play-like dialogues, the reader is confronted by questions which stand at the heart of Christianity and Buddhism, questions regarding permanence, the good life, and ultimate truth. 

For those interested in dialog between Christianity and Buddhism, the Woodstock Theological library has a great number of books worth checking out.  God, Mystery, Diversity, by Gordon D. Kaufman, Zen and the Birds of Appetite by Thomas Merton are particularly fruitful. For a larger list of books related to Saunders, Literature Liaison and Reference Librarian, Melissa Jones, has created a book display on the third floor as well as a webpage for further reading.

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In honor of the feast day of St. Thomas Aquinas, we're republishing a blog by Amy Phillips. 

Today's feast of Saint Thomas Aquinas is often associated with the Dominican friars because Aquinas himself was a member of the order and stands out as one of the greatest scholastic thinkers of the 13th century. In the 19th century, however, it was the Society of Jesus that led the revival of Scholasticism and a renewed interest in the work of Thomas Aquinas. Pope Leo XIII's encyclicalAeterni Patriswas issued in 1879 and called for a renewal in the study of philosophy. Jesuits were already at work in establishing a Thomistic orientation in their own education and scholarship. In 1850 the Jesuits founded La Civiltà Cattolicaa scholarly journal devoted to philosophy, especially the promotion of Scholasticism.

Page from Ad primam secundae D. Thomae tractatus quinque theologici

Though engaged in this revival, Jesuits weren't committed to Thomas Aquinas in the same ways. Interpretations and applications of his philosophy varied widely among the Jesuits. One approach to Aquinas was known as Suárezianism. As the term suggests, this was a method or school that followed the Jesuit philosopher of the 16th century, Francisco Suárez (1548-1617). Though Suárez was trained in scholasticism, he developed his own philosophy that departed from Aquinas and which is often referred to as a "second Scholasticism." The Jesuits of the 19th century who revived Aquinas, balanced his work with that of Suárez, other philosophers, and socio-political phenomena of the time, such as the ascendancy of democracy. Thus, their Suárezianism was the approach of expanding or, sometimes, refining Aquinas's ideas, which could not always accommodate intellectual and cultural developments in the 19th century. Woodstock Theological Library has many rare copies of books authored by Francisco Suárez. Shown here is his Ad primam secundae D. Thomae tractatus quinque theologici published by Jacob Cardon of Lyon in 1628. It was edited by Baltasar Alvarez, S.J. (1533-1588) who was trained in theology and philosophy by Dominicans in Ávila. He is best known for being the spiritual director of Teresa of Ávila.

entry authored by Amy E. Phillips, Rare Materials Cataloger for WTL on 1/27/2017

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Chinese Print

The Jesuits at Woodstock College were trained in academic and spiritual disciplines. This was done in the spirit of Ad majorem Dei gloriam, for the greater glory of God. Their training in languages, world literatures, and global civilizations enabled them to live in different geographic locations and among diverse cultures and people. Thus, their work, or “missions”, took them all over the world where they contributed to, but most often gained from, the societies they inhabited.

In the 20th century, Woodstock Jesuits were sent to China, following a long tradition of Jesuits in China which began in 1582 with Matteo Ricci. While there, they not only taught and learned from the Chinese people but they consumed and enjoyed their traditions.

As any traveler can testify, souvenirs are important material markers of time spent abroad. Among the keep-sakes the Woodstock Jesuits brought back from their work in China were a group of prints depicting scenes from the The Three Kingdoms, the historical novel attributed to Luo Guanzhong (ca. 1330-1400) and set in the 2nd century at the close of the Latter or Eastern Han Dynasty.* The story centers around three characters, Liu Bei, Guan Yu, and Zhang Fei, who make an oath to become brothers and to defend the Han Empire in the Peach Garden.

Chinese Print

The famous first line of the novel is: the empire, long divided, must unite; long united, must divide.  In the context of the prints obtained by the Woodstock Jesuits one can’t help but contemplate how closely it echoes the history of the Jesuits – from its extraordinary beginning and flourishing during 16th and 17th centuries, to its suppression and expulsion from Europe in 1773, to its restoration in 1814.

Post by Amy Phillips, Rare Materials Cataloger for Woodstock Library

* Many thanks to our colleague, Ding Ye, for helping us identify these prints.

 

 

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On this day in 1989, six Jesuits and their domestic worker and her 16 year old daughter were brutally murdered by American trained Salvardoran soldiers at their residence at the University of Central America (UCA) in the city of San Salvador. They were murdered because they and the UCA were perceived by right-wing political powers as favoring the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN), an insurgent group that fought against the corrupt government. Moreover, one among them, Ignacio Ellacuria, S.J., was openly critical of the government and the violence it perpetrated against its own people. The Jesuit Order, which ran the UCA, always expressed and lived in solidarity with those made poor and victimized by the political perversions of the Salvadorian regime The names of those martyrs are:

Ignacio EllacuríaS.J.

Ignacio Martín-Baró, S.J.

Segundo Montes, S.J.

Juan Ramón Moreno, S.J.

Joaquín López y López, S.J.

Amando López, S.J.

Elba Ramos

Celina Ramos

The liberation theologian, Jon Sobrino, S.J., was close friend and colleague of the assassinated Jesuits at the UCA. About his friends he wrote:

Witnesses to the Kingdom Book Cover“It is true that they worked and served in the university, in the Society of Jesus, in the church, but in the final analysis they were not serving and working for the good of the university, the Society of Jesus, or the church. They were working to bring the crucified people down from the cross, in the language of Jesus, to eliminate the anti-kingdom and build the kingdom of God. Thus, they did not use the poor as a means to further their academic or religious interests – an ever present temptation, since we human beings manipulate for our benefit even that which is most sacred – but on the contrary, they used the latter as means for practicing mercy.” (Witness to the Kindgom: The Martyrs of El Salvador and the Crucified People. New York: Orbis Books, 2003. page 198)

 

Post by Amy Phillips, Rare Materials Cataloger for Woodstock Library

 

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