Reviews Articles

A History of the Bible: The book and its faiths, by John Barton

26 November 2020 | by Michael Wright

‘Why did Trinitarian language become so central to the rule’s structure, when the New Testament hardly knows it?' | Book cover of A History of the Bible: The book and its faiths, by John Barton

Two religions, Judaism and Christianity, draw their basic convictions from the Bible, yet each draws very different key ideas from the material they cherish.

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Conversations with a Blank Canvas by Isa Levy

12 November 2020 | by Joanna Godfrey Wood

'Isa conveys her passion and deep commitment to finding the authentic connection with ‘that of God’ – or you could say, the ‘blank canvas’ – within.' | Book cover of Conversations with a Blank Canvas by Isa Levy

Who is Isa L Levy? Difficult to define. Her brave memoir, Conversations with a Blank Canvas, explores the decades of her life from actor to artist, to arts psychotherapist, with many more labels in between. In 1998 she walked through the doors of her first Quaker Meeting after a chance encounter...

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InnSæi, directed by Hrund Gunnsteinsdottir and Kristín Ólafsdóttir

12 November 2020 | by Angela Greenwood

'InnSæi is the Icelandic word for intuition. It means ‘the sea within.’ | Detail of DVD cover of InnSæi, directed by Hrund Gunnsteinsdottir and Kristín Ólafsdóttir.

I was recently prompted to watch Hrund Gunnsteinsdottir’s and Kristín Ólafsdóttir’s film and was immediately engaged and inspired. InnSæi is the Icelandic word for intuition. It means ‘the sea within’, like the borderless nature of our inner world, or it can mean ‘to see within’,...

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When America Stopped Being Great: A history of the present by Nick Bryant

05 November 2020 | by Reg Naulty

'Many people can remember that there used to be a redistribution of income, funded by taxation. What happened to that?' | Book cover of When America Stopped Being Great: A history of the present by Nick Bryant

The governance of a society has big implications for the lives of the people living in it. Hence Plato’s Republic, which was meant to ensure that rulers knew what goodness is, and how to give it expression in a state they governed. Ideally, they would create a society in...

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A Long Walk, A Gradual Ascent: The story of the Bolivian Friends Church in its context of conflict

05 November 2020 | by Johan Maurer

'How did Quakers attain such prominence in a relatively small South American country?' | Book cover of A Long Walk, A Gradual Ascent: The story of the Bolivian Friends Church in its context of conflict by Nancy Thomas

Quick quiz: which four countries of the world have the highest numbers of Quakers? Answer: Kenya is in number one position, followed by the USA and Burundi. In fourth place by total number, and in third place by proportion of total population, is Bolivia. How did Quakers attain such prominence...

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Bible and Ecology: Rediscovering the Community of Creation, by Richard Bauckham

15 October 2020 | by Frank Regan

'The human became a god and we forgot how embedded in nature we are; how interdependent with other creatures.' | Book cover of Bible and Ecology: Rediscovering the Community of Creation, by Richard Bauckham

Richard Bauckham, a former professor of New Testament Studies, invites us to rediscover our membership of the Community of Creation. This community is larger than the community of humankind. It consists of many species, some extinct, others recently born.

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Choosing Life: My father’s journey in film from Hollywood to Hiroshima, by Leslie A Sussan

15 October 2020 | by David Zarembka

‘The horror of nuclear weapons is effectively realised; Choosing Life carries a gut emotional level of disgust.’ | Book cover of Choosing Life: My father’s journey in film from Hollywood to Hiroshima, by Leslie A Sussan

I should say up front: Leslie Sussan and I are both members of Bethesda Meeting in Maryland, USA. She has been working on this book about her father, Herb Sussan, for thirty years.

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Conspiracy, directed by Frank Pierson

15 October 2020 | by Helen Porter

'The script is not invented. It comes from the only surviving copy of the SS minutes of the proceedings.' | Cover of Conspiracy, directed by Frank Pierson

I recently plucked up courage to watch this film, which I have had on my shelves since I bought it in a charity shop a couple of years ago. It is a hard watch but essential viewing, increasingly so with the resurgence of fascism in the world.

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The Book of Trespass: Crossing the lines that divide us, by Nick Hayes

15 October 2020 | by Tony Tucker

‘Nationalism suits the landowning classes because it gives people a sense of ownership when they own nothing at all.' | Book cover of The Book of Trespass: Crossing the lines that divide us, by Nick Hayes

Nick Hayes’ fascinating and provocative book is a tearing away of much of the pretence of British history. A nation’s view of itself is rarely realistic and in our case the fabrications are literally set in stone. The great houses and estates of the land are, if we care...

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Practical Mystics: Quaker faith in action by Jennifer Kavanagh

08 October 2020 | by Jonathan Wooding

‘Look closely and you can find some snippets of personal disclosure left tantalisingly around when the author’s internal editor was sleeping.' | Book cover of Practical Mystics: Quaker faith in action by Jennifer Kavanagh

‘Oh, Jonathan – the Quakers? Lovely people, but completely impractical!’ This was the polite (but stinging) verdict, sometime in the early 1990s, on my latest head-in-the-clouds, ‘Manchester Guardian’ venture – attending Quaker Meeting in Wandsworth. It was delivered by Mrs O, the elderly mother of an old school friend, who had introduced...

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