Blog Archives

Demythologising, Mike Grimshaw

Sacred Histories in Secular New Zealand
Geoffrey Troughton and Stuart Lange (eds)
Victoria University Press, $40.00,
ISBN 9781776560950

My late grandmother was a Presbyterian, who had some Catholic friends. They lived in working-class Stanley Point (when it was working-class) in Devonport. During the week, they existed very happily as friends and neighbours. But, on a Sunday, according to family lore, my nana, despite her bad hips, would walk the long way to church so she didn’t have to go past – and therefore acknowledge the existence of – the Catholic church. Apparently, her friends did the same thing in reverse. They were lives in which religious identity and practice were important components, yet these did not create sectarian communities, as during the week they lived interrelated non-sectarian lives. These were the respectable working class, whose children became middle-class, but a middle class that was still religious in framing culture and ethos, if not so regular practice, into the 1980s. Up to the end of the 1980s – and longer in the provinces and rural areas – there was still a large swathe of broad-church Protestantism and Catholicism in New Zealand.

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Reiterating a theme, Peter Lineham

Reimagining God: The Faith Journey of a Modern Heretic
Lloyd Geering
Polebridge Press, $37.00,
ISBN 9781598151565

Professor Lloyd Geering wrote his first book in 1968. Fifty-six years later, the grand old man is just shy of 100 years old and has published his 17th book, at least on my reckoning! Quite an achievement, and well worthy of celebration. Those who have heard Geering lecture will, on opening this book, recognise the scintillating clarity which has always been his mark as a lecturer.

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The life of Brian, Paul Morris

Destiny: The Life and Times of a Self-Made Apostle  Peter Lineham Penguin Books, $38.00, ISBN 9780143568919 A Rising Tide: Evangelical Christianity in New Zealand 1930-65   Stuart Lange Otago University Press, $40.00, ISBN 9781877578557 Recently, the International Association of Religion

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Jesus with a human face, Hugo Petzsch

New Zealand Jesus: Social and Religious Transformations of an Image, 1890–1940 Geoffrey Troughton Peter Lang, US$78.95, ISBN 9783034310475 The figure of Jesus and the powerful ideas that are often associated with him have attracted men, women and children for centuries.

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Hot gospels and wowserism, Paul Morris

The Spirit of the Past: Essays on Christianity in New Zealand History  Geoffrey Troughton and Hugh Morrison (eds)  Victoria University Press, $50.00,  ISBN 9780864736543 Theology no longer forms part of a university education in the social sciences or humanities, where

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Posted in Essays, Non-fiction, Religion and Review

Tikkun olam, David Zwartz

Jewish Lives in New Zealand: A History Leonard Bell and Diana Morrow (eds) Godwit, $55.00, ISBN 9781869621735   “Don’t skite!” said my loving family when I came home with the story of some success at school. Jewish Lives in New

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Retro righteous indignation, Paul Morris

Shaping Godzone: Public Issues and Church Voices in New Zealand 1840-2000 Laurie Guy Victoria University Press, $50.00, ISBN 9780864736413   This is a 600-page, somewhat pious, lament for the New Zealand churches. These individual and collective Christian voices once heard

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The good life, Mike Grimshaw

Such is Life! A Close Encounter with Ecclesiastes Lloyd Geering Steele Roberts, $29.99, ISBN 9781877448881   In an email in 2008, Lloyd Geering mentioned that his next project was Ecclesiastes, a longstanding interest, which he noted was also a focus

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Explaining the explainers, Robert Nola

Secular Sermons: Essays on Science and Philosophy  Alan Musgrave Otago University Press, $45.00, ISBN 9781877372704 Publishers in New Zealand produce books in many areas such as literature, history, politics, biography, art; they produce almost nothing in philosophy. Philosophers in this

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Troubled missionary, Paul Moon

God’s Messenger: J F Riemenschneider and Racial Conflict in 19th Century New Zealand Peter Oettli Huia, $55.00, ISBN 9781869693201 The lives of missionaries in 19th century New Zealand have tended to end up being documented in two forms. The first

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