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Thomas explores the path of spiritual development illustrating that human beings already possess the potent seeds for unfolding into more highly developed beings and that spiritual practices can shape the mind into and instrument for facilitating spiritual growth and experience -- often referred to as continuing from "grace to grace."
Although Catherine of Siena was proclaimed a Doctor of the Church in 1970, relatively little attention has been given to her mystical thought, particularly in the English-speaking world. The Dialogue, the famous compendium of her mature thought, is difficult to understand owing to its interruptions, repetitions, overlapping arguments, imagery and undefined terms. Thomas McDermott breaks new ground in his systematic presentation of Catherine¿s teachings. Drawing on the Dialogue and also on Catherine¿s 381 letters and prayers, he explains clearly her principal teachings in relation to spiritual development, and identifies Catherine¿s possible sources as well as her areas of originality. By examining Catherine¿s life and mystical experiences, McDermott shows how she herself grew spiritually and how her growth corresponds to her later teaching on the ¿three stairs¿ on the ¿bridge of Christ crucified.¿ Finally, the author puts forward what he regards as the fundamental message of Catherine¿s life and teaching. Students of mysticism and spirituality will find this book a trustworthy guide through the incredibly rich mysticism of one of the 14th century¿s most amazing women.
The Jefferson Bible, or The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth as it is formally titled, was a book constructed by Thomas Jefferson in the latter years of his life by cutting and pasting numerous sections from various Bibles as extractions of the doctrine of Jesus. Jefferson's composition excluded sections of the New Testament containing supernatural aspects as well as perceived misinterpretations he believed had been added by the Four Evangelists. In 1895, the Smithsonian Institution under the leadership of librarian Cyrus Adler purchased the original Jefferson Bible from Jefferson's great-granddaughter Carolina Randolph for $400. A conservation effort commencing in 2009, in partnership with the museum's Political History department, allowed for a public unveiling in an exhibit open from November 11, 2011, through May 28, 2012, at the National Museum of American History.
Thomas Day (1801-61), a free man of color from Milton, North Carolina, became the most successful cabinetmaker in North Carolina--white or black--during a time when most blacks were enslaved and free blacks were restricted in their movements and activities. His surviving furniture and architectural woodwork still represent the best of nineteenth-century craftsmanship and aesthetics. In this lavishly illustrated book, Patricia Phillips Marshall and Jo Ramsay Leimenstoll show how Day plotted a carefully charted course for success in antebellum southern society. Beginning in the 1820s, he produced fine furniture for leading white citizens and in the 1840s and '50s diversified his offerings to produce newel posts, stair brackets, and distinctive mantels for many of the same clients. As demand for his services increased, the technological improvements Day incorporated into his shop contributed to the complexity of his designs. Day's style, characterized by undulating shapes, fluid lines, and spiraling forms, melded his own unique motifs with popular design forms, resulting in a distinctive interpretation readily identified to his shop. The photographs in the book document furniture in public and private collections and architectural woodwork from private homes not previously associated with Day. The book provides information on more than 160 pieces of furniture and architectural woodwork that Day produced for 80 structures between 1835 and 1861. Through in-depth analysis and generous illustrations, including over 240 photographs (20 in full color) and architectural photography by Tim Buchman, Marshall and Leimenstoll provide a comprehensive perspective on and a new understanding of the powerful sense of aesthetics and design that mark Day's legacy.
Ritual studies today figures as a central element of religious discourse for many scholars around the world. Ritual Theory, Ritual Practice, Catherine Bell's sweeping and seminal work on the subject, helped legitimize the field. In this volume, Bell re-examines the issues, methods, and ramifications of our interest in ritual by concentrating on anthropology, sociology, and the history of religions. Now with a new foreword by Diane Jonte-Pace, Bell's work is a must-read for understanding the evolution of the field of ritual studies and its current state.

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