Renunciation

A Novel

By John D. Barbour

Renunciation

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  • ISBN: 9781620328453
  • Pages: 232
  • Publication Date: 9/17/2013
  • Retail Price: $28.00
Web Price: $22.40
Web Price: $22.40
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eBOOK

  • ISBN: 9781620328453
  • Format: epub
  • Publication Date: 9/17/2013
  • Retail Price: $28.00
Web Price: $22.40
Web Price: $22.40
 

*All eBooks are non-returnable

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Renunciation

A Novel

By John D. Barbour

paperback-logo

PAPERBACK

  • ISBN: 9781620328453
  • Pages: 232
  • Publication Date: 9/17/2013
  • Retail Price: $28.00
Web Price: $22.40
ebook-logo

eBOOK

  • ISBN: 9781620328453
  • Format: epub
  • Publication Date: 9/17/2013
  • Retail Price: $28.00
Web Price: $22.40
Web Price: $22.40
 

*All eBooks are non-returnable

** Click here to review our ePub FAQ and policies.

About-

Traveling in New Mexico in 1971, Will George converts to Bhakti Dharma, a new religious movement influenced by Hinduism and Sikh tradition. Returning to his home in Minnesota, he renounces his previous life, provoking a crisis for everyone in his family. Peter, Will's older brother, is a graduate student at the University of Chicago who studies early Christian asceticism partly to understand his brother's devotion. He gains insight into kundalini yoga, gender roles in the ashram, the guru's charisma, and events such as Jonestown and controversies about Hare Krishna. In Thailand Peter has a profound encounter during a Buddhist meditation retreat. Meanwhile, Will's religious search continues in India, where he dies in suspicious circumstances. Peter retraces his brother's steps to investigate his death and wrestles with what it means to be his brother's keeper.

The developing relationship between the two brothers dramatizes the theme of renunciation, as expressed both in explicit religious vows and in other choices they make. Acts of renunciation reveal a longing for sacrifice and self-transcendence, and sometimes also a dangerous and destructive urge. This novel explores how family relationships and religious commitments conflict, intertwine, and shape each other.

Endorsements & Reviews-

"This novel of two brothers is a tale of two quests, Peter's to understand Will and Will's to experience God. John Barbour poignantly captures conflicts in spirituality today: family faith vs. distant wisdom, doctrine vs. lived practice, obedience vs. innovation. He keenly observes how paths of renunciation can become possessions. This paradox sends Peter searching, from academic Chicago to Buddhist Thailand, then to a Sikh community in India--where Will's mystery inspires unsettled but caring thought."
--Larry D. Bouchard, Professor of Religious Studies, University of Virginia

"This novel about two brothers divided by their common interest in religion effectively dramatizes the risks and rewards of spiritual questing. I found it thoughtful, wise, funny, sad, and in the end deeply affecting."
--G. Thomas Couser, Professor of English, Emeritus, Hofstra University

"John Barbour's compelling fictional story of a young, skeptical academic's love, concern, and ultimately compassion for his spiritually rebellious younger brother in the 1970s and 80s touches the reader's heart. Somewhat autobiographical in nature, this historical novel . . . narrates Barbour's own exploration of traditional and contemporary religious ideas and practices, particularly regarding renunciation, from his personal and scholarly perspectives."
--William K. Mahony, Charles A. Dana Professor of Religion, Davidson College

"Renunciation is a stimulating and thought-provoking novel that exposes the reader to a wide range of religious and philosophical ideas. These ideas are unfolded through the relationship of two brothers. Will converts to Bhakti Dharma, a new religion, in 1971 while Peter becomes a religious scholar. They take different, and at times painfully divergent, paths as they each struggle to understand faith. The novel captures the spiritual quest of that decade."
--Tripp Ryder, President, Midwest Independent Booksellers Association

The story moves the reader to consider renunciation as both a letting go--and a letting in. Like nature, religion abhors a vacuum, and the space renunciation hallows and hollows out easily fills with something else: despair, blind devotion, violence, and possibly even hope."
--Martha E. Stortz, Bernhard M. Christensen Professor for Religion and Vocation, Augsburg College


Renunciation is, on the one hand, primarily a novel of ideas--and they are ideas that will resonate in the minds of nearly all of us who teach religious studies or theology in contemporary North America. But on the other hand,Renunciation is also the account of an emotional drama focused on how differing religious experiences and understandings of religion play out in family interactions and in the minds of two religiously sensitive but very different siblings. The narrator's voice is usually calm, measured, and articulate. But there is also real emotional conflict here and a murder mystery at the end that propels the novel's plot.
--Glenn Yocum, The Journal of the American Academy of Religion

Contributors-

John D. Barbour

Bio(s)-

John D. Barbour is Professor of Religion and Boldt Distinguished Teaching Chair in the Humanities at St. Olaf College. He is the author of scholarly essays and four books, including Versions of Deconversion: Autobiography and the Loss of Faith (1994) and The Value of Solitude: The Ethics and Spirituality of Aloneness in Autobiography (2004).

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