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Walking to Emmaus [Paperback]

By Eamon Duffy (Author)
Our Price $ 18.66  
Retail Value $ 21.95  
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Item Number 131843  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   163
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.46" Width: 6.54" Height: 0.53"
Weight:   0.51 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Oct 5, 2006
Publisher   Burns & Oates
ISBN  0860124231  
EAN  9780860124238  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
Professor Eamon Duffy is by any reckoning a scholar of the first rank and a man of deeply held religious belief, who tackles the issue of being a Christian in the modern world. Walking to Emmaus assembles the best of his addresses and includes an impressive autobiographical introduction. Duffy's topics range from the current interest in monasticism, to a new understanding of St Valentine's day, taking full account of the spiritual and fleshly needs of his audience. Walking to Emmaus will delight Eamon Duffy's admirers and increase their numbers. Praise for Faith of our Fathers 'This is the sort of history we need - history that serves an ambassadorial role between past and present, illumining our life with wisdom.' Christian Century 'Duffy's is a truly prophetic voice.' Music and Liturgy>

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More About Eamon Duffy

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Eamon Duffy is professor of the history of Christianity at the University of Cambridge. He is the author of many prize-winning books, including The Stripping of the Altars, Saints and Sinners, The Voices of Morebath, and Marking the Hours, all published by Yale University Press.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Duffy's Disappointing Sermons  Mar 19, 2009
The sheer range of Eamon Duffy's vocabulary is a treat. I usually enjoy his erudite writing; his "Faith of Our Fathers" is a counterpoint to those who believe all real theology only stems from Rome. His "Creed in the Catechism" is a spiritual classic for anyone of any faith, a truly wise and remarkable achievement. To paraphrase Fatboy Slim, Duffy is an excellent Weapon of Choice for those comfortable enough in their faith to question the dogma of fundamentalist authority. Yet, even in "Faith of Our Fathers," essays on the Spanish Inquisition and the Church's abuse scandals, Duffy oddly pulled his punches. The reason for this softening of tone is revealed in his later collection of sermons, "Walking to Emmaus," which, considering this man's spiritual insight, is ultimately very disappointing. While "Faith of Our Fathers" consists of theological writing thankfully subjected to editors, the sermons in "Walking to Emmaus" have no such constriction, and thus surprisingly suffer the effects of an overweening ego. This is puzzling, considering how superb his "Creed in the Catechism" is. Why doesn't Duffy's spiritual intelligence transfer to these other topics? Clearly, preaching in various churches in "Walking in Emmaus," Duffy lost valuable opportunities to be profound, opting for misplaced contemporary world application, confusing vast spiritual knowledge with reactions to modern politics and events. This approach is reactionary, topical, and political; Duffy lost his bearings, as occurs when historians/theologians commit the ivory-tower sin of not understanding that there are a multiplicity of views and experiences in the real world.

Despite the limitiations of "Walking to Emmaus," the first essay is hilarious. Duffy, describing the New Testament story of the Gadarene swine, states that possibly, rather than being about Jesus, it's "a legend about some other Rabbi, a grim Jewish joke, in which the sort of people who eat ham sandwiches get their come uppance, and serve them right...Demons are filthy things, but then pork is too, so naturally they belong together. Where else would devils go when forced to leave their pagan victim?" (8-9).

The rest of this collection disappoints, revealing Duffy as an assimilated British academic. In several sermons regarding veterans, "When I Remember, I am Afraid," and "Walking to Emmaus," Duffy indulges in long diatribes against war, and the war dead, stating that politicians hijack them for their causes. "The dead are passive, and can be manipulated" (82). The only one doing the manipulating and hijacking here is Duffy, washing his hands in the loamy artifice of contemporary political-correctness. I've experienced British Veteran's Day, or Remembrance Sunday, in Cambridge. Wearing the red paper poppy in honor of the UK's veterans and war dead, I witnessed the phenomena of English graciousness when Americans pay respect to their wartime sacrifices. Duffy misrepresents this memorial to the war-dead, revealing himself as an upper-class academic, PC at any cost, conveniently forgetting soldiers, whose countless acts of self-sacrifice protect his right to loftily protest. Duffy is so antiwar, in an assimilated academic/ivory-tower Cambridge don manner, that he equates all war as evil: "war is...never good...To remember war, for Christians, is to come face to face with the reality of sin...There are no innocent combatants, and no victors" (37). This view allows evil to prevail. Duffy inappropriately preached to an audience with mourners present, he indulged in academic fluff and judgment, swathed in a morally corrupt thesis. To dismiss virtuous war, innocent combatants, and innocent victims, is to dismiss the spectrum of human good and evil and our responsibility to fight evil. Some things are beyond human capacity or responsibility to forgive, and it is arrogant to think otherwise. Duffy plays the smarmy, ivory-tower, pseudo-priest "forgiveness game," which is moral equivocation at its worst.

There must have been an English-Lit professor, that Duffy does not like, present in his audience at Queen's College for his sermon on Lent. Duffy completely misunderstands key elements of British literary culture when he dismissed Dorothy Sayers as "snobbery with violence" (61). Duffy is not a fan of virtuous warriors fighting the good fight, nor of artists: "The more wonderful the art is, the more likely we are to have the experience but to miss the meaning: the art becomes the rival of the God it is supposed to reveal" (54). Rival!? That's a small, diminished God of Duffy's World. "Artists are not inspired men and women with a hotline to the Sublime, to God. Art is not news from heaven, but a human construct, often deeply compromised, deeply implicated in networks of privilege, power, and coercion [like the war dead]...from the very beginning, Christian art was hijacked to serve the powerful and the successful" (58). Despite Duffy's repetitive critique, and although sponsored by the powerful, countless art through history and cultures can introduce our eyeballs and spirits to the divine.

In the essays of "Faith of Our Fathers," there were passages where clearly, Duffy overextended himself. Describing his belief that there is a diminishment of folk Catholicism, he states that, "especially in Western Europe and the USA, though individual components of the pre-Conciliar devotional world survive, its overall close-knit unity of texture and imaginative hold have weakened and in many places disappeared" (24). This betrays another aspect of Duffy's limitations, that reached full fruition in the sermons of "Walking to Emmaus." He has never experienced the American Southwest, drenched in deeply personal Spanish Catholicism, with historic folk traditions that venerate Mary and Our Lady of Guadalupe. Devout and talented artisans create religious art in their carved Santos, Bultos, Retablos, etc. The Navajo Nation and Pueblo communities express a variety of complex spiritual paths. There is an emerging narrative of early, hidden Spanish-Jewish conversos. In the desert Southwest, there is a confluence and perpetuation of ancient traditions that inspire inhabitants to explore various heritages. The spiritual world is more complex than Duffy's sermons portray here.

Instead of this, try Duffy's far superior books instead:
The Creed in the Catechism: The Life of God for Us
The Stripping of the Altars: Traditional Religion in England, 1400-1580
Faith Of Our Fathers: Reflections On Catholic Traditions (Continuum Icons)

Eamon Duffy, and those interested in Southwestern culture & religion, should read:
Death Comes for the Archbishop (Vintage Classics)
Romance of a Little Village Girl (Paso Por Aqui : Series on the Nuevomexicano Literary Heritage)

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