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A Day Apart: How Jews, Christians, and Muslims Find Faith, Freedom, and Joy on the Sabbath Hardcover – January 8, 2007

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Ringwald acknowledges his debt to Josef Pieper, whose landmark study Leisure: The Basis of Culture (1948) reminded harried readers of the contemplative meaning of the Christian Sabbath. But Ringwald has done Pieper two better, by reclaiming the Sabbath in its Jewish, Muslim, and Christian manifestations. Honored by the ancient Jews to memorialize God's holy repose after the Creation, the Sabbath helped forge the collective identity of a long-persecuted people. But Jews finding weekly renewal in their Shabbat look recognizably similar to Christians in their Sunday worship and to Muslims praying each Friday during Juma. Indeed, Ringwald has himself witnessed the blessings of the Sabbath up close in all three faiths, having joined Jewish and Muslim families in as many Sabbath practices as his own Catholic convictions would permit. Careful scholarship permits Ringwald to explain the customs of Sabbath observance--and the modern controversies surrounding them. Readers thus learn, for instance, why some Christians cherish the Sabbath, while others dismiss it. They learn, too, why Jews debate Sabbath transportation, while some Muslims ponder the gender dynamics of Juma. But regardless of contemporary controversies, Ringwald prizes the Sabbath for its power to confirm timeless faiths and refresh modern psyches. A valuable contribution to interfaith studies. Bryce Christensen
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved


"I can not recall reading anything on the three faiths that so deftly engages them in robust conversation. Amazingly learned, Ringwald nonetheless has a light, friendly touch. The warmrth of his soul is unmistakenable." --Christian Century

"A Day Apart delights and edifies. Readers will find in this unprecedented book a valuable guide for understanding the Jewish, Christian and Muslim experience, a sound and balanced historical perspective, and a full measure of Sabbath joy. -- Carol Zaleski, co-author of Prayer: A History and co-editor of The Book of Heaven

"A Day Apart is an homage to American monotheism, including Islam. Ringwald sounds a solemn, brilliant call to multi-faith commonalities in the unique American religious landscape." -- Asma Gull Hasan, author of American Muslims: The New Generation and Why I Am a Muslim: An American Odyssey

"With warm empathy and astute scholarship, Christopher Ringwald takes us on a guided tour of Sabbath practices in three of the world's great religions. Although each religion sets apart a different day and gives different meaning to it, Ringwald awakens us to the powerful insight all share: On one day a week it is good to turn away from the chaos of the world toward ourselves, our families, and our communities." -- Francine Klagsbrun, author of The Fourth Commandment: Remember the Sabbath Day

"Ringwald adroitly combines journalistic field work, personal experience, history of religion, theology, and social criticism to produce a work that is illuminating and inspiring. While focusing on the role of the Sabbath experience in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam - taking due note of differences as well as similarities - Ringwald suggests that secular society can also benefit from a day of rest devoted to family, good deeds, and spiritual renewal." -- Solomon Schimmel, author of Wounds Not Healed By Time: The Power of Repentance and Forgiveness

"Profound and very readable. This important and informative book wears its careful scholarship lightly. Interweaving the lives of three seemingly very ordinary yet also profoundly spiritual families, Ringwald illuminates their practices with the story of the Sabbath, teaching the careful reader much about each of these three great 'religions of the book.' Throughout, stories of the past, remote and proximate, illustrate and guide, lead and accompany the reader's own Sabbath journey. Some might call this 'painless education.' To this reader, it is a sterling example of a master teacher who is also a master craftsman." -- Ernest Kurtz, co-author of The Spirituality of Imperfection: Storytelling and the Search for Meaning


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (January 8, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195165365
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195165364
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 1.2 x 6.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,527,149 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author


Christopher D. Ringwald is a journalist and educator based as a visiting scholar at The Sage Colleges in Albany, NY. His book, A Day Apart: How Jews, Christians, and Muslims Find Faith, Freedom, and Joy on the Sabbath, (Oxford University Press, 2007) has been hailed by Asma Gull Hassan as "a solemn, brilliant call to multi-faith commonalities" and by Solomon Schimmel as "illuminating and inspiring."

Ringwald is editor of The Evangelist, a weekly Catholic newspaper, and previously wrote The Soul of Recovery (Oxford, 2002) and Faith in Words. He has written on social, religious and legal issues for the Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Commonweal, Governing and the Albany Times Union. He reported from Iraq in 1999 and, in 2005, on a brutal insurrection in Uganda. Ringwald was a 1997 Kaiser Foundation Media Fellow and the 37th Albany Author of the Year in 2002. He often speaks to lay, professional and clerical groups on religion, spirituality, society, mental health and writing. At Sage, he is preparing a work on the spiritual lives of people with mental illness and is researching the role of psychiatric medications in crimes.

Ringwald was educated at Georgetown, Columbia and St. Bernard's. He grew up in New York City and has worked as a union carpenter, building contractor and a human rights lobbyist. In 1985-86, he taught carpentry in a Peruvian mountain village. He lives in Albany with his wife, Amy Biancolli Ringwald, a movie critic and musical biographer, and their children.

Reach him by email (ringwc@sage.edu) or Facebook.

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Bernardus Hoffschulte on March 1, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I have read a lot of books about the venerable sabbath, but none of them was - sit venia verbo - as ecumenical as Christopher Ringwald's book on the subject: 'A day apart'. The subtitle of the book - 'How jews, christians, and muslims find faith, freedom, and joy on the sabbath' - evokes a harmony which could greatly benefit the Middle-East from Beirut to Islamabad and from Cairo to Kabul.

Under the same title there is a book by Noam Zion e.a., but this is, with the subtitle 'Shabbat at home', really a jewish how-to-do-book rather than a pioneering study like the book of Ringwald. He describes the historical and spiritual interrelations of the three abrahamic days of rest and worship with a lot of information which has never been brought together in one book before. He also describes his personal impressions of abrahamic co-existence in his own environment in the USA, without even suggesting that one of those days is better than the other. The book is a happy mix of good scholarly research and personal testimony, highly recommended to anyone who is interested in the relations between jews, christians and muslims and, for that matter, in the future of mankind.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Alex Marshall on December 28, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Christopher Ringwald, a journalist and scholar of religion, has used a deceptively simple difference as a lens onto the three great monotheistic religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. That difference is that the three religions all keep the Sabbath, but on different days. The Muslims on Friday, the Jews on Saturday, the Christians on Sunday. It's a great and very comprehensible device that allows the readers to enter into these three related, but also different and sometimes warring, faiths. As someone who considers himself spiritual but not religious, I found Ringwald's book extremely interesting. Until I read the book actually, I wasn't aware that Muslims kept their Sabbath on Friday. Ringwald's book is a great way to go deeper into these three religions, and also to understand how religion affects secular culture. For example, probably the only reason we have our beloved weekend, is because of its roots in religious faith and the commandment to have a day of rest. Very worthwhile book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Thomas J. Otoole on December 28, 2006
Format: Hardcover
"A Day Apart" is an isightful study of not only the special day of observance in the three major religions of the world, but also a far-reaching journey to the spiritual boundaries of these faiths. This is a must-read for all students and teachers of comparative religion. The book presents the unbiased perspective of a devout Christian scholar. It has the potential to help bring about healing among the three cultures. The day-to-day experiences of the author's friends -- from all three faiths --lends both power and instruction to the narrative. I thoroughly enjoyed this powerful book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Meredith Gould on November 7, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Christopher Ringwald has crafted a fine book that interweaves history, scripture, and personal experience to illuminate Sabbath traditions among Jews, Christians, and Muslims. His writing is intelligent and absolutely lyrical in many places. He manages to offer a comprehensive sweep of these religious traditions that's quite detailed without bogging the reader down.I agree with the reviewer who notes the value of this book for those interested in comparative religions. I'd add interfaith families as well.
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