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Religions, Volume 9, Issue 2 (February 2018)

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Cover Story (view full-size image) Comparative studies are today a primary, essential part of the study of religions. By these essays, [...] Read more.
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Open AccessArticle Work as a Value in the Writings of Rabbi Y.Y. Reines
Religions 2018, 9(2), 64; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9020064
Received: 22 November 2017 / Revised: 17 January 2018 / Accepted: 17 February 2018 / Published: 24 February 2018
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Abstract
Religious texts in the Jewish tradition uphold a notion of work as an existential need. It follows that work is of no religious significance in itself. Torah study has traditionally put it at the top of the hierarchy of Jewish values. The approach
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Religious texts in the Jewish tradition uphold a notion of work as an existential need. It follows that work is of no religious significance in itself. Torah study has traditionally put it at the top of the hierarchy of Jewish values. The approach most clearly discernible throughout Jewish history has seen work as a prerequisite to be satisfied in order for the real essentials of life to be addressed; this approach became dominant almost to the exclusion of any other. Nota bene: seen in this way, work is a must, but not a religious value in itself. R. Yitzhak Yaakov Reines (1839–1915), one of the greatest Torah1 scholars of Lithuania, founded the Mizrachi religious Zionist movement in 1902.2 The movement upheld the notion of work as a religious value, not only as an existential need. Bnei Akiva, the youth movement associated with the Mizrachi, emblazoned the motto of “Torah and Labor” upon its banner. The present article sets out to trace R. Reines’ thought and the idea of labor in his theological teaching. His thought continues to have a significant impact on religious Zionists in the State of Israel and throughout the world. Full article
Open AccessArticle Baptism in the Holy Spirit-and-Fire: Luke’s Implicitly Pneumatological Theory of Atonement
Religions 2018, 9(2), 63; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9020063
Received: 21 December 2017 / Revised: 11 February 2018 / Accepted: 12 February 2018 / Published: 24 February 2018
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Abstract
Historically, theologies of atonement have neglected the Holy Spirit. Luke provides us with an important canonical voice for addressing this neglect. Luke locates Christ’s salvific work within his mission to baptize all flesh in the Holy Spirit and fire. He is to occasion
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Historically, theologies of atonement have neglected the Holy Spirit. Luke provides us with an important canonical voice for addressing this neglect. Luke locates Christ’s salvific work within his mission to baptize all flesh in the Holy Spirit and fire. He is to occasion a “river” of the Spirit through which all must pass, either unto destruction or salvation. Christ must himself pass through this river to be the Spirit Baptizer. He must pass through the baptism of fire on the cross so as to bring others into the blessings of the Spirit. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 'The events fulfilled among us': from Luke to Acts)
Open AccessArticle Rethinking Material Religion in the East: Orientalism and Religious Material Culture in Contemporary Western Academia
Religions 2018, 9(2), 62; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9020062
Received: 6 December 2017 / Revised: 22 January 2018 / Accepted: 13 February 2018 / Published: 16 February 2018
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Abstract
This paper reviews the historical development of the modern discourse of “Orientalism” and the emergence of material culture as a self-reflexive theoretical transition in the West. Further, it investigates new types of Orientalism in the study of religious material culture. The traditional Orientalist
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This paper reviews the historical development of the modern discourse of “Orientalism” and the emergence of material culture as a self-reflexive theoretical transition in the West. Further, it investigates new types of Orientalism in the study of religious material culture. The traditional Orientalist approach to understanding foreign cultures has been abandoned in Western academia for decades owing to its moral judgment and lack of neutrality. However, an implicit form of Orientalism still exists in contemporary Western academia. Material culture appeared as a new trend in understanding the world as not solely dominated by human beings but also transformed by material objects. Religious material culture, far from explaining the reality of religious phenomena in different cultures, constructs new realities to solve problems in Western intellectual discourse. This is the case with the study of Chinese religions and material life. Full article
Open AccessConference Report Christian Spirituality in Eating Disorder Recovery
Religions 2018, 9(2), 61; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9020061
Received: 15 December 2017 / Revised: 1 February 2018 / Accepted: 8 February 2018 / Published: 16 February 2018
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Abstract
Eating disorders are some of the most severe and destructive of all psychological conditions. They are associated with restricted capacities in cognitive, emotional, physical, and spiritual development. This paper provides an examination of the practical application of Christian spirituality as a force for
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Eating disorders are some of the most severe and destructive of all psychological conditions. They are associated with restricted capacities in cognitive, emotional, physical, and spiritual development. This paper provides an examination of the practical application of Christian spirituality as a force for recovery from an eating disorder. Specifically, it expounds the transformative potential in the spiritual qualities of hope, trust, acceptance, surrender, and courage underpinning engagement with evidence-based therapeutic models of care in eating disorder recovery. Full article
Open AccessArticle George Jeffreys: Pentecostal and Contemporary Implications
Religions 2018, 9(2), 60; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9020060
Received: 19 January 2018 / Revised: 1 February 2018 / Accepted: 2 February 2018 / Published: 15 February 2018
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Abstract
The life and work of the Welsh evangelist George Jeffreys resulted in the planting of two denominations in the UK between 1915 and 1962, when he died. The Elim churches continue to this day to be one of the larger classical Pentecostal denominations
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The life and work of the Welsh evangelist George Jeffreys resulted in the planting of two denominations in the UK between 1915 and 1962, when he died. The Elim churches continue to this day to be one of the larger classical Pentecostal denominations in the UK, while the Bible Pattern Fellowship dispersed on Jeffreys’ death. The disputes that led to Jeffreys’ departure from Elim were said to have arisen from his adherence to British Israel doctrine, though his supporters believed they arose from his championing of local church ownership and democracy. This paper considers sociological and other reasons for Jeffreys’ remarkable success in the interwar years and his eventual departure from a denomination he founded. It concludes by reflecting on topics (such as the importance of debate and law) that have relevance for contemporary Pentecostalism. Full article
Open AccessArticle The Virgin Mary in the Early Modern Italian Writings of Vittoria Colonna, Lucrezia Marinella, and Eleonora Montalvo
Religions 2018, 9(2), 59; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9020059
Received: 25 October 2017 / Revised: 22 December 2017 / Accepted: 5 February 2018 / Published: 13 February 2018
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Abstract
The Marian writings of the Roman poet Vittoria Colonna (1490/92–1547), the Venetian polemicist Lucrezia Marinella (1579–1653),1 and the Florentine educator Eleonora Montalvo (1602–1659) present an accessible model of the Virgin Mary in the early modern period that both lay and religious women
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The Marian writings of the Roman poet Vittoria Colonna (1490/92–1547), the Venetian polemicist Lucrezia Marinella (1579–1653),1 and the Florentine educator Eleonora Montalvo (1602–1659) present an accessible model of the Virgin Mary in the early modern period that both lay and religious women could emulate in order to strengthen their individual spirituality. While the Catholic Church encouraged women to accept and imitate an ideal of the Virgin Mary’s character traits and behavior for the good of society, these three women writers constructed a more fruitful narrative of the Virgin’s life and experience that included elements and imagery that would empower women to enhance their personal practice of meditation. Full article
Open AccessArticle Interrogating the Comparative Method: Whither, Why, and How?1
Religions 2018, 9(2), 58; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9020058
Received: 15 January 2018 / Revised: 26 January 2018 / Accepted: 26 January 2018 / Published: 12 February 2018
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Abstract
This essay seeks to illuminate the problematics, methods, and dynamics of comparison by interrogating how certain analytical categories in the study of religion, such as scripture and the body, can be fruitfully reimagined through a comparative analysis of their Hindu and Jewish instantiations.
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This essay seeks to illuminate the problematics, methods, and dynamics of comparison by interrogating how certain analytical categories in the study of religion, such as scripture and the body, can be fruitfully reimagined through a comparative analysis of their Hindu and Jewish instantiations. I consider a range of issues that are critical to any productive comparative study, and I reflect more specifically on the principal components of my own comparative method in light of Oliver Freiberger’s analytical framework: the goals of comparative analysis; the modes of comparison; the parameters that define the scope and the scale of the comparative inquiry; and the operations involved in the comparative process, beginning with selection of the specific traditions and analytical categories to be addressed and formulation of the organizational design of the study and culminating in the re-visioned categories and models in the study of religion that constitute the fruits of the comparative inquiry. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Methodical Aspects of Comparison)
Open AccessArticle Against Vaiṣṇava Deviance: Brāhmaṇical and Bhadralok Alliance in Bengal
Religions 2018, 9(2), 57; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9020057
Received: 29 October 2017 / Revised: 29 January 2018 / Accepted: 4 February 2018 / Published: 11 February 2018
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Abstract
This article sets out to problematise the notion that late nineteenth and early twentieth century Vaiṣṇava anti-sahajiyā polemics can be taken as a definitive index of colonial wrought rupture within Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavism. It proceeds by (1) drawing attention to oblique, yet unmistakably
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This article sets out to problematise the notion that late nineteenth and early twentieth century Vaiṣṇava anti-sahajiyā polemics can be taken as a definitive index of colonial wrought rupture within Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavism. It proceeds by (1) drawing attention to oblique, yet unmistakably polemical, forms of response to sahajiyā currents in pre-colonial Gauḍīya literature that are indicative of a movement towards a brāhmaṇically-aligned Vaiṣṇava normativity; and (2) highlighting how this movement towards normativity was further fostered in colonial times by Gauḍīya gosvāmī types, who were often extensively involved in bhadralok Vaiṣṇava domains. Full article
Open AccessArticle Fast, Feast and Feminism: Teaching Food and Gender in Italian Religious Women’s Writings
Religions 2018, 9(2), 56; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9020056
Received: 1 November 2017 / Revised: 28 December 2017 / Accepted: 6 February 2018 / Published: 10 February 2018
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Abstract
In the wake of Caroline Walker Bynum’s essential studies on the crucial role food played in the lives of medieval religious women, significant attention has been given to the connection between premodern women’s spiritual practices and eating practices. However, the relationship between religious
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In the wake of Caroline Walker Bynum’s essential studies on the crucial role food played in the lives of medieval religious women, significant attention has been given to the connection between premodern women’s spiritual practices and eating practices. However, the relationship between religious women and food is not limited to body manipulation, inedia or eucharistic frenzy. Indeed, recent critical work has provided accessible translations and critical apparatus necessary for an exploration of food and women’s religiosity that builds on Bynum’s rich foundation and examines the many ways in which women expressed themselves through food, both material and metaphoric. This approach not only allows students to engage with women’s writing through the familiarity and universality of food, but moreover reminds them of the real, living, breathing women behind the texts, thus opening the door to a feminist rereading of texts—not as proto-feminist themselves, but rather in the re-valuing of the substantial contributions of their female authors, who had subtle social awareness, public professional pursuits, and complex and varied relationships with God. Full article
Open AccessArticle Sikh Self-Sacrifice and Religious Representation during World War I
Religions 2018, 9(2), 55; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9020055
Received: 5 January 2018 / Revised: 6 February 2018 / Accepted: 8 February 2018 / Published: 10 February 2018
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Abstract
This paper analyzes the ways Sikh constructions of sacrifice were created and employed to engender social change in the early twentieth century. Through an examination of letters written by Sikh soldiers serving in the British Indian Army during World War I and contemporary
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This paper analyzes the ways Sikh constructions of sacrifice were created and employed to engender social change in the early twentieth century. Through an examination of letters written by Sikh soldiers serving in the British Indian Army during World War I and contemporary documents from within their global religious, legislative, and economic context, I argue that Sikhs mobilized conceptions of self-sacrifice in two distinct directions, both aiming at procuring greater political recognition and representation. Sikhs living outside the Indian subcontinent encouraged their fellows to rise up and throw off their colonial oppressors by recalling mythic moments of the past and highlighting the plight of colonial subjects of the British Raj. Receiving less discussion are Punjabi Sikhs who fought in British forces during the Great War and who spoke of their potential sacrifice as divinely sanctioned in service to a benevolent state. Both sides utilized religious symbolism in the hope that Sikhs would again enjoy a level of self-rule that had been lost with the arrival of the British Empire. Full article
Open AccessArticle Transparent Theological Dialogue—“Moseka Phofu Ya Gaabo Ga a Tshabe Go Swa Lentswe” (A Setswana Proverb)
Religions 2018, 9(2), 54; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9020054
Received: 29 November 2017 / Revised: 31 January 2018 / Accepted: 9 February 2018 / Published: 9 February 2018
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Abstract
This paper looks into the definition of Setswana proverb: Moseka phofu ya gaabo ga a tshabe go swa lentswe (One must fight impatiently for what rightly belongs to him or her). The proverb is used to express the African thought of transparent dialogue
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This paper looks into the definition of Setswana proverb: Moseka phofu ya gaabo ga a tshabe go swa lentswe (One must fight impatiently for what rightly belongs to him or her). The proverb is used to express the African thought of transparent dialogue that can be applied in theological deliberations; leading to sound theological conclusions adequate to address the corruption in the socio-political landscape. Transparency is explained from the African concept of addressing socio-political struggles. Theology calls for robust dialogue for the alternative society. This calls for understanding of African thought of fighting impatiently for the marginalized and the poor—a mandate that is similar to the church’s calling for liberating the oppressed masses through dialogue with others and communities in context. A special exploration is made through the symbiosis of dogma and kerygma for the incessant intervention of theology on behalf of the silent masses. An appeal is made for liberation theology and mainstream theology to dialogue in order for communities to experience salvation authentically. Full article
Open AccessArticle Impossible Subjects: LGBTIQ Experiences in Australian Pentecostal-Charismatic Churches
Religions 2018, 9(2), 53; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9020053
Received: 12 December 2017 / Revised: 20 January 2018 / Accepted: 7 February 2018 / Published: 9 February 2018
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Abstract
This paper is the product of in-depth interviews with 20 Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, and Queer (LGBTIQ) people who identify, or formerly identified, as members of Pentecostal-Charismatic Christian (PCC) churches. Interviewees typically found themselves confronted with a number of choices (not necessarily
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This paper is the product of in-depth interviews with 20 Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, and Queer (LGBTIQ) people who identify, or formerly identified, as members of Pentecostal-Charismatic Christian (PCC) churches. Interviewees typically found themselves confronted with a number of choices (not necessarily mutually exclusive): remain closeted, come out but commit to remaining celibate, undergo “SOCE” (Sexual Orientation Conversion Efforts) therapy, or leave. Most left their churches, often after agonising attempts to reconcile their faith and their sexuality. Several of the practices adopted by Australian PCC churches exclude LGBTIQ people from full participation in their own congregations, rendering them “impossible subjects.” Australian Pentecostalism’s surprisingly egalitarian history, wherein the spiritually authorised ministry of women was both recognised and celebrated, suggests another, more inclusive way forward in regard to this vexed issue. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Horrendous-Difference Disabilities, Resurrected Saints, and the Beatific Vision: A Theodicy
Religions 2018, 9(2), 52; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9020052
Received: 9 January 2018 / Revised: 2 February 2018 / Accepted: 2 February 2018 / Published: 9 February 2018
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Abstract
Marilyn Adams rightly pointed out that there are many kinds of evil, some of which are horrendous. I claim that one species of horrendous evil is what I call horrendous-difference disabilities. I distinguish two subspecies of horrendous-difference disabilities based in part on the
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Marilyn Adams rightly pointed out that there are many kinds of evil, some of which are horrendous. I claim that one species of horrendous evil is what I call horrendous-difference disabilities. I distinguish two subspecies of horrendous-difference disabilities based in part on the temporal relation between one’s rational moral wishing for a certain human function F and its being thwarted by intrinsic and extrinsic conditions. Next, I offer a theodicy for each subspecies of horrendous-difference disability. Although I appeal to some claims made by Marilyn Adams for this theodicy, I reject one particular claim. I deny that one must be aware that one participates in a horrendous evil when the horrific event occurs. To develop this point and its relevance for a theodicy for horrendous-difference disabilities, I engage with Andrew Chignell’s work on infant suffering. In doing so, I show that what partly motivates the claim is a time-bias, i.e., near-bias. By rejecting this time-bias, I show how it is possible, given post-mortem life, for persons with profound cognitive disabilities to participate in horrendous evils and how these might be defeated by God. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Theodicy)
Open AccessArticle Who Benefits from Consociationalism? Religious Disparities in Lebanon’s Political System
Religions 2018, 9(2), 51; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9020051
Received: 28 November 2017 / Revised: 2 February 2018 / Accepted: 3 February 2018 / Published: 8 February 2018
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Abstract
This study examines the extent to which confessional identities in Lebanon are responsible for shaping individual views toward their government. Specifically, I investigate disparities between religious groups in their perceptions of democracy and democratic principles as applied in Lebanon. Using nationally representative data
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This study examines the extent to which confessional identities in Lebanon are responsible for shaping individual views toward their government. Specifically, I investigate disparities between religious groups in their perceptions of democracy and democratic principles as applied in Lebanon. Using nationally representative data from the Arab Barometer’s survey of Lebanon, I find that when compared to Maronite Catholics, Druze, and Sunni Muslims, Shia Muslims consistently give higher evaluations of the democratic condition of Lebanon. When compared to members of other religious groups, Shia Muslims are also more trusting of government institutions and perceive Lebanon to be freer. I find little evidence that the application of consociational theory equally and proportionally represents the political needs of the religious groups intended to be served. Rather, my findings reveal religious disparities in evaluations of democracy and political institutions in Lebanon, supporting critics of consociationalism who argue that consociationalism essentializes group-identity to political disputes. Full article
Open AccessArticle Nurses’ Understanding of Spirituality and the Spirituality of Older People with Dementia in the Continuing Care Setting
Religions 2018, 9(2), 50; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9020050
Received: 1 December 2017 / Revised: 1 February 2018 / Accepted: 1 February 2018 / Published: 7 February 2018
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Abstract
This research paper was presented at the Third International Spirituality in Healthcare Conference 2017—‘Creating Space for Spirituality in Healthcare’ at Trinity College Dublin, The University of Dublin. 22 June 2017. The number of older people living with dementia in Ireland is rising. Dementia
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This research paper was presented at the Third International Spirituality in Healthcare Conference 2017—‘Creating Space for Spirituality in Healthcare’ at Trinity College Dublin, The University of Dublin. 22 June 2017. The number of older people living with dementia in Ireland is rising. Dementia is prevalent among those residing in the continuing care setting. Nurses have a professional obligation to provide person centred, holistic care, to which spiritual care is a core element, yet often do not. As there are no guidelines in Ireland for spiritual care provision it is open to personal interpretation and application. This study was the first in Ireland to explore how spiritual care is understood by nurses in the context of older people living with dementia in a public, rural, continuing care setting. A qualitative descriptive design was utilized. Following purposive sampling, eight semi structured interviews were conducted in a rural Irish community hospital among registered nurses caring for older people living with dementia. A conceptual framework developed from the findings of a literature review, as well as this research study’s aim and objectives framed the interview schedule and data analysis. Data analysis utilized Newell and Burnard (2011) Thematic Content Analysis. Ethical approval was granted by the Health Service Executive (HSE) and the University of Dublin, Trinity College Dublin (TCD). Six key themes emerged from the study—1. Understandings of Spirituality, 2. Assessing spiritual need, 3. Providing spiritual care, 4. The impact of spirituality on quality of life, 5. Barriers to spiritual care and how these are addressed, and finally 6. The needs of staff. This paper presents and discusses the findings of the first theme ‘Understandings of Spirituality’ and its two sub-themes, 1. ‘The nurse’s own understanding of spirituality’ and 2. ‘The nurses’ understanding of spirituality and older people living with dementia.’ It is evident from the findings that there exists a variety of responses with regards to the nurses’ own understanding of the concept spirituality and spirituality for older people living with dementia. Participants placed emphasis on person-centred approaches to understanding and providing for the needs of care recipients’ in this area of care. Most participants acknowledged the positive impact of spiritual care on quality of life for older people living with dementia. Indications for practice suggest the need to develop suitable evidence based professional, person-centred frameworks, guidelines and educational standards for nurses which better equip them to understand spirituality and how this area of need can be properly assessed in partnership with the recipient of nursing practice in the continuing care setting to ensure comprehensive holistic, person-centred practice. Full article
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