Religions2016, 7(7), 82; doi:10.3390/rel7070082 (registering DOI) - published 25 June 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: This article explores apophatic ways of presenting God (the Other) in two films of Andrey Zvyagintsev. The lens for this analysis is the phenomenological theology of John Panteleimon Manoussakis, using the following concepts: (1) God as personal Other; (2) the relational nature of God’s self-disclosure through prosopon; (3) God as revealed in space/sight; (4) God as revealed in hearing/time; and (5) God as revealed in touch/self-understanding. This analysis, pursued through close examination of Zvyagintsev’s The Return (2003) and Leviathan (2014), demonstrates the relevance of Manoussakis’s theology to the study of religion and film, particularly in its sensual and experiential themes and emphases.
Religions2016, 7(7), 83; doi:10.3390/rel7070083 (registering DOI) - published 25 June 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Continental philosophers of religion and the theologians who engage with them have recently began to blur the lines between the disciplines of philosophy and theology. This is particularly true after the so-called “theological turn” in phenomenology. I argue for an appreciation of their approaches but will also express that these explorations must remain interdisciplinary. Far too often philosophers and theologians alike appropriate freely within their interdisciplinary research little regard for the presuppositions and methodologies latent within their appropriations. This article will demonstrate these appropriations through an exploration of Merold Westphal and Richard Kearney’s use of hermeneutical phenomenology, and will claim that their use of this methodology falls upon two distinct discourses, a theological one for Westphal and a philosophical one for Kearney. The upshot of this exploration is an argument for a renewal of methodological restraint when appropriating from other disciplines and a respect for the difference between academic disciplines.
Religions2016, 7(7), 80; doi:10.3390/rel7070080 - published 23 June 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: This article initiates an inquiry into the sources and frameworks of value used to denote human subjects in modernity. In particular, I consider the conflation of monetary, legal, and theological registers employed to demarcate human worth. Drawing on Simmel’s speculative genealogy of the money equivalent of human values, I consider the spectrum of ascriptions from specifically quantified to infinite human value. I suggest that predications of infinite human value require and imply quantified—and specifically monetary-economic—human value. Cost and worth, economically and legally defined, provide a foundation for subsequent eternal projections in a theological imaginary. This calls into question the interventionist potential of claims to infinite or unquantifiable human value as resistance to the contemporary financialization of human life and society.
Religions2016, 7(7), 81; doi:10.3390/rel7070081 - published 23 June 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: This essay examines the unusual evangelical work of Marilla Baker Ingalls, an American Baptist missionary to Burma from 1851–1902. By the time of her death in Burma at the age of 75, Ingalls was known as one of the most successful Baptist evangelists among Burmese Buddhists. To understand the extraordinary dynamic of Ingalls’ expanding Christian community, this essay focuses on two prominent objects at the Baptist mission: A life-sized dog statue that Ingalls kept chained at the edge of her property and a massive banyan tree covered with biblical illustrations and revered by locals as an abode of divine beings. This essay argues that these objects transformed Ingalls’ American Baptist Christianity into a kind of Burmese religion that revolved around revered objects. Through an examination of the particular shrine practices that pulled people into the Baptist mission, this essay reflects on the larger context of religious encounter, conflict, and representation in modernizing Burma.
Religions2016, 7(6), 78; doi:10.3390/rel7060078 - published 22 June 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Recent research undertaken in the fields of anthropology and consumer behavior indicates that possessions play an important role in the construction of identity. While it is tempting to view both the connection between possessions and identity and the problems this engenders as a recent phenomenon, the Book of Job also recognizes this connection and is cognizant of its problematic nature. While Job does not offer answers to our contemporary dilemmas of possession, the book highlights the nuances of the problem as they existed in its own time and place, with all characters offering different perspectives on how the connection should be understood and how one ought to live in consequence of this understanding.
Religions2016, 7(6), 79; doi:10.3390/rel7060079 - published 22 June 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The modern moral paradigm champions a codified format, where ethics is conceived of as and conveyed by means of law. Among the wisdom literature of the Hebrew Bible, the book of Proverbs offers an alternative to modern codified morality. I consider a concern shared by ancient and modern societies—communication ethics—to argue that through Proverbs’ focus on character, wisdom, and the Lord, the book could revise the way we think about, articulate, and act upon the modern moral paradigm.