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Religions, Volume 13, Issue 2 (February 2022) – 103 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Situated in a charming village in the Périgord, the Romanesque church of Saint-Martin-de-Besse presents a fascinating west façade, with a portal composed of biblical narratives and the figure of Saint Eustace. Treated as unstable polysemic texts carved in stone, and with a focus on time and space—both the terrestrial and the liturgical—I argue that the narrative vignettes of Besse offer a global and stabilized narrative plot, made possible through overarching chiastic interchanges. Ultimately, I propose that, like the cyclicity of liturgy encompassing rites, gestures, texts, sacraments, and temporal successions, the performative sculptural program of Besse involves memory, the experience of the present, and the hope of a redemptive future in which its viewers become active protagonists in the history, time, and space of the Church. View this paper
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Article
The Theoretical Foundations of Contextual Interpretation of the Qur’an in Islamic Theological Schools and Philosophical Sufism
Religions 2022, 13(2), 188; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13020188 - 21 Feb 2022
Viewed by 897
Abstract
Contextual interpretation of the Qur’an has grown in popularity with the rise of Islamic modernism, mostly because of the need to reform Islamic thought and institutions. Although Qur’anic contextualism is a modern concept, this study argues that its theoretical origins can be traced [...] Read more.
Contextual interpretation of the Qur’an has grown in popularity with the rise of Islamic modernism, mostly because of the need to reform Islamic thought and institutions. Although Qur’anic contextualism is a modern concept, this study argues that its theoretical origins can be traced back to classical Islamic scholarship. Most of the Islamic theological schools, as well as the Akbarī School (the school of Ibn al-‘Arabī), a prominent representative of philosophical Sufism, acknowledged the contextuality of the Qur’an by distinguishing between transcendent divine speech and its limited manifestation in human language. Furthermore, Shams al-Dīn al-Fanārī of the Akbarī School developed a hermeneutical theory in which he questioned the authority and the nature of Qur’anic exegesis and emphasized the idea that the Qur’anic text can have multiple meanings, due to the multiplicity of perceptions in different human contexts. I propose that, of the thinking in pre-modern Islamic scholarship, Akbarian scriptural hermeneutics best accommodates the modern practice of reading the Qur’an contextually. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Approaches to Qur'anic Hermeneutics in the Muslim World)
Article
Critique of Nas in Contemporary Qur’ānic Hermeneutics Using the Example of Naṣr Ḥāmid Abū Zayd’s Works
Religions 2022, 13(2), 187; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13020187 - 21 Feb 2022
Viewed by 421
Abstract
This article highlights the importance of the issue of nas in the context of the thought and works of the acclaimed Egyptian thinker Naṣr Ḥāmid Abū Zayd (1943–2010) who, while often perceived as a liberal intellectual, was at the same time deeply [...] Read more.
This article highlights the importance of the issue of nas in the context of the thought and works of the acclaimed Egyptian thinker Naṣr Ḥāmid Abū Zayd (1943–2010) who, while often perceived as a liberal intellectual, was at the same time deeply embedded in classical and modern Islamic thought and a hermeneutical approach to the Qur’ān. The practice of nas is usually translated as “abrogation” and seems to be one of the most important procedures conducted by Muslim jurists within the frame of the Qur’ānic sciences. It is one of the deciding features of Islamic law as subsequently created and codified following the time of the Prophet Muḥammad and the Righteous Caliphs. For Abū Zayd, nas was linked to a set of juridical approaches reducing the discursive aspect of the Qur’ān and turning it into a normative book of law. This article includes examples of Abū Zayd’s critique and analysis of the classical cases of nas as contained in his most important books, Mafhūm an-naṣṣ and Naqd al-iāb ad-dīnī, as well his English works published in the Netherlands after the so-called “Case of Abū Zayd” and his forced emigration to Europe. In the last part, the outcome of Abū Zayd’s approach will be assessed and his location among past and present Egyptian and Arab thinkers discussed and problematized. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Approaches to Qur'anic Hermeneutics in the Muslim World)
Article
Positivism and Reasonableness: Authoritarian Leanings in New Atheism’s Thinking
Religions 2022, 13(2), 186; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13020186 - 21 Feb 2022
Viewed by 467
Abstract
Various contemporary phenomena of social regression and authoritarianism are related to religious actors, movements, and beliefs. This text, however, seeks to follow this up with the political–theoretical argumentation that New Atheism has to be understood as a way of thinking which carries illiberal [...] Read more.
Various contemporary phenomena of social regression and authoritarianism are related to religious actors, movements, and beliefs. This text, however, seeks to follow this up with the political–theoretical argumentation that New Atheism has to be understood as a way of thinking which carries illiberal and authoritarian tendencies with it as well. In defence of this position, this article will first reconstruct, with reference to Habermas’s and Rawls’s theory of democracy, elements that must include personal beliefs in order to be considered congruent with democratic values. Subsequently, New Atheism’s conception of rational politics will be presented in order to show in which aspects it contradicts the demands of reasonable convictions. This concerns, in particular, the rejection of reasonable pluralism on the one hand and a non-positivistic view of human beings on the other. As a conclusion, this text supports the proposition that, when speaking of the connection between certain worldviews and today’s illiberalism, New Atheism must also be considered as an unreasonable comprehensive doctrine. Full article
Article
Levinas and Responsibility in the Face of Violence: A View from Lithuania
Religions 2022, 13(2), 185; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13020185 - 21 Feb 2022
Viewed by 363
Abstract
This paper is an exploration of the possibility of responsibility in the face of violence. Invoking choices made within the Holocaust experience, the paper shows how, from Levinas’ perspective, morality and humanity are tested. First, violence interrupts a person’s integrity and forces upon [...] Read more.
This paper is an exploration of the possibility of responsibility in the face of violence. Invoking choices made within the Holocaust experience, the paper shows how, from Levinas’ perspective, morality and humanity are tested. First, violence interrupts a person’s integrity and forces upon him/her choices he/she would otherwise not make. Second, war as the ultimate form of violence alleges the introduction of a “new morality” to justify its atrocities. Yet, this is belied because morality cannot be defined solely by ontology or epistemology and needs to account for vulnerability and passivity. Recognizing that moral responsibility is conjoined with vulnerability reveals it to be deeper than the logic promulgated by war. This is confirmed by an analysis of Cain’s question, which shows that evil arises by ignoring the face of the other, by a secondary effort to displace the primacy of being for-the-other. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Contemporary Continental Philosophy and Jewish Thought)
Article
Pillars of Salt: Pastoral Care with Adolescents with a Migration Experience
Religions 2022, 13(2), 184; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13020184 - 18 Feb 2022
Viewed by 477
Abstract
“Lot’s wife looked back”. This detail in the migration journey of Lot and his family illustrates being caught in between needing to move forward but wanting to look back. Many adolescents who have migrated to Europe experience in-betweenness. This article begins from their [...] Read more.
“Lot’s wife looked back”. This detail in the migration journey of Lot and his family illustrates being caught in between needing to move forward but wanting to look back. Many adolescents who have migrated to Europe experience in-betweenness. This article begins from their reported practices of lived religion. This interpretive phenomenological analysis study brings together the domains of lived religion, migration theology, and adolescent development to better understand how pastoral care may address this liminal state. Looking at their descriptions of the presence and absence of important relationships, religious practices, and the experience of the divine shows the importance of these three areas working together. In the absence of strong proximal social relationships, many adolescents with a religious identity who have migrated to Europe turn their attention to the divine Godself. Releasing someone caught in between two places may require an awareness of the concepts of grief and loss, post-trauma theology, and skills in orienting and making social connections. One goal of pastoral care for adolescents who have experienced migration can be to provide a path out of the liminal in-between space to a place where there is room to flourish. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Spiritual Care With Migrant Families)
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Article
Who Speaks for Coptic Rights in Egypt Today? (2013–2021)
Religions 2022, 13(2), 183; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13020183 - 18 Feb 2022
Viewed by 500
Abstract
This paper explores the nature of Coptic struggles for religious equality in Egypt in the period between 2013 and 2021. The key research question informing this paper is: in a context where the space for civic action to demand rights for equality and [...] Read more.
This paper explores the nature of Coptic struggles for religious equality in Egypt in the period between 2013 and 2021. The key research question informing this paper is: in a context where the space for civic action to demand rights for equality and religious freedom is deeply circumscribed, who fills the vacuum of mediating Coptic grievances and what are the implications for institutionalizing religious freedom and promoting the greater public good? The methodology informing this paper is a multi-scalar linking national level political analysis of the relationship between the President and the Patriarch with the relationship between the church leadership and authorities in the governorate of Minya and its implications for local level governance of sectarian violence against Copts. The paper makes three key propositions. First, the relationship between the President and the Pope cannot be assumed to be a proxy for state-church relations more widely because the positively demonstrated political will of the President has not led to the institutionalization of religious equality at different levels of governance. Second, the assumption of Bishop Makarious of a representational role in defending and promoting the rights of Copts has led to a trade off in institutional rights encroaching on the principle of ecclesiastical affairs being free from governmental meddling. The third proposition is that the political vacuum created by the elimination of mediation of rights via civil society actors has not only negatively affected opportunities for championing the institutionalization of rights at different levels but has also wielded a loss for the promotion of public good more broadly. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Freedom of Religious Institutions in Society)
Article
Ezekiel, Daniel, and Christian Diet Culture
Religions 2022, 13(2), 182; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13020182 - 18 Feb 2022
Viewed by 388
Abstract
The books of Ezekiel and Daniel, specifically Ezek 4.9 and Daniel 1, 3, and 6, are now being used to market healthy eating and diet plans to Christians, especially evangelical Christians, in ways that are the opposite of how the texts appear in [...] Read more.
The books of Ezekiel and Daniel, specifically Ezek 4.9 and Daniel 1, 3, and 6, are now being used to market healthy eating and diet plans to Christians, especially evangelical Christians, in ways that are the opposite of how the texts appear in their historical and literary contexts. Such usage is a potentially problematic example of prophetic reception history and its contemporary significance because the language in these plans is the same language found in secular diet plans with biblical prooftexts added to them. The addition may actually make the plans even more problematic by linking weight and fitness to religion and spirituality. Full article
Article
“I Have Apostatized”: Self-Narratives of Catholic Apostasy as Resources for Collective Mobilization in Argentina
Religions 2022, 13(2), 181; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13020181 - 18 Feb 2022
Viewed by 489
Abstract
Since 2009, the Collective Apostasy Campaign in Argentina has mobilized some people who are opposed to the political interference of the Catholic Church through the formal act of apostatizing. The politicization of sexual and reproductive rights, and, especially, the fight for the legalization [...] Read more.
Since 2009, the Collective Apostasy Campaign in Argentina has mobilized some people who are opposed to the political interference of the Catholic Church through the formal act of apostatizing. The politicization of sexual and reproductive rights, and, especially, the fight for the legalization of abortion, led to the campaign that acquired great public repercussions between 2018 and 2020. This paper analyzes 13 self-narratives of apostasy publicly available since 2009, digging into its plot, motives to apostatize, and motivation for its publicizing. Through a thematic analysis, the diverse self-narratives show similar motivations (to promote social debate on political secularization in the country), although they differ in the centrality of their personal, sociopolitical, and procedural motives to apostatize. The stories that apostates tell are resources for social mobilization as they seek an increasingly broad audience and serve the pedagogical function of sharing arguments against the political role of the Catholic Church and in favor of personal ideological coherence. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Apostasy and Other Forms of Leaving Religion)
Article
Fādil Al-Samarra’ī’s Contribution to Literary and Rhetorical Exegesis of the Qur’an
Religions 2022, 13(2), 180; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13020180 - 18 Feb 2022
Viewed by 443
Abstract
This article explores and assesses Fādil al-Samarrā’ī’s contribution to literary and rhetorical Qur’anic exegesis, especially regarding the rhetorical inimitability of the Qur’an. The article looks at how al-Samarrā’ī approaches the Qur’anic text to reveal its miraculous expressional secrets and its rhetorical inimitability with [...] Read more.
This article explores and assesses Fādil al-Samarrā’ī’s contribution to literary and rhetorical Qur’anic exegesis, especially regarding the rhetorical inimitability of the Qur’an. The article looks at how al-Samarrā’ī approaches the Qur’anic text to reveal its miraculous expressional secrets and its rhetorical inimitability with mere Arabic linguistic tools while giving contexts high priority in his analyses and interpretations. Al-Samarrā’ī was able to reach the semantics and purposes of the Qur’an based on the Qur’anic language itself, relying on its sentence structure and order, as well as on the structures, significance, and special meanings of words (which distinguish them from their synonyms), and how all of it relates to the purposes and objectives of the Qur’an. Al-Samarrā’ī sought to use morphology, semantics, and syntax to reach the purposes of the Holy Qur’an and discover its miraculous and inimitable eloquence. To achieve this, al-Samarrā’ī relied on the rich and vast literature on the subject. Guided by the intellectual language and empirical questions of his time, his tremendous effort and contribution to the literature has helped to demystify this complex subject. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Approaches to Qur'anic Hermeneutics in the Muslim World)
Article
Re-Evaluating Early Memorization of the Qurʾān in Medieval Muslim Cultures
Religions 2022, 13(2), 179; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13020179 - 17 Feb 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 682
Abstract
In medieval Islam, traditional primary educational practices laid special emphasis on learning the Qurʾān by heart. Ideally, a pupil was primed to memorize the entirety of the Holy Book―a feat known as khatma or ḥadhqa. The successful learner would earn the prestigious [...] Read more.
In medieval Islam, traditional primary educational practices laid special emphasis on learning the Qurʾān by heart. Ideally, a pupil was primed to memorize the entirety of the Holy Book―a feat known as khatma or ḥadhqa. The successful learner would earn the prestigious sobriquet of “ḥāfiẓ”, for which he/she was to be proudly known for the rest of his/her life. Muslim youngsters continue up to present times to memorize the Qurʾān, in conceivably more or less the same way, in traditional Qurʾānic schools. In a sense, this practice developed into a symbol of Islamic conservatism and nationalism in the face of modern non-Islamic ideological forces. Against this backdrop, recent pedagogical trends tend to lay blame on rote learning as a markedly ineffective teaching method. The pedagogical issues of contemporary educational apparatus in the Muslim countries and the traditional Qurʾānic preschools in and beyond the Muslim world are usually ascribed to persistence of “abortive” medieval practices in such institutions. However, this hypothesis and the lingering presumptions related to it are based on defective modern applications of such medieval educational practices and inaccurate conceptions of how these practices are described by the sources. Generally, the intrinsic characteristics of traditional Islamic pedagogy have been explored, albeit partly, by only a limited number of Western surveys. This paper seeks to re-evaluate the efficiency of the pedagogies related to memorizing the Qurʾān in medieval Muslim primary schools. It opens the vista to explore the extent to which such pedagogies resonated with the educational and cultural milieus of the time. To that end, the paper applies literature and theoretical analysis of classical scholars. It also examines primary and secondary Islamic texts as well as the Qurʾān, ḥadīth and fragments of poetry. The main finding is that, contrary to modern misconceptions and generalizations, rote memorization was intertwined in the classical Islamic pedagogy with the ability to contemplate, reflect and understand. It was a multidimensional learning experience that was set to advance a plethora of cognitive, linguistic and intellectual abilities. Full article
Article
The Religions Zionist Sector at Bay
Religions 2022, 13(2), 178; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13020178 - 17 Feb 2022
Viewed by 308
Abstract
In the last decades Religious Zionism moved from the margins to the center of Israeli society and politics. Members of this sector (RZS) are located today in top positions in Israeli politics, businesses, and among professional elites, academia, and the military, gaining growing [...] Read more.
In the last decades Religious Zionism moved from the margins to the center of Israeli society and politics. Members of this sector (RZS) are located today in top positions in Israeli politics, businesses, and among professional elites, academia, and the military, gaining growing influence over the national decision-making processes and policies. No wonder, then, that public opinion polls indicate that the members of the RZS are the most satisfied and optimistic in Israel today. The fact that the RZS is positioned mostly on one side of the political spectrum (Right), the tight interrelations within this sector and its widening periphery have further increased its national impact. It is argued here that this is a critical development in Israeli politics as this sector’s members, and in particular those voting for the RZS parties, show relatively low commitment to core democratic values together with a clear preference for the Jewish aspect over the democratic aspect of the state of Israel. Furthermore, whereas in the past the RZS was politically represented by one main party (with some splinter groups coming and going), in the 2021 elections two parties (Yamina and the Religious Zionist Party (RZP)) collided head-on. For the first time each of these parties, the first more modernist and the second more fundamentalist, claimed to be the only authentic representative of this sector. The competition between them intensified when the election results showed that each of the two had gained the same number of seats in the Knesset, with the leader of Yamina unexpectedly becoming the new Israeli prime minister. It is argued here that the future balance of power between these two parties and their respective constituencies will determine the future of the RZS as a whole—whether it will establish itself as a pivotal actor in Israeli politics or remain at the margins. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religious Zionism – Sociology and Theology)
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Article
The Secularization of Religious Figures: A Study of Mahoraga in the Song Dynasty (960–1279)
Religions 2022, 13(2), 177; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13020177 - 17 Feb 2022
Viewed by 510
Abstract
Mahoraga dolls, a type of figurine showing a child holding a lotus leaf, are sacrifice utensils that were commonly used in the Qixi Festival to pray for reproduction throughout the Song Dynasty in China. Scholars pay great attention to the Buddhistic origins of [...] Read more.
Mahoraga dolls, a type of figurine showing a child holding a lotus leaf, are sacrifice utensils that were commonly used in the Qixi Festival to pray for reproduction throughout the Song Dynasty in China. Scholars pay great attention to the Buddhistic origins of Mahoraga, relating it to different figures within Buddhism and discussing its religious artistic values. This paper focuses on the transformation of this cultural appropriation in Chinese society by discussing the localization of Mahoraga as well as the reasons behind the use of Mahoraga in worship in Qixi in particular. We believe that the population crisis and national population policies in the Song Dynasty stimulated Chinese people’s longing for procreation and this desire was responded to by the secularization and popularization of Buddhism in China, together with the increased prosperity of citizen culture, which ultimately promoted the popularity of Mahoraga in Song society. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Buddhism and Modernity in Asian Societies)
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Article
Decolonizing Qurʾanic Studies
Religions 2022, 13(2), 176; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13020176 - 17 Feb 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 4092
Abstract
The legacy of colonialism continues to influence the analysis of the Qurʾan in the Euro-American academy. While Muslim lands are no longer directly colonized, intellectual colonialism continues to prevail in the privileging of Eurocentric systems of knowledge production to the detriment and even [...] Read more.
The legacy of colonialism continues to influence the analysis of the Qurʾan in the Euro-American academy. While Muslim lands are no longer directly colonized, intellectual colonialism continues to prevail in the privileging of Eurocentric systems of knowledge production to the detriment and even exclusion of modes of analysis that developed in the Islamic world for over a thousand years. This form of intellectual hegemony often results in a multifaceted epistemological reductionism that denies efficacy to the analytical tools developed by the classical Islamic tradition. The presumed intellectual superiority of Euro-American analytical modes has become a constitutive and persistent feature of Qurʾanic Studies, influencing all aspects of the field. Its persistence prevents some scholars from encountering, let alone employing, the analytical tools of the classical Islamic tradition and presents obstacles to a broader discourse in the international community of Qurʾanic Studies scholars. Acknowledging the obstacles to which the coloniality of knowledge has given rise in Qurʾanic Studies can help us to develop more inclusive approaches in which multiple modes of analysis are incorporated and scholars from variegated intellectual backgrounds can engage in a more effective dialogue. Full article
Article
The Formation of Ḥaredism—Perspectives on Religion, Social Disciplining and Secularization in Modern Judaism
Religions 2022, 13(2), 175; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13020175 - 17 Feb 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 593
Abstract
This article proposes a reassessment of the development of Ḥaredism, that is, the application of strict, maximalist, commandment-oriented Judaism to increasingly large lay publics, in light of confessionalization processes in Europe. Whereas historiographical and sociological convention locates the sources of Ḥaredism within the [...] Read more.
This article proposes a reassessment of the development of Ḥaredism, that is, the application of strict, maximalist, commandment-oriented Judaism to increasingly large lay publics, in light of confessionalization processes in Europe. Whereas historiographical and sociological convention locates the sources of Ḥaredism within the development of 19th century orthodox Jewish responses to the Jewish Enlightenment (Haskalah), Reform, and secular Zionism, this article argues that Ḥaredi structures and practices preceded these movements, and, in some cases, influenced their development. The basis for the priority of Ḥaredi identities to Jewish secular identities is rooted in the social disciplining and religious engineering of Jewish societies in the early modern era, until just before the Haskalah, and beyond. This disciplining was predicated on the imposition of religious, social, and ascetic education systems on growing segments of the population. Ḥaredism as a concept and as a phenomenon emerged in 16th century Safed (Ottoman Palestine); there, previous Jewish ascetic patterns were reworked, reorganized and structured under the aegis of the print era, and became a basis for mass, super-regional education. In the 17th and 18th centuries, Ḥaredi religiosity steadily percolated through European Jewish societies by means of works of personal ethic and conduct that were written, printed, and reprinted many times, in Hebrew and Yiddish, through works that enumerate the commandments, and through popular works that make the Jewish halakhic code, Shulḥan Arukh, accessible to the masses by abridging or reworking it. Starting in the early 19th century, with the mediation of the Ḥasidic and Lithuanian religious movements, this process massively penetrated broad strata of society. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Religions and Humanities/Philosophies)
Article
“Struggle Is Our Way”: Assessing the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood’s Relationship with Violence Post-2013
Religions 2022, 13(2), 174; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13020174 - 16 Feb 2022
Viewed by 883
Abstract
This article focuses on the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood’s relationship with violence after the 2013 military coup. Following the Brotherhood’s sudden ouster from government, scholars predicted that renewed repression would lead to the radicalization of wings of the movement, particularly speculating that the [...] Read more.
This article focuses on the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood’s relationship with violence after the 2013 military coup. Following the Brotherhood’s sudden ouster from government, scholars predicted that renewed repression would lead to the radicalization of wings of the movement, particularly speculating that the youth would resort to violence as a way to respond to the regime. Indeed, calls in favor of the use of violence were recorded and associated with the activities of the New Office in Egypt during 2015, and with radicalization within the country’s prisons. Yet, this phenomenon has remained limited with reference to both time and context. Relying on interviews with members in Egypt, Turkey and the UK (2013–2021), this article critically unpacks the Brotherhood’s relationship with violence in the aftermath of the coup, investigating how the majority of Brotherhood members who subscribed to the movement’s peaceful resistance navigated nonviolent and violent strategies advocated by competing movements’ factions, as they became exposed to state-led violence. It looks at how members, male and female, endured repression, what role violence had in their resistance, if any, and how they justified it. The conclusion reflects on the role that violence plays in the Brotherhood’s strategies to reunite and rebuild after 2013. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Islamist Movements in the Middle East)
Article
Caregivers Need Care, Too: Conceptualising Spiritual Care for Migrant Caregivers-Transnational Mothers
Religions 2022, 13(2), 173; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13020173 - 16 Feb 2022
Viewed by 656
Abstract
Growing research revolving around the plight of (Philippine) migrant domestic workers is noteworthy. However, the focus is largely on their role, capacity and identity as caregivers, meaning as labour migrants and transnational mothers engaged in both paid and unpaid care work. Building on [...] Read more.
Growing research revolving around the plight of (Philippine) migrant domestic workers is noteworthy. However, the focus is largely on their role, capacity and identity as caregivers, meaning as labour migrants and transnational mothers engaged in both paid and unpaid care work. Building on the “care circulation” framework of Baldassar and Merla that conceptualises care as given and received in varying degrees by all family members across time and distance, this paper takes up the task of recognising migrant domestic workers as care receivers. In a particular way, this paper conceptualises care for migrant caregivers-transnational mothers that is based on a qualitative empirical study on the lived realities of Philippine migrant workers, who are also transnational mothers. An analysis of the participants’ narratives using the constructivist grounded theory approach reveals that their experience of God’s presence is central to how they navigate transnational mothering as labour migrants. This paper then proposes that their faith stories, significant as they are, be taken as a resource in providing them with spiritual care that takes their concerns into account. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Spiritual Care With Migrant Families)
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A New Direction in Neoplatonic Linguistics: Aristotle as an Adherent of a ‘Specialist Name-Giver’ by Ammonius of Hermeias
Religions 2022, 13(2), 172; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13020172 - 16 Feb 2022
Viewed by 516
Abstract
This paper discusses the new linguistic treatment which is formulated for the first time in Neoplatonism, when Ammonius of Hermeias tries to compromise the linguistic views of Plato and Aristotle in his commentary on Aristotle’s On Interpretation. Ammonius integrates doctrines of Plato, [...] Read more.
This paper discusses the new linguistic treatment which is formulated for the first time in Neoplatonism, when Ammonius of Hermeias tries to compromise the linguistic views of Plato and Aristotle in his commentary on Aristotle’s On Interpretation. Ammonius integrates doctrines of Plato, Aristotle and Proclus, who was his teacher in Athens. According to Ammonius, Aristotle does not contradict Plato, who believes in the ‘divine name-giver’, the one that attributed the original names to beings; on the contrary, Aristotle confirms what Socrates says in the Cratylus, where he reproaches both his interlocutors for their extreme views. Ammonius examines several aspects of language, capturing Aristotle’s non-adherence to such an extremity. As he wishes to exempt Aristotle from Proclus’ censure, his position does not rest on assumptions, but he goes so far as to investigate Aristotle’s own linguistic behavior. Ammonius manifestly opts for reasoning the reconciliation between Plato and Aristotle, but he is thus led to put the concept of a ‘specialist name-giver’ in Aristotle’s mouth, without clarifying that he is talking about mankind, excluding the divine, although Aristotle never talks about a ‘specialist’, but just about the need to create names, based on the agreement between the members of a linguistic community. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Conversion Debates in Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity)
Article
Toward the Vision of Revelation: Multicultural Worship in a Korean Context
Religions 2022, 13(2), 171; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13020171 - 16 Feb 2022
Viewed by 574
Abstract
From the end of the 1980s, when foreign workers poured into Korea, until 1995, when there was a significant increase in international marriages, a multicultural situation has slowly been developing in Korea. However, because the traditional emphasis has been on a single-race nation, [...] Read more.
From the end of the 1980s, when foreign workers poured into Korea, until 1995, when there was a significant increase in international marriages, a multicultural situation has slowly been developing in Korea. However, because the traditional emphasis has been on a single-race nation, the Korean Church has not shown much concern for the multicultural situation. Apart from some megachurches and missionary groups, the Korean Church has not been concerned with inviting immigrants and receiving them as full church members. Recently, due to a rapidly aging Korean society and the influx of immigrants entering the workforce, Korea has abruptly changed into a multicultural society. Catching up with this change, the church has started to study building a multicultural church and shifting a congregation to a multicultural church; however, almost all of these studies focus on mission strategy, leadership, or working through conflicts in the church. Currently, there are a lack of studies on worship, specifically, how to facilitate worship among people from different cultural backgrounds and how worship can draw a multicultural congregation together as one body. This chapter will study how a multicultural church can plan its Sunday public worship from a liturgical and theological perspective. Additionally, I will research how a congregation made up of people whose cultural and theological backgrounds are different can become one body in worship. For this purpose, I will examine a multicultural church in Korea, mainly focusing on how the order and elements of worship can develop understanding and unity among the people. Based on this study, I will suggest some liturgical ideas and valuable strategies for multicultural worship in Korea with a sample liturgy of multicultural worship. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Multicultural Worship: Theory and Practice)
Article
Interrupting Christian Identity Construction: Catholic Dialogue Schools and Negative Theology
Religions 2022, 13(2), 170; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13020170 - 15 Feb 2022
Viewed by 485
Abstract
In a recent article, Didier Pollefeyt reflected on the worrisome observation that young children seemingly successfully raised in the Christian faith in Catholic schools lose this faith by the end of secondary education. According to him, the combination of an all-too-positive theology and [...] Read more.
In a recent article, Didier Pollefeyt reflected on the worrisome observation that young children seemingly successfully raised in the Christian faith in Catholic schools lose this faith by the end of secondary education. According to him, the combination of an all-too-positive theology and positive psychology in primary schools (turning these into safe havens) should be complemented by theologies of vulnerability and responsibility in order to present a Christian faith that is able to assist youngsters in situations of conflict, suffering, etc. In this contribution, however, I argue that a more fundamental analysis is to be made to solve this problem, not only for pedagogical but especially for theological reasons. A theological recontextualisation in dialogue with the current context will show us that the interruption of (all too) positive theologies urges these theologies themselves to change from within, into theologies of interruption. After summarising Pollefeyt’s argument, I will analyse the current context of detraditionalisation and pluralisation, pointing to the challenges it poses to all identity construction (including Christian identity construction) that are to be interrupted by difference and otherness. Afterwards, I will shed light on the precise way in which the dynamics of negative theology foster a radical critical hermeneutical consciousness at the heart of the Christian faith, challenging any attempt at solidifying it within closed, self-securing narratives, and thus opening up these narratives to be interrupted. I will illustrate my point with a short reflection on the Gospel of Mark as a Gospel for our times. In the conclusion, I will apply the insights gained to the project of the Catholic dialogue school in order to prevent the counterproductive outcome of self-securing identities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Catholic Education in Detraditionalised Cultural Contexts)
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Article
Musical Epigraphies of Antiphon Salve Regina by Cristóbal de Morales: The Walls of the Sanctuary of Nuestra Señora del Pueyo, Villamayor de Gállego, Zaragoza
Religions 2022, 13(2), 169; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13020169 - 14 Feb 2022
Viewed by 413
Abstract
In 1990 a publication by Pedro Calahorra reported a unique musical notation of a Salve on the walls of the Sanctuary of Nuestra Señora del Pueyo in Villamayor de Gállego, Zaragoza. The contributions offered in this article have enhanced research in this area [...] Read more.
In 1990 a publication by Pedro Calahorra reported a unique musical notation of a Salve on the walls of the Sanctuary of Nuestra Señora del Pueyo in Villamayor de Gállego, Zaragoza. The contributions offered in this article have enhanced research in this area through a revised study of this musical epigraphy. The analysis of the palaeography of notation reveals the dating of the work and, therefore, a possible collation with the Spanish polyphonic sources belonging to the white mensural notation, determining that it is the Salve Regina in four by Cristóbal de Morales. This study aims to recognize musical epigraphies as historiographic-musical sources of information capable of intervening in the reconstruction of a musical past, so they must be restored, preserved, catalogued and displayed like any historical document, regardless of their physical support. The Salve Regina written on the walls of the Villamayor de Gállego sanctuary is the witness of a Christian tradition of devotion to the Virgin Mary. Within the Rite of Salve this chant was the most popular in the Iberian Peninsula during the Renaissance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion and Art in the Renaissance)
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Article
“Every Sinner Has a Future”: Religiosity, Future Orientation, Self-Control, and Marijuana Use
Religions 2022, 13(2), 168; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13020168 - 14 Feb 2022
Viewed by 562
Abstract
Based on previous research, I hypothesize that religious adolescents living in the United States are more likely to have a future orientation (i.e., they are more likely to think about the future), which in turn contributes to their greater self-control. I also hypothesize [...] Read more.
Based on previous research, I hypothesize that religious adolescents living in the United States are more likely to have a future orientation (i.e., they are more likely to think about the future), which in turn contributes to their greater self-control. I also hypothesize that a future orientation and self-control mediate the effect of religious service attendance and importance of religion on adolescent marijuana use. Based on the second wave of the National Study of Youth and Religion (NSYR), I find partial support for these hypotheses. Adolescents who believe that religion is important are more likely to think about the future, and adolescents who attend religious services frequently are less likely to use marijuana. Contrary to expectations, however, adolescents who think more about the future have lower self-control and thinking about the future and self-control do not explain the relationship between religious service attendance and marijuana use. The results also suggest that adolescents who identify as spiritual but not religious have lower self-control, and use marijuana more frequently compared to adolescents who do not identify as spiritual but not religious. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Role of Religion in Criminology)
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Article
The Soka Gakkai Practice of Buppō and the Discourse on Religion in Japan
Religions 2022, 13(2), 167; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13020167 - 14 Feb 2022
Viewed by 959
Abstract
This paper investigates the Japanese Nichiren Buddhist organization, Soka Gakkai (SG), whose members have supported the political party known as Kōmeitō, or Clean Government Party, in Japan for over half a century. SG members have often been criticized as ‘impure’ political actors, undergoing [...] Read more.
This paper investigates the Japanese Nichiren Buddhist organization, Soka Gakkai (SG), whose members have supported the political party known as Kōmeitō, or Clean Government Party, in Japan for over half a century. SG members have often been criticized as ‘impure’ political actors, undergoing frequent public questioning of their motivations for engaging in electoral politics in light of their ‘religious’ status. The paper shows how the SG members’ support for Kōmeitō at a qualitative level indeed transcends the typical demarcations of the ‘secular-religious’ binary system. However, they also simultaneously challenge the term ‘religion’ that has functioned as an ideology in the creation of statecraft and in their competition for legitimacy. The current paper is based on long-term fieldwork, extensive interviews, and doctrinal analyses that highlight how socially productive this discourse on religion has been. It also shows how a counter-episteme, rooted in Nichiren’s theory of the Risshō Ankoku Ron and the idea of kōsen-rufu, sought to bring a ‘Buddha’ consciousness to bear on individual and collective action as a model for alternative ‘politics’. Contrary to many claims, this did not entail contesting the modern institutional separation of ‘church’ and ‘state’, but is rather an attempt to find legitimacy for participating in ‘Japan-making’ in ways that cannot easily be understood or confined to explanations framed within the ‘religious-secular’ binary system. Full article
Article
A Constant Cascade: Ancient and Medieval Verse on the Four Waterways
Religions 2022, 13(2), 166; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13020166 - 14 Feb 2022
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Abstract
The literary representation of China’s great rivers has repeatedly been transformed by changes in religious belief and ritual. In the Book of Songs, rivers figure primarily as political boundaries and figures of separation. Though they may already play a role in religious [...] Read more.
The literary representation of China’s great rivers has repeatedly been transformed by changes in religious belief and ritual. In the Book of Songs, rivers figure primarily as political boundaries and figures of separation. Though they may already play a role in religious rites, their geographical identity is paramount. However, in the “Nine Songs” of the Elegies of Chu, they appear in a new guise as sites of divine encounter and shamanistic flight. Their treatment in later works may be regarded as a peculiar synthesis of these two traditions. Once the Four Waterways were designated as the object of state ritual in the Western Han, their divine status was widely accepted, along with explicitly political ramifications. For instance, the god of the Yellow River was honored as a participant in flood control and imperial governance writ large. Meanwhile, the tradition of the epideictic fu also celebrates the awesome scale of China’s waterways, reaching a culmination not long after the fall of the Han in Guo Pu’s (286–324) “Rhapsody on the Yangzi River”. However, it is noteworthy how often the fu tradition eschews material description of rivers in favor of celebrating their numinous powers and divine inhabitants. Because of this turn towards the divine in the medieval literary tradition, it is no accident that one of the most prominent subjects of fluvial verse in the Tang is not body of water at all but rather the Sky River, or Milky Way. Full article
Article
“The Tragedy of Messianic Politics”: Gustav Landauer’s Hidden Legacy in Franz Rosenzweig and Walter Benjamin
Religions 2022, 13(2), 165; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13020165 - 14 Feb 2022
Viewed by 1088
Abstract
Gustav Landauer (1870–1919) was a German-Jewish anarchist and radical thinker who was brutally murdered in the Munich Soviet Republic. Paul Mendes-Flohr has contributed enormously to the rediscovery of this long-neglected figure, who nonetheless played a crucial role in the intellectual debates of his [...] Read more.
Gustav Landauer (1870–1919) was a German-Jewish anarchist and radical thinker who was brutally murdered in the Munich Soviet Republic. Paul Mendes-Flohr has contributed enormously to the rediscovery of this long-neglected figure, who nonetheless played a crucial role in the intellectual debates of his time. Mendes-Flohr emphasizes the impact that Landauer’s death had on Martin Buber’s conception of politics at a time when Jewish revolutionaries were attempting to combine messianism and activism. In this essay, as a complement to Mendes-Flohr’s insightful work, I will attempt to show how Landauer’s legacy can be traced in two other German-Jewish thinkers, Franz Rosenzweig and Walter Benjamin, albeit with important differences. In particular, I want to illustrate how Landauer’s idea of an anarchic diaspora, as well as his idea of revolution as interruption, both based on a unique conception of time, can be seen as two powerful theologico-political devices that he used in order to dismantle a too narrow and too technical idea of politics. I will, therefore, examine how the anarchic diaspora finds its echo in Rosenzweig’s thought, and how the idea of interruption and inversion can be found in Benjamin’s conception of revolution. Full article
Article
The Construction of Sacred Landscapes and Maritime Identities in the Post-Medieval Cyclades Islands: The Case of Paros
Religions 2022, 13(2), 164; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13020164 - 14 Feb 2022
Viewed by 796
Abstract
The Cyclades islands in the South Aegean initially attracted the attention of prehistorians approaching islands as ‘laboratories’ for the study of cultural development, examining the notions of ‘isolation’ and ‘connectivity’, or, more recently, by introducing new terminologies, such as ‘seascape’ and ‘islandscape’. The [...] Read more.
The Cyclades islands in the South Aegean initially attracted the attention of prehistorians approaching islands as ‘laboratories’ for the study of cultural development, examining the notions of ‘isolation’ and ‘connectivity’, or, more recently, by introducing new terminologies, such as ‘seascape’ and ‘islandscape’. The wealth of material remains of the post-medieval era in the Cyclades islands (e.g., ecclesiastical architecture, ceramics) and the textual record available (e.g., Ottoman tax registers, travellers’ accounts) provide fascinating evidence regarding the construction of sacred landscapes, self-expression, community, and maritime identities throughout the period of Ottoman domination. The main aim of this article is to examine the historical contingencies and the distribution of a vast number of rural churches, primarily as evidence for religious expression, in order to capture island dynamics and the formation of religious and community identities, as imprinted onto the sacred landscapes of the island of Paros. By shifting our focus from the imperial Ottoman to the local Cycladic, we come to appreciate islanders as decisive agents of their maritime identities, creating rituals and sacred spaces, sometimes beyond the strict borders of institutional religion. Full article
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Article
“(Not) Her Husband”: Hosea’s God and Ricoeur’s Hermeneutics of Suspicion and Trust
Religions 2022, 13(2), 163; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13020163 - 14 Feb 2022
Viewed by 596
Abstract
Hosea’s reception history shows the existence of two distinct interpretative traditions in relation to the metaphor “God is a husband employed in the first three chapters of the book. Many commentators, reading with the grain, focus on the unfaithfulness of Israel, the [...] Read more.
Hosea’s reception history shows the existence of two distinct interpretative traditions in relation to the metaphor “God is a husband employed in the first three chapters of the book. Many commentators, reading with the grain, focus on the unfaithfulness of Israel, the justice of her punishment and the love of God. More recently, feminist scholars have highlighted the problematic nature of this metaphor since it glorifies maleness and normalises gender–based violence against women. At first glance, these two approaches seem contradictory and mutually exclusive. However, Ricoeur’s discussion of the “conflict of interpretations” provides a fruitful way forward in dealing with this contradiction. Rather than being incompatible with one another, feminist and androcentric interpretations of Hosea are a particular example of the dialectical tension and integration of the hermeneutics of trust and the hermeneutics of suspicion. Both play a vital role in the reading process. One unmasks the idols produced by the false consciousness of the ego, the other opens oneself to hearing the voice of the Sacred, which comes into the text from beyond the realms of language. Full article
Article
God’s Benevolent Love in the Time of COVID-19 Pandemic: Articulations and Experiences of Select Filipino Youth
Religions 2022, 13(2), 162; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13020162 - 14 Feb 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 893
Abstract
Current studies show that the Christian faith is still robust in Philippine society and culture despite the global health crisis. This study investigates how select Filipino Christian youths intuited God’s benevolent love in the time of “social distancing” and how their experience of [...] Read more.
Current studies show that the Christian faith is still robust in Philippine society and culture despite the global health crisis. This study investigates how select Filipino Christian youths intuited God’s benevolent love in the time of “social distancing” and how their experience of God’s benevolence helped them to carry on despite the COVID-19 pandemic. The authors administered open-ended survey questions about God’s love to select Filipino Christian youths. The responses were analyzed using thematic analysis and categorizations. Using contextual analysis, the researchers critically reflected upon the respondents’ notions of God’s love and religious experiences from the two poles of Filipino culture and Judeo-Christian tradition. According to select Filipino Christian youths, God is present and faithful. God’s “kagandahang-loob” (benevolent love) for human persons is evinced in the care and kindness of family members and neighbors. God also enables human persons to prevail over challenges in life, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. Moreover, God is the ultimate source of Christian hope. This hope is firmly anchored in Jesus Christ and the Church. Furthermore, God is forgiving and merciful. He continues to bless and give graces to human persons despite their sinfulness. These contemporary conceptualizations of God’s perfect interior goodness helped the select Filipino Christian youths cope with the COVID-19 pandemic. Full article
Article
Methodology and Mysticism: For an Integral Study of Religion
Religions 2022, 13(2), 161; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13020161 - 14 Feb 2022
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Abstract
By means of a paradigmatic investigation of the subjective, interior side of mysticism, this article intends to contribute to the methodological debate within religious studies. By tracing the possibilities of empirical access to their limit, it will be shown that the study of [...] Read more.
By means of a paradigmatic investigation of the subjective, interior side of mysticism, this article intends to contribute to the methodological debate within religious studies. By tracing the possibilities of empirical access to their limit, it will be shown that the study of religion cannot possibly do without recourse to a phenomenological mode of access of its material and without philosophical reflection on its significance if it wants to do full justice to its distinctive object of research in its most essential features. The holistic approach urged here, requires, as its constitutive basis, an integrative methodology, one that is in principle able to combine all fruitful lines of inquiry in a methodically differentiated and reflexively judicious manner and, thus, to allow each of the complementary ways of looking to have their own legitimacy respected as they unfold their specific questions. Seeking a robust support for the methodological pluralism of an integral study of religion, which will keep it from succumbing to the empiricist reductionism of the cultural studies perspective, I propose that a transcendental philosophical method should be considered as a basis. Furthermore, this empowers a critical expansion and deepening of new approaches to the phenomenology of religion and a constructive interaction with the intercultural philosophy of religion. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Philosophy of Mystical Experience)
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Article
Jawdat Saʿid and the Islamic Theology and Practice of Peace
Religions 2022, 13(2), 160; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13020160 - 11 Feb 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 763
Abstract
Among the leading Islamic thinkers and activists promoting a theology of peace based on the Qur‘anic revelation is Jawdat Saʿid. Framing his role by an analysis following the conceptualization of Shahab Ahmed the Qur‘anic context of the ideas of Saʿid are presented, and [...] Read more.
Among the leading Islamic thinkers and activists promoting a theology of peace based on the Qur‘anic revelation is Jawdat Saʿid. Framing his role by an analysis following the conceptualization of Shahab Ahmed the Qur‘anic context of the ideas of Saʿid are presented, and these ideas are contextualized within the recent Syrian revolution before it turned into civil war. Fundamental ideas of the theology of Saʿid help to explain the thoughts of a lesser known activist of nonviolent action based on a specific and revolutionary interpretation of the Qur‘an. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nonviolence and Religion)
Article
Daoism and the Operation of the Eastern Stronghold Temple in the Late Imperial China
Religions 2022, 13(2), 159; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13020159 - 11 Feb 2022
Viewed by 564
Abstract
The sacrificial ritual to Mount Yi (Yishan 沂山) or the Eastern Stronghold (Dongzhen 東鎮) was included in the traditional Chinese state ritual system to mountain and water gods, and therefore, originally, it was a Confucian ritual. The Eastern Stronghold Temple was operated by [...] Read more.
The sacrificial ritual to Mount Yi (Yishan 沂山) or the Eastern Stronghold (Dongzhen 東鎮) was included in the traditional Chinese state ritual system to mountain and water gods, and therefore, originally, it was a Confucian ritual. The Eastern Stronghold Temple was operated by officers and clerks appointed by the government. However, during the late imperial period, the situation changed and the Eastern Stronghold Temple became virtually operated by Daoism, mainly because of the government’s difficulty in maintaining the temple, the growth and power of Daoism, especially the Complete Perfection Daoism popular in northern China, and the further integration of Confucianism, Daoism, and folk beliefs. Daoist priests, who were named “temple guardians”, took responsibilities for guarding temple property, coordinating central and local government’s sacrificial rituals, administrating the daily operation of the temple, conducting reconstruction projects, and incorporating local people’s beliefs. As a result, the temple not only served as an official place of worship but also gained the functions and identity of a Daoist abbey and folk temple. As the first article discussing the Eastern Stronghold Temple in a western language, this study mainly applies the rediscovered source of stone inscriptions preserved in the temple to describe Daoism’s contributions to this religious–political–cultural symbolic site and the complicated relationship between governmental officials, Daoist priests, and local people. Full article
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