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Religions, Volume 15, Issue 2 (February 2024) – 110 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Why is the phenomenon of Christian revelation a supreme object for phenomenological inquiry? Why did the Swiss Roman Catholic theologian, Hans Urs von Balthasar, insist on the importance of approaching revelation as a phenomenon in his “aesthetic” theology? Why does the French phenomenologist, Jean-Luc Marion, devote a large part of his recent book D’Ailleurs, la révélation (2020) to themes that are ordinarily treated by trinitarian theology? This paper explores the theological rationale behind Marion’s project in his new study on revelation; it examines his novel phenomenal model of the Trinity and attempts to give an initial assessment of his phenomenological “theology” from a theological perspective. View this paper
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17 pages, 242 KiB  
Article
Back to Exile: Current Jewish Critiques of the Jewish State
by Elad Lapidot
Religions 2024, 15(2), 250; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15020250 - 19 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1585
Abstract
This article reviews recent books by Jewish thinkers that critique the idea of a Jewish state from the perspective of Jewish exile. It outlines two main approaches. The first, secular approach, rejects the Jewish state in favor of a secular state, seeing Judaism [...] Read more.
This article reviews recent books by Jewish thinkers that critique the idea of a Jewish state from the perspective of Jewish exile. It outlines two main approaches. The first, secular approach, rejects the Jewish state in favor of a secular state, seeing Judaism itself as the problem, whether arising from biblical violence or collective identity. The second, post-secular approach, rejects the Jewish state as secular, and finds resources in Jewish tradition for an alternative political vision centered on exile, understood as resistance to sovereignty and violence. This article argues that Jewish opposition to the Jewish state aims to limit sovereignty, integrate Jews into the Middle East space, and recover an exilic Jewish tradition of social ethics and pluralism. The idea of exile thus provides resources for envisioning decolonization and coexistence in Israel–Palestine. Full article
35 pages, 555 KiB  
Article
Rethinking the Taxonomic Category “Sect/School” (Zong 宗) in the Construction of Modern Buddhism in China—Focusing on Hešeri Rushan’s Eight Schools and Two Practices (“Ba-Zong-Er-Xing 八宗二行”)
by Jidong Chen
Religions 2024, 15(2), 249; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15020249 - 19 Feb 2024
Viewed by 806
Abstract
This paper explores the origin and role of the Buddhist taxonomic category “zong 宗” (“sect” or “school”) in the formation of modern Buddhism in China. It does so by examining a highly significant late-Qing Buddhist text titled Ba-zong-er-xing 八宗二行 (Eight Schools [...] Read more.
This paper explores the origin and role of the Buddhist taxonomic category “zong 宗” (“sect” or “school”) in the formation of modern Buddhism in China. It does so by examining a highly significant late-Qing Buddhist text titled Ba-zong-er-xing 八宗二行 (Eight Schools and Two Practices), which the author discovered recently in Japan. Authored by the 19th-century Manchu bannerman official Hešeri Rushan 赫舍裏如山, Eight Schools and Two Practices had a direct influence on the prominent Chinese lay Buddhist Yang Wenhui (1837–1911)’s Shi-zong-lue-shuo 十宗略说 (Brief Outline of the Ten Schools) (1913), which subsequently became the most important narrative model, known as the ten-school model, for describing Chinese Buddhist history in modern times. Historians have long recognized that Yang Wenhui’s Brief Outline of the Ten Schools (1913) was influenced by the medieval Japanese text hasshū kōyō 八宗綱要 (Essentials of the Eight Schools) composed by the 13th-century Japanese monk Gyōnen. Identifying, in detail, Hešeri Rushan’s influence on Yang Wenhui sheds light on how a narrative model for Buddhism in its national form grew out of trans-national intellectual sharing and interactions, and how Chinese Buddhism emerged from the interactive and mutually enabling Sino-Japanese discursive field of the 19th century. Gyōnen, Rushan, and Yang Wenhui all used the category zong, referring to both doctrine and school/sect, to organize narratives of Buddhist history. Their uses were, however, different. Gyōnen’s conception of zong (shū in Japanese) was fixed and exclusive, whereas zong for Rushan and Yang meant more of a mobile, nonexclusive identity. Without knowledge of Japanese Buddhism, Rushan made creative use of zong for describing the history and current condition of Chinese Buddhism, thereby superseding the traditional framework of lineage, doctrine, and precept, or zong 宗, jiao 教, lu 律. Rushan’s zong provided the necessary prerequisite knowledge for Yang Wenhui to understand Gyōnen’s theories, which he studied for constructing his own historical narrative and vision for modern Buddhism. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion, Liberalism and the Nation in East Asia)
12 pages, 251 KiB  
Article
A Critical Evaluation of the Impact of Religious Belief (Christianity) within Post-Colonial African Burial Rites: A South African Perspective
by Baloyi Magezi Elijah
Religions 2024, 15(2), 248; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15020248 - 19 Feb 2024
Viewed by 811
Abstract
The mystery of death, dying and funerals has been a universal phenomenon in the lives of almost all human beings, from humanity’s fall from grace to today. Death visits every culture, clan and family, and yet it continues to be a terrifying, unexpected [...] Read more.
The mystery of death, dying and funerals has been a universal phenomenon in the lives of almost all human beings, from humanity’s fall from grace to today. Death visits every culture, clan and family, and yet it continues to be a terrifying, unexpected stranger and the most feared enemy of human beings. People from different cultures use different coping mechanisms to fight off the pain of death, but for some people in the Collins Chabane Municipality, a particular Christian religious belief has been shown to be the most reliable asset during the battle. It is questionable whether alternative traditions besides Christianity can compete with Christianity in bringing healing from the pain of death. Various methods of healing, like African grief therapy and psychological healing, are offered to bereaved family members after death and even after burial, but are they enough for Africans to return to their normal lives? This article discusses why (Christian) religious belief is essential during and after the burial of a loved one. This is carried out within the context of colonialism having eroded all African traditions, creating a space for Christianity alone to be a remedy in death and burying. Full article
31 pages, 615 KiB  
Article
The Promotion of Traditional Values through Films and Television Programmes: The Moscow Patriarchate and the Orthodox Encyclopaedia Project (2005–2022)
by Marianna Napolitano
Religions 2024, 15(2), 247; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15020247 - 18 Feb 2024
Viewed by 839
Abstract
On 26 May 2011, the Russian People’s World Council issued a document entitled The Basic Values: The Fundaments of National Unity. The document, prepared by the Synodal Department for Church–Society Cooperation, provided a catalogue of 17 traditional values whose general framework was [...] Read more.
On 26 May 2011, the Russian People’s World Council issued a document entitled The Basic Values: The Fundaments of National Unity. The document, prepared by the Synodal Department for Church–Society Cooperation, provided a catalogue of 17 traditional values whose general framework was constituted by a combination of freedom, unity, patriotism, family, and devotion. At that time, the Moscow Patriarchate considered religious faith to be the foundation of traditional values and it continues to do so. The defence and promotion of traditional Russian spiritual and moral values were also central in the Russian National Security Strategy (2015); this was the case in the updated version of this document as well, put out in July 2021. Furthermore, they have been the core of the Moscow Patriarchate’s participation in the Council of Europe and of Patriarch Kirill’s speeches about the war in Ukraine. Finally, on 9 November 2022, The Foundations Of State Policy For The Preservation Of Spiritual And Moral Values was approved. This framework permits us to understand the strict interplay between the Church and the State in the Russian Federation and to see why it is important to refer to the concept of post-secularism when talking about the role of religion in post-Soviet Russia. Proceeding from the Abstract, the present paper aims to analyse this interplay in a specific sector of visual culture: the cinema and television industries. Manuel Castells highlighted the relevance of cultural values in the age of information and the connection between the values and social mobilization that follows it. He pointed out that the Internet has become a way to render this connection predominant, inevitably leading to the development of social movements and networks that have a religious basis. This is unquestionably true; surveys conducted by the Russian Public Opinion Research Center (OJSC «VCIOM») and by Nevafilm Research confirm that a high percentage of Russians watch films not only at the cinema or on television (especially the older generations) but also on the Internet (as far as the younger generations are concerned). The importance of this market is also confirmed by the success of the cinema and TV distributor Orthodox Encyclopaedia (2005); in the words of the philosopher Sergei Kravets, who, commenting on it during an interview published in 2006 by the website Sedmits.ru, declared that the expression “orthodox cinema” can be understood as a way to express Russian culture. He asserts that “the fact that today Orthodox films have begun to appear on the central TV channels testifies that Russian film producers and viewers have apparently begun to be aware of themselves as Orthodox, to feel that they are bearers of a special Orthodox culture. [..]”. At the same time, consideration should be given to the importance of the Russian Orthodox Church and the Minister of Culture’s condemnation of films such as Matilda or Monastery. In addition, it is important to consider that, according to a survey conducted in 2022 by the Levada Center, Russian people consider television the most reliable source of information (54%). The long-term implications of this tendency may have very important effects, not only in terms of its objectives but also in terms of the consideration that, after the beginning of the war, many Western film distributors withdrew their licenses from Russia. This paper will analyse “the effect of religion on the institutional system, the regulatory environment of the media and the public sphere” by studying the features of films and TV programs distributed by Orthodox Encyclopaedia, their relations with traditional values promoted both by the Kremlin and the Church, how these have contributed to strengthening the interplay between the Minister of Culture and the Moscow Patriarchate, and the impact this process has had on Russian society and Russia’s relations with the European and Western World in the 2005–2022 period. A list of the films and TV programs being discussed will be provided, and then statements about the project and reviews of the serials and films will be analysed. The analysis will be conducted mainly through the official sites of the Russian Orthodox Church and the Kremlin and by browsing the Integrum database. Full article
18 pages, 9789 KiB  
Article
The Sacred Building and the City: Decoding the Formal Interface between Public Space and Community
by João Silva Leite, Sérgio Fernandes and Carlos Dias Coelho
Religions 2024, 15(2), 246; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15020246 - 18 Feb 2024
Viewed by 720
Abstract
The reflection on sacred places continues to assume significant relevance today in urban space production. The public value of sacred buildings has consolidated over time an aggregating sense of community, representing spaces for meeting and sharing. Their historical relevance as spaces for meditation [...] Read more.
The reflection on sacred places continues to assume significant relevance today in urban space production. The public value of sacred buildings has consolidated over time an aggregating sense of community, representing spaces for meeting and sharing. Their historical relevance as spaces for meditation represents for mankind places of personal reflection, while they have always played an important role in the city and in its symbolic and spatial structure. Thus, starting from the hypothesis that the sacred space is affirmed as an interface, because it welcomes the individual and serves the community, we examine the architectural features that enhance this ambivalence, exposing transition systems between private and collective spaces, seeking to systematize essential composition matrices for new urban spaces for public use. Assuming Lisbon as a framework, this article proposes a comparative reading between two paradigmatic buildings—Sagrado Coração de Jesus Church and the New Mosque of Lisbon—with similar goals according to the relationship between architecture, place sacrality, and the urban public space. Methodologically, drawing is used as an interpretative tool and, through formal decomposition, this article tries to demonstrate that these buildings are the result of a reflection deeply determined by the value of the place’s identity in the city’s public space system. According to these case studies, sacred buildings are conceived based on formal and spatial links that are rooted in Lisbon’s urban layout. It is sacred buildings that are at the origin of urban places for public use. Each one of these buildings share an idea of architecture with an urban and public role which integrates the objects with the shape of the city and contradicts the tendency for the dissociation between urban elements. In a way, they can be considered paradigmatic examples of architecture with an urban vocation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion, Public Space and Society)
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21 pages, 679 KiB  
Article
Sacramentality, a Necessary and Permanent Dimension of the Church and Its Implications for Ecumenical Dialogue
by Rafael Vázquez Jiménez
Religions 2024, 15(2), 245; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15020245 - 18 Feb 2024
Viewed by 659
Abstract
On the 60th anniversary of the celebration of the Second Vatican Council, we would like to take up again a statement from the constitution Lumen gentium, which was a source of controversy from the moment it was proposed in the schema De Ecclesia [...] Read more.
On the 60th anniversary of the celebration of the Second Vatican Council, we would like to take up again a statement from the constitution Lumen gentium, which was a source of controversy from the moment it was proposed in the schema De Ecclesia during the Council: «The Church is in Christ, like a sacrament, a sign and instrument of intimate union with God and of the unity of the entire humankind» (Lumen gentium, 1). In this article, we want to take up the concept of the Church as a sacrament, which emerged from the conciliar constitution on the Church, as a first step, although the conception of the Church as a sacrament is found in ecclesiology before the Second Vatican Council. Second, we will focus on the reception of this concept and its development after the Council. We will conclude with a third part devoted to its implications for ecumenical dialogue and the difficulties and possibilities for convergence it offers, with particular reference to the document of the Faith and Order Commission: The Church towards a Common Vision (2013). Full article
14 pages, 760 KiB  
Article
The Music of the Silent Exodus: Nunchi Bwa-ing and Christian Musicking in a Second-Generation Asian American Church
by Kathryn Minyoung Cooke
Religions 2024, 15(2), 244; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15020244 - 18 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1278
Abstract
In 1996, Helen Lee dubbed the departure of second-generation Asian Americans from the non-English-speaking immigrant churches that they were raised in as the “silent exodus”. This nationwide phenomenon was taking place largely because first-generation churches failed to provide the second generation with culturally [...] Read more.
In 1996, Helen Lee dubbed the departure of second-generation Asian Americans from the non-English-speaking immigrant churches that they were raised in as the “silent exodus”. This nationwide phenomenon was taking place largely because first-generation churches failed to provide the second generation with culturally relevant care that would enrich their ethnic, national, and spiritual identities. Glory, the church of focus in this study, was founded by and is home to many silent exiles. In hopes of being an enriching church for second-generation Asian Americans, pastoral staff and leaders have created spaces within Glory for racial identity and faith to be in conversation with one another. However, in regard to the music of the church, they were stumped on what could be done to make it uniquely and proudly Asian American. This conundrum inspired a key question in this study: What is distinct about the way that Asian Americans worship God through music? This study argues that the worship music at Glory Church is distinctly Asian American not by what is sonically perceived, but rather by what is physically performed and collectively experienced. The Korean-English, or Konglish, term nunchi bwa-ing (눈치 봐-ing) is utilized as a keyword to describes Christian musicking in a multilingual setting and foregrounds the Korean/Asian American worshiping body. This study concludes by looking forward and arguing that Asian Americans ought to amplify their worship music to the larger Contemporary Worship Music scene as it has the potential to be a powerful site of intergenerational healing. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Multilingualism in Religious Musical Practice)
14 pages, 197 KiB  
Article
The Power of Preaching and Deliberative Dialogue to Catalyze Congregational Social Action: A Case Study from “The Purple Zone”
by Leah D. Schade
Religions 2024, 15(2), 243; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15020243 - 18 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1203
Abstract
This article explores different ways that preachers and congregations have used the sermon-dialogue-sermon process to address social issues in their churches and engage their local community. I begin with a brief review of the homiletic theory behind the emergence of dialogical preaching, including [...] Read more.
This article explores different ways that preachers and congregations have used the sermon-dialogue-sermon process to address social issues in their churches and engage their local community. I begin with a brief review of the homiletic theory behind the emergence of dialogical preaching, including the ways I have integrated this theory into my own method of the sermon-dialogue-sermon (SDS) process. I then explain the work I have performed training preachers and congregations in the SDS method. This article then focuses on the Rev. Dr. Stephanie Moon, a pastor in Kentucky who undertook the SDS process with her congregation, North Middletown Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), in Middletown, Kentucky. Their work allows for a longitudinal case study of the ways in which the SDS process can assist a congregation in engaging and strengthening democratic practices through deliberation and community outreach. The article concludes with a reflection on the implications of this process for a congregation’s engagement with social issues as well as recommendations for further research and analysis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Homiletical Theory and Praxis)
26 pages, 3654 KiB  
Article
The Experimentation of the Sacred in al-Ḥakam II’s Maqṣūra: An Architecture Based on Emotions
by Belén Cuenca-Abellán
Religions 2024, 15(2), 242; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15020242 - 18 Feb 2024
Viewed by 679
Abstract
The present work will try to delve into some emotional aspects expressed by the community of believers about a section of the Mosque of Córdoba: the maqsūra of al-Ḥakam II. It is important to observe this maqsūra from the point of view of [...] Read more.
The present work will try to delve into some emotional aspects expressed by the community of believers about a section of the Mosque of Córdoba: the maqsūra of al-Ḥakam II. It is important to observe this maqsūra from the point of view of the emotions that it generates during its use as an active sacred space. The maqṣūra of al-Ḥakam II is a space for communication between the political and religious powers within the religious community who attended the Prayer on Friday (Ṣalat al-Jumu’a). This article reviews and expands some hypotheses raised by Professor Ruiz Souza in 2001, where he pointed out the importance of the point of view of the community of worshippers to understand the main functions of the maqṣūra. The worshippers attended the ceremonial and could observe part of the maqṣūra from the shadows of the naves of the old mosque. What did they perceive from a space that was hidden from their gaze? What was this luminous place where the Prince of Believers was located, trying to make them feel? To answer these questions, new methodologies from the History of Art have been used, combined with Anthropology of Religion, the Archeology of Emotions, Color Symbology, Neuroscience and Psychology. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sacred Space and Religious Art)
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18 pages, 340 KiB  
Article
Hybrid Social Spaces and the Individualisation of Religious Experience in the Global North: Spatial Aspects of Religiosity in Postmodern Society
by Bulcsu Bognár
Religions 2024, 15(2), 241; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15020241 - 17 Feb 2024
Viewed by 727
Abstract
This paper interprets the changing traits of religiosity in modern and postmodern societies from the perspective of spatial turn. The analysis examines the impact of social experience and action on spatial structure and how changes in spatial structure have influenced individual actions and [...] Read more.
This paper interprets the changing traits of religiosity in modern and postmodern societies from the perspective of spatial turn. The analysis examines the impact of social experience and action on spatial structure and how changes in spatial structure have influenced individual actions and experiences over the past decade, with a specific emphasis on the relationship to transcendence. The analysis explores the impact of the interaction of social spaces and actions on religiosity, in order to provide new insights into the interpretation of religious phenomena through a novel approach to the study of religion. It focuses on the consequences of individualisation, hybridisation, and globalisation, and analyses how these transformations are shaping contemporary religiosity in the global north. The paper argues that spatial structural changes are reinforcing more individualised forms of religiosity, often separated from traditional institutionalised religiosity. This gives greater scope to subject-organised ‘patchwork religiosity’, which inevitably reinforces a new kind of religious syncretism. The reflection unravels the spatial aspects of this transformation in a novel way. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Contemporary Religion, Media and Popular Culture)
12 pages, 554 KiB  
Article
Wise Preaching: Furthering the Wisdom Homiletics Conversation in Both Model and Method
by Rob O’Lynn
Religions 2024, 15(2), 240; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15020240 - 17 Feb 2024
Viewed by 716
Abstract
This essay will contribute to the emerging conversation related to “wisdom homiletics”, both in method and in content. “Wisdom homiletics”, as a homiletic–theological model that embodies the role of the Hebrew sage, resembles the wise teacher who seeks a more practical approach to [...] Read more.
This essay will contribute to the emerging conversation related to “wisdom homiletics”, both in method and in content. “Wisdom homiletics”, as a homiletic–theological model that embodies the role of the Hebrew sage, resembles the wise teacher who seeks a more practical approach to biblical discipleship. This essay will begin with a discussion of the emerging conversation related to “wisdom homiletics” in order to establish the tone for the remainder of the essay. Next, a rhetorical and ethical introduction to the Hebrew wisdom literature will be offered. This will establish the role of “sage” as a significant member of the Israelite and Jewish political and religious system, following the scholarship of Joseph Blenkinsopp, Roland Murphy, and Mark Sneed. Then, the essay will offer an assessment of Robert Stephen Reid’s, Lisa Washington Lamb’s, and Alyce McKenzie’s different homiletical concepts of the “sage” to transition to laying a foundation for “wisdom homiletics” as both a model of and method for preaching. The essay will conclude with a sermon précis drawn from a core Wisdom literature passage (Eccl 12:1–8) and presented in the method articulated in this essay. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Homiletical Theory and Praxis)
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16 pages, 240 KiB  
Article
Young People Living with HIV in Zimbabwe Use the Conventional, Religious, and Traditional Health Systems in Parallel: Findings from a Mixed Methods Study
by Ursula Wüthrich-Grossenbacher
Religions 2024, 15(2), 239; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15020239 - 17 Feb 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 647
Abstract
Epidemiologists and other health practitioners increasingly recognize religion as a social determinant of health. This paper is part of a bigger study that examines how religion and tradition influence the health of young people living with HIV in a highly religious society like [...] Read more.
Epidemiologists and other health practitioners increasingly recognize religion as a social determinant of health. This paper is part of a bigger study that examines how religion and tradition influence the health of young people living with HIV in a highly religious society like Zimbabwe. An analysis of 67 interviews and 10 focus group discussions with a phenomenological approach revealed that religious and traditional beliefs influenced the meaning and perception of HIV and the choice of treatment. Study participants consulted religious, traditional, and conventional health practitioners in parallel. Together the three health systems potentially provide a holistic approach that responds to the social, spiritual, psychological, and physical needs of people living with HIV. However, the findings point to a lack of cooperation between stakeholders of the three health systems that led to conflicting approaches that compromised the physical and mental health of study participants. Thus, the findings endorse the importance of strengthening the efforts of everyone involved in HIV care to reach out to other stakeholders and to negotiate a way of collaboration that mitigates negative consequences of disparities and seeks to endorse what is life affirming and leads towards the end of the AIDS pandemic by 2030. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Religions and Health/Psychology/Social Sciences)
11 pages, 260 KiB  
Article
Comparative Methods for Teaching Contemporary and Ancient Saints
by Todd E. French and Mohammed Forero Bucheli
Religions 2024, 15(2), 238; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15020238 - 17 Feb 2024
Viewed by 663
Abstract
This paper argues that a comparative study of saints is not only a useful classroom tool for historians and religionists, but an exceptionally powerful locus of pedagogical insight and cultural understanding. By reframing contemporary consumptive patterns, media representations, and power discourses as religious [...] Read more.
This paper argues that a comparative study of saints is not only a useful classroom tool for historians and religionists, but an exceptionally powerful locus of pedagogical insight and cultural understanding. By reframing contemporary consumptive patterns, media representations, and power discourses as religious vectors of saintliness, the professor has an opportunity to explore and assess cultural values, rituals, beliefs, worldviews, communities, traditions, and meaning making in the contemporary college student’s world. By acknowledging the dangers and possibilities of the category of saint while reframing the ascetical impact on developing subjectivities, we propose six pedagogical examples of how this might best be deployed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Comparative Hagiology: Issues in Pedagogy)
15 pages, 1374 KiB  
Article
Mapping the Jews in the Byzantine Hymnography: The Triodion
by Alexandru Ioniță
Religions 2024, 15(2), 237; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15020237 - 16 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1093
Abstract
The Byzantine hymnography was considered a “stumbling stone” of the Jewish–Orthodox Christian dialogue because of the harsh anti-Jewish elements kept in the modern liturgical texts without any revision. This article analyses the often-mentioned texts of the Triodion—the liturgical period before Pascha—using a quantitative [...] Read more.
The Byzantine hymnography was considered a “stumbling stone” of the Jewish–Orthodox Christian dialogue because of the harsh anti-Jewish elements kept in the modern liturgical texts without any revision. This article analyses the often-mentioned texts of the Triodion—the liturgical period before Pascha—using a quantitative approach. The starting point of this research states that we must keep in mind the broader view on the state of the hymnography without labelling the entire Byzantine hymnography as anti-Jewish by looking at some concrete stanzas from Holy Week services. The results demonstrate that we can speak only about very few hymnographical texts containing anti-Jewish elements compared to the entire Triodion. This approach helps us in the Jewish–Christian debates to focus on what exactly are we speaking about, and what precisely those texts are saying. After a short analysis of the content of selected hymns, I propose three concrete categories of hymns that could be more easily approached by either excluding them or transforming them through translation into modern languages. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Post-Holocaust Theologies of Jews and Judaism)
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13 pages, 620 KiB  
Article
The Establishment and Dissolution of the Subbotnik Communities of Petrovka as a Case Study Reflecting Shifts in Russian Geopolitical Interests toward Raskol’nik Religious Settlements in Southern Caucasus, 1909–1915
by Soli Shahvar
Religions 2024, 15(2), 236; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15020236 - 16 Feb 2024
Viewed by 521
Abstract
Toward the middle of the nineteenth century, a large Subbotnik community established itself in the village of Privol’noe in the Lankaran district of Baku province in Southern Caucasus. By early 1909, however, the names of two small Subbotnik communities—both in the settlement of [...] Read more.
Toward the middle of the nineteenth century, a large Subbotnik community established itself in the village of Privol’noe in the Lankaran district of Baku province in Southern Caucasus. By early 1909, however, the names of two small Subbotnik communities—both in the settlement of Petrovka, near Privol’noe—began to appear in the documents of the Baku province administration. While the Privol’noe community has been thoroughly studied, those of Petrovka remain largely unexplored. At their peak, Petrovka’s two Subbotnik communities were divided, belonging to different Jewish streams, and segregated from each other. Based mainly on documents from the National Historical Archives of the Republic of Azerbaijan (NAHARA), this study uncovers these communities and compares their religious life with each other. It does so in the context of the Russo-Ottoman and Irano-Russian geopolitical rivalries in Southern Caucasus. The study explains how and which aspects of this struggle led Russia to originally establish communities like Petrovka at the start of the examined period. It further explores why Russia later lost interest in supporting the Petrovka communities by the end of said period. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Religions and Humanities/Philosophies)
22 pages, 545 KiB  
Article
On Proofs for the Existence of God: Aristotle, Avicenna, and Thomas Aquinas
by Xin Liu
Religions 2024, 15(2), 235; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15020235 - 16 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1258
Abstract
In this paper, I examine Aristotle’s cosmological proof of God’s existence, Avicenna’s metaphysical proof, and Thomas Aquinas’s five-way proof. By comparing these proofs, I argue that philosophers and theologians take different approaches to proving God’s existence not only because they follow different epistemological [...] Read more.
In this paper, I examine Aristotle’s cosmological proof of God’s existence, Avicenna’s metaphysical proof, and Thomas Aquinas’s five-way proof. By comparing these proofs, I argue that philosophers and theologians take different approaches to proving God’s existence not only because they follow different epistemological principles but, more fundamentally, because they construct different metaphysical frameworks in which God as the Supreme Being plays different roles and is thus clarified differently. The proof of God’s existence is also of theological significance. This paper makes an original contribution by showing that, despite Avicenna’s harsh criticism, Aquinas returns to Aristotelian cosmological proof. Moreover, Aquinas goes beyond Aristotle by identifying God not only as the First Mover but also as the Creator. The theme of God’s existence bridges philosophy and theology, and it also clearly reflects the interplay and mutual influence of Greek philosophy, Arabic Aristotelianism, and Latin Scholastics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Medieval Theology and Philosophy from a Cross-Cultural Perspective)
14 pages, 256 KiB  
Article
Researching Artificial Intelligence Applications in Evangelical and Pentecostal/Charismatic Churches: Purity, Bible, and Mission as Driving Forces
by Alexandra La Cruz and Fernando Mora
Religions 2024, 15(2), 234; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15020234 - 16 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1152
Abstract
We explore in this article how Evangelical and Pentecostal/Charismatic Churches (EPCCs) view Artificial Intelligence (AI), and how they use it, either intentionally or indirectly. Considering first the digital habitus in which EPCCs are immersed, we have documented and analyzed three sample cases showing [...] Read more.
We explore in this article how Evangelical and Pentecostal/Charismatic Churches (EPCCs) view Artificial Intelligence (AI), and how they use it, either intentionally or indirectly. Considering first the digital habitus in which EPCCs are immersed, we have documented and analyzed three sample cases showing how EPCCs use advanced AI tools to improve the sanctification process for believers; how the Bible can be translated, distributed, and its reading can be fostered around the world, using machine intelligence; and how a spiritual revival among EPCCs can spread rapidly through AI-mediated algorithms. We discuss the implications of these developments and conclude finally with some ideas about how EPCCs should engage AI applications in the future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rethinking Digital Religion, AI and Culture)
12 pages, 225 KiB  
Article
Preaching as Protest against the Apophatic Silencing of God’s People
by Will Willimon
Religions 2024, 15(2), 233; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15020233 - 16 Feb 2024
Viewed by 583
Abstract
Throughout church history, there have been those who stressed the limits of our ability to speak with confidence about God and extolled the nobility of silence in the face of God’s ineffability. Dionysius the Areopagite famously asserted, “With regard to the divine, negations [...] Read more.
Throughout church history, there have been those who stressed the limits of our ability to speak with confidence about God and extolled the nobility of silence in the face of God’s ineffability. Dionysius the Areopagite famously asserted, “With regard to the divine, negations are true, whereas affirmations are inadequate”. Apophatic silence is presented as respectful of the mysterious otherness of God. Christian preaching is a practice that refutes all attempts at negative, apophatic theology. Every sermon participates in the wonder of the uniquely Jewish and Christian claim that God not only speaks but also invites, even commands, humanity to speak about God as well. Christian preaching is suspicious of any attempt to sentimentalize silence in the name of humble acknowledgement of human limitations to speak truthfully about God. Preaching therefore requires the courage to speak up and speak out with the God who, in Jesus Christ, has spoken to us. The silencing of the voices of women, persons of color, and others who claim to know that God is with them is an aspect of neocolonial oppression that preaching cannot abide. Preaching is a protest against all those who would tell the voiceless that some things are better left unsaid. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Homiletical Theory and Praxis)
10 pages, 289 KiB  
Article
Missionary’s Envision of Children in Late Qing China: Children’s Education and the Construction of Christian Discourse in Child’s Paper
by Ziqi Huang, Haixia Zhao and Fan Yang
Religions 2024, 15(2), 232; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15020232 - 16 Feb 2024
Viewed by 600
Abstract
In the late Qing Dynasty, religious periodicals by Western missionaries were made legal in China, and subsequently became an important manner of their missionary cause. Among them, Child’s Paper 小孩月报 (1875–1881) by John Marshall Willoughby Farnham, a Protestant missionary from the United States, [...] Read more.
In the late Qing Dynasty, religious periodicals by Western missionaries were made legal in China, and subsequently became an important manner of their missionary cause. Among them, Child’s Paper 小孩月报 (1875–1881) by John Marshall Willoughby Farnham, a Protestant missionary from the United States, endeavoured to convert child readers by carrying children’s stories of moral and emotional education. By concentrating on the educational elements of Child’s Paper, this article inspects how conversion was achieved via the intertextual interpretation of Christian doctrines within these educational elements. Specifically, how the image of little Christians and urchins, respectively, represents salvation and redemption in Christian morals. This article holds that the missionaries’ stress on the authority of Christian discourse in the education of Chinese children makes evident an increasing emphasis on the reformative effects of Christianity on Chinese children. Moreover, the conversion-education efforts by missionaries also construed helping Chinese children gain a cross-cultural perspective on Western religion, and arguably inspired later Chinese intellectuals’ to create newspapers for the purpose of the pre-primary education of Chinese children. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Child and Adolescent Spirituality/Religiosity and Religious Education)
18 pages, 312 KiB  
Article
Climate Migration in Post-Apocalyptic Narratives on the Mainstream Screen
by Linda Koncz and Alex Villas Boas
Religions 2024, 15(2), 231; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15020231 - 16 Feb 2024
Viewed by 938
Abstract
Through the perspective of ‘catastrophising thought’, this work undertakes a comparative analysis of five post-apocalyptic films dealing with climate migration: Waterworld, Snowpiercer, Interstellar, Mad Max: Fury Road and Mortal Engines in order to identify recurring themes within their dystopian societies. These [...] Read more.
Through the perspective of ‘catastrophising thought’, this work undertakes a comparative analysis of five post-apocalyptic films dealing with climate migration: Waterworld, Snowpiercer, Interstellar, Mad Max: Fury Road and Mortal Engines in order to identify recurring themes within their dystopian societies. These narratives share an apocalyptic literary approach, intertwining biblical elements to draw a subjectivity that enables us to see the end of our known world order simultaneously as a new beginning. In the plots, technological development is related to the disrespect of ecological harmony and, therefore, extreme climate conditions. The changes in the films’ narratives lead to a new kind of spirituality and a new concept of home. This article concludes by evaluating how these findings relate to the real, contemporary world. Full article
15 pages, 429 KiB  
Article
Propagating the Rosary in the Early Qing—A Case Study of del Rosario’s Comprehensive Manuscript
by Hongfan Yang
Religions 2024, 15(2), 230; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15020230 - 16 Feb 2024
Viewed by 840
Abstract
Studies on the Rosary in the late Ming and early Qing usually focus on works written by Jesuits and mostly stem from an artistic aspect. This article, however, shifts the focus to The True Peace of Humankind, a manuscript written by the [...] Read more.
Studies on the Rosary in the late Ming and early Qing usually focus on works written by Jesuits and mostly stem from an artistic aspect. This article, however, shifts the focus to The True Peace of Humankind, a manuscript written by the Dominican missionary Arcadio del Rosario in the seventeenth century, the first comprehensive book on the Rosary in Chinese. It first summarizes the early-stage propagation of the Rosary in China by the Jesuits and then examines the structure and content of The True Peace of Humankind. It is noteworthy that the manuscript repeatedly uses an analogy with flowers to highlight Mary’s intercession. Dating back to the Catholic tradition in Europe, the propagation of the Rosary through analogy with flowers resembles the propagation of reciting Buddhist prayers in Chinese society. This article applies contextual studies to explore two main questions: how is del Rosario’s manuscript different from the previous texts on the Rosary written by the Jesuits? What is the significance of the manuscript in the context of the Chinese Rites Controversy? Full article
12 pages, 387 KiB  
Article
The River God Cult and the Reshaping of Political Authority—Reading Inscriptions from the Hezhong Area in Tang China
by Aihua Jiang and Longxiang Ma
Religions 2024, 15(2), 229; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15020229 - 16 Feb 2024
Viewed by 560
Abstract
The River God cult held a significant place in state rituals in imperial China. While scholars have primarily focused on the evolution of the River God sacrificial system, with its interplay of the official granting of noble titles and popular beliefs, this paper [...] Read more.
The River God cult held a significant place in state rituals in imperial China. While scholars have primarily focused on the evolution of the River God sacrificial system, with its interplay of the official granting of noble titles and popular beliefs, this paper offers a further examination of the River God cult. By reading the “Stele of the (Shrine) Temple for the River God honored as the Duke of Numinous Source” (hedushen lingyuangong cimiao bei 河瀆神靈源公祠廟碑), created in the Tang Dynasty, this study explores the interactive relationship between the River God cult and state power in the Hezhong 河中area during that time period. We contend that the traditional River God cult and the participation of both officials and civilians in common rituals throughout past dynasties not only created a concentration of historical memories and reverent emotions but also established a strong social foundation for belief in the River God within the Hezhong region. This cult attracted both state endorsement and popular support. Thus, Guo Ziyi 郭子儀 (697–781), a famous military general in the Tang Dynasty, sought to renovate a temple and erect a monument for the River God. This monument was to serve as a cultural symbol that would strengthen the connection between the state and the local community, and hence ease the social tensions in the Hezhong area after the An Lushan Rebellion. In sum, such a construction would enhance the psychological and cultural identity of the people with both the mandate of heaven and the Tang imperial authority. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The History of Religions in China: The Rise, Fall, and Return)
20 pages, 412 KiB  
Article
A Legacy Lost to the Reformed Imagination: Luther and Confessional Lutheranism on the Extent of the Atonement
by Paul Anthony Hartog
Religions 2024, 15(2), 228; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15020228 - 16 Feb 2024
Viewed by 728
Abstract
The “Young, Restless, Reformed” movement has sought to establish itself upon reformational foundations rooted within the sixteenth century. The new movement’s undertaking, however, has virtually ignored the differences between its own adherence to “limited atonement” and the developed theology of Martin Luther. Even [...] Read more.
The “Young, Restless, Reformed” movement has sought to establish itself upon reformational foundations rooted within the sixteenth century. The new movement’s undertaking, however, has virtually ignored the differences between its own adherence to “limited atonement” and the developed theology of Martin Luther. Even on an academic level, the legacy of gratia universalis ensconced within confessional Lutheranism has been largely lost to the Reformed imagination. This article focuses upon relevant materials in Luther’s Lectures on Galatians (1531/1535) and his Sermon on John 1:29 (1537), as well as the pertinent statements found within early Lutheran confessions. What emerges is a Lutheran tradition that espoused both “unconditional election” and a robust form of “unlimited atonement,” a divine provision of redemption and satisfaction for all. In Lutheran theology, this provision in Christ extra nos serves as an objective foundation for confident faith. As contemporary Reformed scholars increasingly delve into the diversity of the Reformed tradition within early modernity, the distinctive Lutheran voice is another legacy worth remembering. Full article
13 pages, 552 KiB  
Article
A Relational-Cultural Approach to Examining Concealment among Latter-Day Saint Sexual Minorities
by Samuel J. Skidmore, Sydney A. Sorrell and Kyrstin Lake
Religions 2024, 15(2), 227; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15020227 - 16 Feb 2024
Viewed by 596
Abstract
Sexual minorities often conceal their sexual identity from others to avoid distal stressors. Such concealment efforts occur more frequently among sexual minorities in religious settings where rejection and discrimination are more likely. Using a sample of 392 Latter-day Saint (“Mormon”) sexual minorities, we [...] Read more.
Sexual minorities often conceal their sexual identity from others to avoid distal stressors. Such concealment efforts occur more frequently among sexual minorities in religious settings where rejection and discrimination are more likely. Using a sample of 392 Latter-day Saint (“Mormon”) sexual minorities, we assess (a) the effect of religious affiliation on concealment efforts, (b) the relationship between social support, authenticity, and religious commitment on concealment, and (c) the moderating effect of authenticity on religious commitment and concealment. Multi-level model analyses revealed that religious affiliation alone accounted for over half (51.7%) of the variation in concealment efforts for Latter-day Saint sexual minorities. Social support directly was related to less concealment, whereas religious commitment was related to more concealment, with authenticity moderating the impact of religious commitment on concealment efforts. The present study provides insight into how religious sexual minorities may approach relationships and inadvertently wound their chances to connect with others. Full article
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18 pages, 845 KiB  
Article
Spiritual Exercises in the Rinzai Zen Tradition: Imminence and Disruption in Ikkyū Sōjun and Hakuin Ekaku
by Kevin Taylor and Eli Kramer
Religions 2024, 15(2), 226; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15020226 - 16 Feb 2024
Viewed by 716
Abstract
In this paper, we will present Rinzai practices from Zen Masters Ikkyū Sōjun (一休宗純, 1394–1481) and Hakuin Ekaku (白隠 慧鶴, 1686–1769) as offering a distinctive kind of spiritual exercise: disruptive reorientation to transcendence (enlightenment) through immanence (a return to the world in all [...] Read more.
In this paper, we will present Rinzai practices from Zen Masters Ikkyū Sōjun (一休宗純, 1394–1481) and Hakuin Ekaku (白隠 慧鶴, 1686–1769) as offering a distinctive kind of spiritual exercise: disruptive reorientation to transcendence (enlightenment) through immanence (a return to the world in all its ugly distractions, beauty, and insight). This paper seeks to explore Hadot’s philosophy as a way of life (PWL) through Rinzai Zen’s unique and often bizarre spiritual exercises. In so doing, this paper hopes to explore new grounds for PWL spiritual exercises in the eccentricities of Japanese Rinzai Zen masters whose approaches wander and diverge yet remain distinctively Rinzai in nature. In the first section, we provide some background on treating spiritual exercises in an intercultural context and explore the exemplarily disruptive spiritual exercises that Rinzai Zen offers PWL practice, especially through poetry, kōans, and meditation in the midst of everyday activity. We then turn to particular examples found in the lives and spiritual practices of Ikkyū and Hakuin. We conclude with reflections on how Rinzai Zen and PWL inform one another through the exploration of “spiritual exercise” and disruption not only as scholarly pursuits but also in terms of our own arts of mindful living today. Full article
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16 pages, 247 KiB  
Article
The Problem of Evil, God’s Personhood, and the Reflective Muslim
by Zain Ali
Religions 2024, 15(2), 225; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15020225 - 16 Feb 2024
Viewed by 951
Abstract
Is it correct to think of God as a perfectly good personal agent? Not so, argue John Bishop and Ken Perszyk. Bishop and Perszyk, in their most recent work, God, Purpose, and Reality: A Euteleological Understanding of Theism (2023), outline a series of [...] Read more.
Is it correct to think of God as a perfectly good personal agent? Not so, argue John Bishop and Ken Perszyk. Bishop and Perszyk, in their most recent work, God, Purpose, and Reality: A Euteleological Understanding of Theism (2023), outline a series of challenges that bring into question this concept of God—i.e., as a perfectly good personal agent, who is unique, unsurpassably great, all-powerful, and all-knowing. I aim to critically evaluate one of these challenges, namely the Normatively Relativised Logical Argument from Evil (NRLAFE). The NRLAFE has God’s perfect goodness as its target. Bishop and Perszyk argue that people who are committed to certain values about what constitutes right relationship amongst persons, might reasonably judge God as lacking perfect goodness. They also contend that the relevant values will likely be endorsed by theists. My aim in this paper is twofold: first, I aim to assess the Bishop-Perszyk argument from evil, in light of the tradition of Islamic Theism. The tradition of Islamic Theism is as broad as it is deep, and within the tradition there are a variety of ways in which God has been conceptualised. This includes debates as to whether we can view God as a personal agent. Second, I contend that we have available to us, from within and beyond the tradition of Islamic Theism, a set of resources that: (a) permit us to understand God as being a personal agent; and (b) allow us to resist the NRLAFE while endorsing the value commitments that Bishop and Perszyk have in mind. The perspective I bring to this paper is that of a reflective Muslim—i.e., a person of the Islamic faith who acknowledges that people of other religious and non-religious persuasions are as educated and concerned with seeking truth and avoiding error as they themselves are. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Problems in Contemporary Islamic Philosophy of Religion)
10 pages, 197 KiB  
Article
Confronting Confederate Monuments: Place-Based Pedagogy for Anti-Racist Preaching
by David M. Stark
Religions 2024, 15(2), 224; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15020224 - 16 Feb 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 893
Abstract
“Space wins” is a long-held homiletical maxim. Usually, this means that architecture and pulpit style influence how sermons are delivered and heard. What is less frequently considered is how monuments and memorials affect proclamation in space. Among other things, Confederate monuments make claims [...] Read more.
“Space wins” is a long-held homiletical maxim. Usually, this means that architecture and pulpit style influence how sermons are delivered and heard. What is less frequently considered is how monuments and memorials affect proclamation in space. Among other things, Confederate monuments make claims on space, communicate idealized aesthetics, and preach about hopes for a particular eschatological community. This essay examines pedagogical approaches to preaching that confronts Confederate monuments. It is based upon courses I offered in 2022 at The University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee, and through the Association of Chicago Theological Schools D.Min. program in Chicago, Illinois. After articulating a pedagogy drawn from the work of Leonora Tubbs Tisdale and Willie James Jennings, I examine three approaches to place-based pedagogy that serve anti-racist preaching by (1) analyzing monuments within the teaching location, (2) fostering reflective participation in pilgrimage to the National Memorial for Peace and Justice, and (3) inviting students to research monuments in their home community and confront them through preaching. These approaches can foster preaching that is better attuned to addressing localized histories, better able to identify and confront specific aspects of white supremacy that are concretized in a community, and more adept at offering a gospel proclamation that is finely tuned to the transformative needs of a particular place. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Homiletical Theory and Praxis)
19 pages, 5214 KiB  
Article
Religion and Strategic Disaster Risk Management in the Better Normal: The Case of the Pagoda sa Wawa Fluvial Festival in Bocaue, Bulacan, Philippines
by Arvin Dineros Eballo and Mia Borromeo Eballo
Religions 2024, 15(2), 223; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15020223 - 16 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1367
Abstract
Religion involves expressing beliefs, performing practices, and obeying norms about what is considered sacred and worthy of worship. While some argue that religion has become irrelevant due to the widespread influence of secularism and scientific reasoning, many still find comfort in the sacred. [...] Read more.
Religion involves expressing beliefs, performing practices, and obeying norms about what is considered sacred and worthy of worship. While some argue that religion has become irrelevant due to the widespread influence of secularism and scientific reasoning, many still find comfort in the sacred. Scientific research has shown that religion can positively impact health and safety, especially during disasters. Accordingly, religion plays a crucial role in one’s wellbeing. In the Philippines, the sound of church bells calls for parishioners to gather and celebrate, and acts as a warning system for different types of danger, such as earthquakes, typhoons, floods, raids, uprisings, and fires. Filipinos are warned to leave their houses and come to the church to take shelter. Thus, churches have been considered evacuation centers and loci for disaster risk-reduction undertakings. The proponents conducted a qualitative study investigating the disaster risk management strategies developed and implemented by St. Martin of Tours Parish Church in Bocaue, Bulacan, Philippines, during the “Pagoda sa Wawa” fluvial festival, where safety measures and crowd control are essential in maintaining a prayerful and peaceful experience. The objective of the study was to investigate how festival organizers prioritize the safety of devotees after a tragedy occurred 30 years ago, which resulted in the deaths of 266 people. Furthermore, this study explores the precautionary measures taken during and after the COVID-19 pandemic, recognizing devotees’ compliance and resilience for the common good. This study utilized a tripartite method, including reviewing relevant literature, participating in a pagoda fluvial parade, and conducting semi-structured interviews. The results were presented in a format that consisted of context, content, and challenges for the sake of coherence. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Role of Religion and Spirituality in Times of Crisis)
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26 pages, 526 KiB  
Article
The Gods among Us: A Shared Recipe for Making Saints in Early Jewish and Daoist Hagiographies
by Jianyu Shen
Religions 2024, 15(2), 222; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15020222 - 16 Feb 2024
Viewed by 665
Abstract
This article examines the earthly journey of the saints in early Jewish and Daoist hagiographies. The major texts for comparative reading are Sefer Shivchei Ha-Ar”i and Shenxian Zhuan, namely, the foundation stones of each hagiographical tradition. Emphasis is laid on the most [...] Read more.
This article examines the earthly journey of the saints in early Jewish and Daoist hagiographies. The major texts for comparative reading are Sefer Shivchei Ha-Ar”i and Shenxian Zhuan, namely, the foundation stones of each hagiographical tradition. Emphasis is laid on the most significant phases in the process of making saints while the candidates dwell in the worldly domain as quasi-divine beings: (1) Mystical Birth, (2) Life in Seclusion, and (3) Divine Encounters. During these stages of transition, the sages were imparted with the esoteric wisdom and the godly features that rendered them extraordinary exemplars of religiosity. My investigation demonstrates that this recipe is shared by both hagiographical traditions, despite the distance in time and space, to construct the image of saints, each expressed with culturally distinct characteristics of their own. I argue that both traditions display a pattern of human-centered sainthood instead of the divine-endorsed type—while the birth myth shows a discernible degree of predestined sagehood, painstaking periods, such as self-isolation and learning with the true masters, are more crucial to the sages’ transformation of identity in the realm of Earth, the dynamic incubator that breeds holiness for the most qualified souls. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The History of Religions in China: The Rise, Fall, and Return)
15 pages, 205 KiB  
Article
Preaching beyond Binary Categories: An Approach from Process Theology
by Ronald J. Allen
Religions 2024, 15(2), 221; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15020221 - 16 Feb 2024
Viewed by 959
Abstract
Thinking in binary categories has often characterized both the Christian community and communities beyond the church. This pattern of mental operation typically sees binary categories as self-contained and often as mutually exclusive, e.g., male/female, judgment/salvation, and religious/secular. However, some interpreters call binary thinking [...] Read more.
Thinking in binary categories has often characterized both the Christian community and communities beyond the church. This pattern of mental operation typically sees binary categories as self-contained and often as mutually exclusive, e.g., male/female, judgment/salvation, and religious/secular. However, some interpreters call binary thinking into question and point to possibilities of more nuanced perspectives, perhaps most well-known with respect to more expansive views of gender: the categories of male and female are not mutually exclusive but are reference points among clusters of sexual and gender expression and preferences. Process theology offers preachers ways to transcend binary exclusivism. Several convictions of process thought come into play: the divine aim that all things work together for optimum becoming, the dipolar nature of God, the internal relationship of all things, and especially the perception that a binary is an invitation for creative transformation in thinking beyond the binary pattern about how the elements in the field of the binary might relate with one another so as to honor diversity as part of moving towards optimum becoming. The article begins with a statement of the problem, summarizes key elements of process thought that come into play, sketches how a preacher might seek the creative transformation of binary impasses, and brings forward three case studies of binaries that illustrate this approach in action. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Homiletical Theory and Praxis)
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