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Religions, Volume 15, Issue 6 (June 2024) – 113 articles

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11 pages, 277 KiB  
Article
Multilayered Faith and Interreligious Dialogue: A Case of Religious Hybridity in Korea and Its Implications for Formation
by Joung Chul Lee
Religions 2024, 15(6), 742; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15060742 (registering DOI) - 18 Jun 2024
Viewed by 60
Abstract
Comprehending and discussing Koreans’ experiences of inter-religious dialogue requires a precise understanding of their religious hybridity. To this end, this article first delves into South Korea’s multireligious and syncretic landscape. Subsequently, it focuses on the concept of chungch’ŭng-sinang, or multilayered faith, highlighting [...] Read more.
Comprehending and discussing Koreans’ experiences of inter-religious dialogue requires a precise understanding of their religious hybridity. To this end, this article first delves into South Korea’s multireligious and syncretic landscape. Subsequently, it focuses on the concept of chungch’ŭng-sinang, or multilayered faith, highlighting how Koreans have constructed their own religiously multilayered and open internal structures based on their historical encounters with various religions. Finally, building on this understanding, this article examines how an in-depth understanding of Korean religious hybridity transforms our understanding of their experiences in inter-religious dialogue. Acknowledging their hybridity facilitates an understanding of experiences that go beyond mere acquisition of knowledge about others and a deepening sense of their identities—involving the discovery of internal otherness. While this approach may weaken the logic of religion, it can foster dialogue that is more liberating, formative, and humanizing. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Religions and Theologies)
16 pages, 18072 KiB  
Article
Medieval Holy Sepulchre Chapels: Experience and Memory of Jerusalem
by Cecily Hennessy
Religions 2024, 15(6), 741; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15060741 (registering DOI) - 18 Jun 2024
Viewed by 46
Abstract
This paper explores the rituals enacted in or connected with two medieval churches, one walrus ivory cross and a central topic of medieval devotion, Christ’s passion. During Easter Week these memorialised the site in Jerusalem dedicated to the burial of Christ, the holiest [...] Read more.
This paper explores the rituals enacted in or connected with two medieval churches, one walrus ivory cross and a central topic of medieval devotion, Christ’s passion. During Easter Week these memorialised the site in Jerusalem dedicated to the burial of Christ, the holiest place in Christendom. It focuses on the physical elements, the spaces, the paintings and sculpture, the ceremonial objects and relics and the performative nature of rituals associated with them. The Regularis Concordia, composed in Winchester at the end of the 10th century for the use of Benedictine monasteries included sung liturgical enactments based on the gospel accounts of Christ’s burial and resurrection. At the same time, in Saxony, the Abbey at Gernrode was founded for the use of women, secular canonesses, with a space in the south aisle that seems to have represented Christ’s place of burial and was later incorporated into two chambers evoking the Holy Sepulchre Chapel in Jerusalem. In the 12th century in Winchester Cathedral, a Holy Sepulchre Chapel was decorated with wall paintings depicting Christ’s death and resurrection. Around this time, the walrus ivory cross known as the Cloisters Cross was created and appears to have been designed for use in the increasingly elaborate liturgical enactments. The paintings at Winchester Cathedral, the sculpture at Gernrode and the Cloisters Cross each evidence the significance of evoking Christ’s passion and how liturgical space and objects served to bring it to life. Full article
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12 pages, 2428 KiB  
Article
Ngytarma and Ngamteru: Concepts of the Dead and (Non)Interactions with Them in Northern Siberia
by Olga B. Khristoforova
Religions 2024, 15(6), 740; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15060740 - 18 Jun 2024
Viewed by 107
Abstract
This article examines some features of the mythological beliefs and funeral rites of Siberia’s two related Uralic peoples—the Nenets and the Nganasans. The afterlife fate in the mythology of Nenets and Nganasans is similar—the souls of the dead go to the Lower World, [...] Read more.
This article examines some features of the mythological beliefs and funeral rites of Siberia’s two related Uralic peoples—the Nenets and the Nganasans. The afterlife fate in the mythology of Nenets and Nganasans is similar—the souls of the dead go to the Lower World, where they continue to live as they lived on Earth. However, the two cultures’ attitudes towards the dead have intriguing differences. A comparison of Nenets and Nganasan beliefs and rituals reveals significant correspondences between the ideas about the benevolence of the dead (the Nenets) or their harmfulness (the Nganasans), on the one hand, and the presence of the practices of substitutional incarnation (images of the dead) (the Nenets) or the absence of such images (the Nganasans) on the other. The differences between the Nenets and the Nganasans, as I suggest, are due to the origin and history of the peoples: the Nenets’ customs reflect the traditions of the Uralic tribes who came to the far north from Southern Siberia in ancient times. At the same time, the Nganasans’ ideas are probably rooted in typical concepts of the Palaeo-Siberian population assimilated by the Uralic tribes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Communication with the Dead)
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15 pages, 245 KiB  
Article
God, Philosophers and Theologians in Africa
by Patrick O. Aleke
Religions 2024, 15(6), 739; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15060739 - 18 Jun 2024
Viewed by 110
Abstract
There is renewed interest in philosophical and theological investigations about God, religions and the implications of religious beliefs among philosophers and theologians in Africa. This development is itself profitable because the question or the problem of God is a relevant discourse in Africa [...] Read more.
There is renewed interest in philosophical and theological investigations about God, religions and the implications of religious beliefs among philosophers and theologians in Africa. This development is itself profitable because the question or the problem of God is a relevant discourse in Africa where the majority of people are theists. However, unlike the exploration of the first-generation African scholars—philosophers and theologians—whose primary objective was to show the symmetry between Christianity and African Traditional Religions (ATR), contemporary discourses arise within the clamour for decoloniality. The investigations, with varied emphasis, advocate the decolonisation of the concept of God, epistemic decolonisation, decolonisation of Christianity and African Christian theology, etc. In this essay, I critically examine the contemporary decolonial discourse about God, divine attributes, religious belief, and the relationship between African Christian theology and ATR. I argue that most of the contemporary literature is entangled in conceptual convolution and as such, there is a lack of clarity about what needs to be decolonised. Put differently, most works do not clearly distinguish between reality (the person or phenomenon “God”), thought (the concept “God”), and conceptions of God (language, that is, the terms and images used in making assertions about God). Further, I argue that when conceptual clarifications are adequately attended to, there is no need for decolonisation of discourses about God, divine nature, divine attributes, and the relationship between Christianity and ATR. Full article
25 pages, 409 KiB  
Article
Fulfillment, Salvation, and Mission: The Neo-Conservative Catholic Theology of Jewish–Christian Relations after Nostra Aetate
by Yitzhak Mor
Religions 2024, 15(6), 738; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15060738 - 18 Jun 2024
Viewed by 207
Abstract
The neo-conservative Catholic movement, led by prominent figures like Richard John Neuhaus and Michael Novak, played a significant role in shaping Jewish–Christian relations in the United States following the Second Vatican Council. This article analyzes their theological understanding of Jews and Judaism, which [...] Read more.
The neo-conservative Catholic movement, led by prominent figures like Richard John Neuhaus and Michael Novak, played a significant role in shaping Jewish–Christian relations in the United States following the Second Vatican Council. This article analyzes their theological understanding of Jews and Judaism, which combined an adoption of the Council’s conciliatory rhetoric with a relatively narrow interpretation of its teachings. By examining their views on key concepts such as “fulfillment”, salvation, and mission, the article highlights the complexities and tensions within the neo-conservative Catholic approach to interfaith dialogue and its relation to their broader goal of promoting religion in the American public sphere. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Post-Holocaust Theologies of Jews and Judaism)
17 pages, 3290 KiB  
Article
Deciphering the Interaction between Daoism and Buddhism in the Wei-Jin Period Tale of “The Golden Pot of Futi”
by Jingxuan Wang
Religions 2024, 15(6), 737; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15060737 - 17 Jun 2024
Viewed by 238
Abstract
The story of Futijinhu 浮提金壺 (“Golden Pot of Futi”) in Shiyiji 拾遺記 (Record of Gleanings), whose authorship is traditionally attributed to Wang Jia (王嘉) from the Eastern Jin Dynasty, appears to be a Daoist rendition at first glance, reimagining the legend of Laozi’s [...] Read more.
The story of Futijinhu 浮提金壺 (“Golden Pot of Futi”) in Shiyiji 拾遺記 (Record of Gleanings), whose authorship is traditionally attributed to Wang Jia (王嘉) from the Eastern Jin Dynasty, appears to be a Daoist rendition at first glance, reimagining the legend of Laozi’s Daodejing. However, upon closer examination of the depiction of “Golden Pot of Futi”, the characters with “Shentong Shanshu” (神通善書, supranormal cognition and exceptional writing ability) and the narrative of writing and its outcomes, it becomes evident that this tale harbors a multifaceted Buddhist essence. In the tale, one can observe the changes and diversity in the early methods of translating Buddhist scriptures into Chinese, the references and adaptations of Buddhist imagery and narratives by Daoists, the understanding and imagination of materials used for writing Buddhist scriptures and early iconographic forms, and even the author’s insights and responses to the evolving religious landscape of their era. When placed in a broader historical context, exploring the Buddhist elements in this tale further aids in understanding the dynamic interactions between Buddhism and Daoism during the Wei and Jin periods. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Religions and Humanities/Philosophies)
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12 pages, 260 KiB  
Article
A Plea to Thomists: Will the Real Darwinian Please Stand Up? On Some Recent Defenses of the Fifth Way
by Amerigo Barzaghi
Religions 2024, 15(6), 736; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15060736 - 17 Jun 2024
Viewed by 220
Abstract
In this paper, we discuss with some contemporary Thomists the possibility of re-actualizing Thomas’s fifth way to God in the science–theology dialogue. We start with a reference to Spinoza’s critique of teleology in light of some recent Spinoza studies, and after summarizing several [...] Read more.
In this paper, we discuss with some contemporary Thomists the possibility of re-actualizing Thomas’s fifth way to God in the science–theology dialogue. We start with a reference to Spinoza’s critique of teleology in light of some recent Spinoza studies, and after summarizing several Thomistic defenses of Aquinas’s teleological argument, we interpret that critique as targeting the fifth way as well. We then focus on Darwin’s impact on biological design arguments. We argue that his naturalistic explanation of biological teleology also affects the fifth way. The distinction between internal-Aristotelian and external-Platonic conceptions of teleology does not seem to be able to protect the teleological argument from a Darwinian critique. We conclude by stressing the importance and fruitfulness of Thomas’s thought for contemporary interdisciplinary dialogue, provided that Darwin’s impact on the biological version of the fifth way is taken into due account. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aquinas and the Sciences: Exploring the Past, Present, and Future)
24 pages, 405 KiB  
Article
Whoever I Am: On the Quality of Life
by Nicola Masciandaro
Religions 2024, 15(6), 735; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15060735 - 17 Jun 2024
Viewed by 436
Abstract
What is the relation between quantification and the mysterious question of identity? What order of quality is proper to the inexplicable fact that one is oneself? Starting with an examination of the ontological blind spots of counting, this essay investigates the priority of [...] Read more.
What is the relation between quantification and the mysterious question of identity? What order of quality is proper to the inexplicable fact that one is oneself? Starting with an examination of the ontological blind spots of counting, this essay investigates the priority of quality over quantity, in connection with the spiritual nature of life understood as the spontaneous and infinitely evolving question of itself. It argues, in face of the forces of quantophrenia and numerocracy, for the importance of recognizing the essentially serial and apophatic structure of identity, the existential sense that all entities are the living question of themselves. As such, no individual may be considered as merely a part of reality. Each is, no less, the totality. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Minds as Creaturely and Divine)
15 pages, 3602 KiB  
Article
Defending the “Backward Civilization”: The Resurrection of a Forgotten 17th Century Text in 20th Century Intellectual Discourse on Islam
by Mahmut Cihat İzgi and Enes Ensar Erbay
Religions 2024, 15(6), 734; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15060734 - 16 Jun 2024
Viewed by 310
Abstract
It is an irony of history that since texts transcend the intentions and purposes of their authors, their meaning and significance are often contested anew as they enter new historical contexts; even historical texts are thus subject to reading and criticism over time. [...] Read more.
It is an irony of history that since texts transcend the intentions and purposes of their authors, their meaning and significance are often contested anew as they enter new historical contexts; even historical texts are thus subject to reading and criticism over time. This article discusses the posthumous fate of Henry Stubbe’s own text on Islamic history, The Rise and Progress of Mahometanism—seen by some to represent a Copernican revolution in the study of Islam. The fate of this work is a clear example of the critical contingencies and fluctuating fortunes experienced by a corpus of texts. The continuing existence of a text as an object open to reconfiguration and re-evaluation is termed its after-history (Nachgeschichte) or afterlife (Nachleben). This notion of the afterlife of an object as a period of critical appreciation and political appropriation aptly defines the fate and fame of The Rise and Progress of Mahometanism. The present study seeks to explore the narrative surrounding a publication authored by Stubbe in the 17th century and finally published by Hafiz Mahmud Khan Shairani, with the critical support of Ottoman intellectual Halil Halid Bey, nearly two centuries later. Its objective is to investigate how the life and contributions of a figure whose work has transcended generations was resurrected within the political backdrop of the 20th century, as evidenced in the columns of Ottoman newspapers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Islam and the West)
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10 pages, 414 KiB  
Article
Mindful Encounters: A Buddhist Revisitation of Daniel J. Siegel’s Mind Definition
by Chien-Te Lin
Religions 2024, 15(6), 733; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15060733 - 15 Jun 2024
Viewed by 287
Abstract
The mind holds crucial significance in Buddhism that encompasses a distinct understanding. While Daniel Siegel defines the “mind” as an embodied and relational process responsible for regulating energy and information flow, this article evaluates it from the Buddhist perspective. Here, I conduct a [...] Read more.
The mind holds crucial significance in Buddhism that encompasses a distinct understanding. While Daniel Siegel defines the “mind” as an embodied and relational process responsible for regulating energy and information flow, this article evaluates it from the Buddhist perspective. Here, I conduct a succinct analysis of this definition, suggesting potential modifications from a Buddhist perspective. Though Buddhism may recognize the mind’s role in regulating the flow of energy and information during dynamic interactions between individuals and their natural and social surroundings, as proposed by Siegel, it also acknowledges the intricate process of forming karmic imprints. Within this framework, I propose revisiting Siegel’s definition through the lens of Buddhist karma theory and steering towards a middle way of comprehending our mind, concluding that this revision not only enhances completeness but also practicality for mindfulness exercises. Full article
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30 pages, 10155 KiB  
Article
“The Gates of Eternal Life”: Metamorphosis and Performativity in Middle to Late Byzantine Sculpted Church Doors (with a Case Study of a Wallachian Wooden Door)
by Elisabeta Negrău
Religions 2024, 15(6), 732; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15060732 - 15 Jun 2024
Viewed by 265
Abstract
In recent years, there has been a growing interest in analyzing the manufacturing techniques of Byzantine church doors in laboratory settings. However, the connection between the iconography and significance of the décor of church doors and their liturgical performativity, as well as their [...] Read more.
In recent years, there has been a growing interest in analyzing the manufacturing techniques of Byzantine church doors in laboratory settings. However, the connection between the iconography and significance of the décor of church doors and their liturgical performativity, as well as their parallels with iconostases in Byzantium, remained a relatively underexplored area of study. This article seeks to delve deeper into these intersections. By focusing on the relationship between the iconography of church doors in Middle to Late Byzantium and their connection to the sacred space and liturgical practices, I aim to shed light on how these artworks played a crucial role in the sacred experience of the Byzantines. This exploration will not highlight only the aesthetic evolution of church door artwork but also emphasize the communal and embodied nature of the religious experience during the Byzantine era. Their intricate designs were not merely decorative elements but served as portals to the divine, enriching the salvation journey of worshippers as they crossed the threshold into the liturgical spaces. By conducting an examination of the development of door iconography and their symbolism throughout the empire’s history, the transformation of narrative depictions from the Middle Byzantine era to the Palaiologan period, culminating in a convergence of symbolic meanings within the sacred space of the church, is delineated. This transformation is further exemplified by a sculpted church door from the Principality of Wallachia. By bridging the gap between art history and religious studies, this article aims to rekindle interest in the profound symbolism and significance of Byzantine church doors and their relation to sacred liturgical space, offering a broader perspective on an important aspect of Byzantine heritage. Full article
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15 pages, 257 KiB  
Article
Barth’s “Alternative” Follower: Stanley Hauerwas and the Traditions of 20th-Century North American Theology and Ethics
by Renzhong Cui and Siyi Han
Religions 2024, 15(6), 731; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15060731 - 14 Jun 2024
Viewed by 275
Abstract
This paper explores Stanley Hauerwas’s unique perspective on the traditions of 20th-century North American theology and ethics, particularly his similarity to Karl Barth in viewing theology and ethics as inseparable. Although deeply influenced by Barth, Hauerwas defends this view in the American context [...] Read more.
This paper explores Stanley Hauerwas’s unique perspective on the traditions of 20th-century North American theology and ethics, particularly his similarity to Karl Barth in viewing theology and ethics as inseparable. Although deeply influenced by Barth, Hauerwas defends this view in the American context in a manner distinct from Barth‘s theological approach. Additionally, Hauerwas critiques Barth’s ecclesiology, which leads him to attempt to transcend some limitations of Barthian theology by developing a theological ethics “system” that emphasizes the practicality of the church. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Critical Issues in Christian Ethics)
18 pages, 286 KiB  
Article
Mashhadis and Immigration: Redemptive Narratives and Practical Challenges
by Hilda Nissimi
Religions 2024, 15(6), 730; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15060730 - 14 Jun 2024
Viewed by 226
Abstract
This paper analyzes redemptive narratives constructed by Mashhadi Jewish immigrants through oral histories, memoirs, and life stories collected across generations. It examines how conceptions of religion, community, and family shaped their meaning-making around migration challenges. The first case study examines Malka Aharonoff’s lamentation [...] Read more.
This paper analyzes redemptive narratives constructed by Mashhadi Jewish immigrants through oral histories, memoirs, and life stories collected across generations. It examines how conceptions of religion, community, and family shaped their meaning-making around migration challenges. The first case study examines Malka Aharonoff’s lamentation reconstructed from religious redemption across generations into a Zionist narrative. The second analyzes Esther Amini’s published memoir, which reconciles her story with that of her immigrant parents through narrative, demonstrating its role across generations with gender as the focal point. The later cases of Aharon Namdar and Mehran Bassal present individual oral histories, capturing major migration waves from Iran, playing out the differing import and expression given to Zionism and to religion by different immigrants. The study explores how selective appropriation and cultural translation occurred between generations. It sheds light on ideological and cultural frameworks underlying immigrant perspective. By comparing narratives emphasizing collective redemption versus individual experiences, it offers insights into identity formation and the role of memory in immigrant communities dispersing over time. By demonstrating narrative’s therapeutic role in processing dislocation across generations, the study sheds light on cultural transmission and identity formation within dispersed immigrant communities. It offers a fresh perspective on their migration experiences. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion and Immigration)
11 pages, 236 KiB  
Article
“Relief of Man’s Estate”: The Theological Origins of the Modern Biomedical Project
by Todd T. W. Daly
Religions 2024, 15(6), 729; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15060729 - 14 Jun 2024
Viewed by 222
Abstract
In recent years, medicine has been increasingly described as “Baconian”, in reference to the scientific methodology laid out by Francis Bacon (1561–1626), who, in criticizing Aristotle’s natural philosophy, called for cultivating useful knowledge in order to eradicate disease and extend human life by [...] Read more.
In recent years, medicine has been increasingly described as “Baconian”, in reference to the scientific methodology laid out by Francis Bacon (1561–1626), who, in criticizing Aristotle’s natural philosophy, called for cultivating useful knowledge in order to eradicate disease and extend human life by attenuating aging. Contemporary medicine is often described as “Baconian” insofar as it is devoted to the relief of suffering and the expansion of choice. These two features continue to exert pressure on medicine to expand understandings of both suffering and wellness. Recent attempts to reclassify human aging as a disease, for instance, bear witness to the Baconian impulse. In this article, I discuss and critique the religious origins of Bacon’s call for a new kind of practical rationality in service of improving humanity, showing that they were deeply theological and considerably informed by events recorded in the biblical book of Genesis. I will also argue that the theological nature of Bacon’s program, while theocentric in nature, suffers from inattention to Christology, which challenges Bacon’s theology and the Baconian Project. Attending to Christological concerns modifies Bacon’s approach to bioethics, which recognizes both the fallenness of creation and the power of medicine to address the human condition, especially human aging. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Theology and Science: Loving Science, Discovering the Divine)
14 pages, 329 KiB  
Article
Transitions in Patristic Cosmology: From Cosmophobia to Universe-(Re)Making
by Doru Costache
Religions 2024, 15(6), 728; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15060728 - 14 Jun 2024
Viewed by 473
Abstract
The field of Patristics, or early Christian and Mediaeval Studies, traditionally works along the lines of historical and literary criticism. But this method is not always useful, especially when it comes to complex objects and circumstances. No wonder the current trend of replacing [...] Read more.
The field of Patristics, or early Christian and Mediaeval Studies, traditionally works along the lines of historical and literary criticism. But this method is not always useful, especially when it comes to complex objects and circumstances. No wonder the current trend of replacing it, more often than not, by interdisciplinary frameworks. The article begins accordingly by reviewing three interdisciplinary frameworks, namely, the “socio-historical method”, “Deep Time”, and archaeological theorist Roland Fletcher’s “transitions”, highlighting their suitability for a comprehensive approach to Patristic cosmology. Here, cosmology should not be taken in the narrow sense of contemporary science. It means both a way of representing reality—a worldview—and a way of inhabiting the world. The present article analyses the evolution of the early Christian and mediaeval perception of the environment and the cosmos in Greek sources, pointing to successive transitions from apprehension (cosmophobia) to a keen interest in understanding nature to the thought that holiness represents a universe-(re)making agency. It addresses relevant historical and social circumstances, but proposes that the above transitions were triggered by internal or existential factors as well, and not only external, thus complementing Fletcher’s outline, which focuses upon external catalysts, such as economy and technology. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Patristics: Essays from Australia)
16 pages, 418 KiB  
Article
Theōria as Cure for Impiety and Atheism in Plato’s Laws and Clement of Alexandria
by Eva Anagnostou-Laoutides
Religions 2024, 15(6), 727; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15060727 - 14 Jun 2024
Viewed by 210
Abstract
The article examines the impact of Plato’s views on atheism and impiety, relayed in the Laws, on Clement of Alexandria. Clement employed the adjectives godless (atheos) and impious (asebēs) often in his writings as accusations against pagan philosophers [...] Read more.
The article examines the impact of Plato’s views on atheism and impiety, relayed in the Laws, on Clement of Alexandria. Clement employed the adjectives godless (atheos) and impious (asebēs) often in his writings as accusations against pagan philosophers and/or heretics, but also in his defence of Christians against the very charge of atheism on account of their rejection of pagan gods (Stromata 7.1; cf. Tertullian’s Apologia 10). I argue that Clement, perceptive of Plato’s defence of philosophical contemplation (theōria) and its civic benefits in the Laws, reworked the latter’s association of disbelief with excessive confidence in fleshly pleasures (Leges 888A) in tandem with his stipulation of virtue as the civic goal of his ideal colonists of Magnesia who ought to attune to the divine principles of the cosmos. Thus, Clement promoted the concept of citizenship in the Heavenly kingdom, secured through contemplation and its ensuing impassibility. For Plato and Clement, atheism was the opposite of genuine engagement with divine truth and had no place in the ideal state. Although Clement associated the Church with peace, his views were adapted by Firmicus Maternus to sanction violent rhetoric against the pagans in the fourth century when Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Patristics: Essays from Australia)
21 pages, 1367 KiB  
Article
Religious and Spiritual Diversity in Multiple Modernities: A Decolonial Perspective Focusing on Peripheral Religious Expressions
by Cristián Parker
Religions 2024, 15(6), 726; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15060726 - 14 Jun 2024
Viewed by 287
Abstract
This paper challenges the World Religion Paradigm (WRP) dominating religious studies, advocating for a decolonial approach that focuses on diverse and often marginalized religious expressions. The approach that prioritizes world religions over the rich diversity of religious expressions in multiple modernities turns out [...] Read more.
This paper challenges the World Religion Paradigm (WRP) dominating religious studies, advocating for a decolonial approach that focuses on diverse and often marginalized religious expressions. The approach that prioritizes world religions over the rich diversity of religious expressions in multiple modernities turns out to be insufficient and biased. Through theoretical research, this paper explores the implications of multiple modernities for the religious landscape. Drawing on Eisenstadt’s theory of multiple modernities, the analysis critiques linear notions of modernization and secularization, and it highlights the complex interplay between religious centers and peripheries. It develops a critical examination of how the theory of the Axial Age, by prioritizing elites and centers in the historical genesis of world religions, generates a preconception that overlooks the religious and spiritual productivity of the peripheries, which persists within current interpretative frameworks. To emphasize the dynamic between center and periphery as a key factor in understanding religious diversity, the text proposes some theoretical theses. By embracing a diversity paradigm and decolonizing frameworks, this paper offers a more inclusive understanding of religious phenomena, contributing to a broader discourse on religion and spirituality beyond Eurocentric perspectives. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Role of Religions in Multiple Modern Societies: The Global South)
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10 pages, 198 KiB  
Article
Secular Religiosity: Heretical Imperative, Jewish Imponderables
by Paul Robert Mendes-Flohr
Religions 2024, 15(6), 725; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15060725 - 13 Jun 2024
Viewed by 141
Abstract
The article develops a concept of “secular religiosity” to characterize “post-traditional” Jewish affiliation as an individual and private matter, which the sociologist Peter Berger casts as a “heretical imperative” to make autonomous, individual choices. The waning of the heteronomous authority of rabbinic Judaism, [...] Read more.
The article develops a concept of “secular religiosity” to characterize “post-traditional” Jewish affiliation as an individual and private matter, which the sociologist Peter Berger casts as a “heretical imperative” to make autonomous, individual choices. The waning of the heteronomous authority of rabbinic Judaism, yielded theological and hermeneutic strategies to address the “secular religiosity” of individuals who sought to affirm distinctive Jewish spiritual and devotional practices. The article concludes by adumbrating two contrasting paradigmatic strategies exemplified by Franz Rosenzweig and Martin Buber respectively. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Heretical Religiosity)
13 pages, 262 KiB  
Article
Representations of the Ottoman Empire in the West: Abdülhamid II’s Portrait in the French Press
by Selim Argun and Hatice Rumeysa Dursun
Religions 2024, 15(6), 724; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15060724 - 13 Jun 2024
Viewed by 194
Abstract
This article examines representations of Ottoman Sultan Abdülhamid II in the French press. Analyzing these representations will help one to better understand the Western perceptions of the Ottoman Empire and the Orient. This study is based on the analysis of selected French newspapers [...] Read more.
This article examines representations of Ottoman Sultan Abdülhamid II in the French press. Analyzing these representations will help one to better understand the Western perceptions of the Ottoman Empire and the Orient. This study is based on the analysis of selected French newspapers such as L’Illustration, Le Journal Illustré, Le Monde Illustré, L’Univers Illustré and Le Petit Journal, as well as other secondary sources (articles and books). Using a critical discourse analysis, this study aims to comprehend how the West, particularly the French press, positioned Abdülhamid II and the Ottoman Empire and how it evolved over time. The analysis of the coverage of Abdülhamid II’s accession to power and, afterwards, his portrait as a Sultan demonstrates not only the struggle of the European powers (especially France and Britain) to gain supremacy over the Ottoman Empire but also the orientalist discourse of the French press with regard to Abdülhamid II. While the coverage of Abdülhamid II’s enthronement ceremony contains both positive and negative representations of the Sultan and the Ottoman Empire, a negative approach was adopted mostly in the coverage of his portrait after his accession to power as Abdülhamid II, as he adopted a policy of balance vis-à-vis the European powers. Overall, the French representations of Abdülhamid II and the Ottoman Empire shed light on the rivalries among the European powers over the Ottoman Empire at the turn of the 19th century. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Islam and the West)
9 pages, 367 KiB  
Essay
Religion and Violence: Help from the Egyptian Desert
by Stuart E. Parsons
Religions 2024, 15(6), 723; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15060723 - 13 Jun 2024
Viewed by 200
Abstract
Support for political violence by fundamentalist religious movements is both wide-spread and problematic, and now especially in Christian fundamentalist circles. To address this, this essay describes important components of the sophisticated ascetic and contemplative theory of spirituality of the fourth-century desert Christian spiritual [...] Read more.
Support for political violence by fundamentalist religious movements is both wide-spread and problematic, and now especially in Christian fundamentalist circles. To address this, this essay describes important components of the sophisticated ascetic and contemplative theory of spirituality of the fourth-century desert Christian spiritual master Evagrius of Pontus. Then, based on his theory, this essay offers guidance to modern-day Christian and non-Christian clergy who want to avoid alienating their congregations through partisan political stances, but who nevertheless seek to reduce those mental, emotional, and relational pathologies in their congregations which predispose passive and active support for political violence. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religions and Violence: Dialogue and Dialectic)
18 pages, 469 KiB  
Article
Talmud Today: A Politics of Forgetting
by Sergey Dolgopolski
Religions 2024, 15(6), 722; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15060722 - 12 Jun 2024
Viewed by 284
Abstract
The article deals with the way in which the “theological” as the question of the Biblical G-d’s involvement in the world, as in the Talmuds, and in light of Heidegger’s thought about forgetting and forgetfulness (Verborgenheit and Vergessenheit), becomes a political [...] Read more.
The article deals with the way in which the “theological” as the question of the Biblical G-d’s involvement in the world, as in the Talmuds, and in light of Heidegger’s thought about forgetting and forgetfulness (Verborgenheit and Vergessenheit), becomes a political question about the attitude of the Jew and Israel toward the Heimat. In Heidegger, forgetting is about beings hiding from the view rather than about a psychological or “subjective” process to which forgetting has been reduced in modernity. The Heimat hides from the persons’ life, no matter how strongly the persons strive for their Heimat “subjectively” or politically, Heidegger argues. The essay further detects a residual modernity and subjectivism in Heidegger’s concession to forgetting as only a secondary operation, a loss, in comparison to the primary, “authentic” relationship to the Heimat, which, for him, one can and should hope for. That residual modern subjectivity in Heidegger enables and necessitates a comparison with the roles forgetting plays in relationships between G-d, Israel, and the Land in the two Talmuds as, similarly to Heidegger, dealing with and working against forgetting, if not Being, then the Law of the mutual obligations between G-d and Israel. The resulting analysis distills a conundrum in the Palestinian rabbis. Delivery on Israel’s obligations towards G-d conditions Israel’s arrival to the Land, that is to say Israel’s fully successful exodus from Egypt. Yet, any clear memory of, and delivery on, these obligations, i.e., any humanly delivered testament to the law of G-d, constitutes an acute danger of forgetting masked as a would-be-certitude in the “memory” of the would-be-original law. Regaining the status of a full-fledged, never-tamed primordial power in relationships between G-d and Israel, forgetting, in the Palestinian rabbinic thought, undermines the deployment of logos as a way to formulate the Law fully. Letting the G-d in the world, logos however proves prone to reducing G-d to (a) theos, thus drawing the G-d into disappearance and forgetting. Such a counter-current to the copulation of theos with logos, the primordial power of forgetting operates even before any memory captured in words and images becomes possible. Arriving from antiquity to modernity, this counter-current continues to operate despite the currently prevalent demotion of forgetting to a subjective political act of a person or nation. Full article
12 pages, 306 KiB  
Article
Paul’s Christology in the Corinthian Letters
by David K. Bernard
Religions 2024, 15(6), 721; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15060721 - 12 Jun 2024
Viewed by 245
Abstract
To explore Christian origins, we need to explore Christology, and to study early Christology, Paul’s Corinthian letters are indispensable. In these letters, Paul spoke of Jesus in various ways: fundamentally as a human who died and rose again; sometimes as Yahweh, the one [...] Read more.
To explore Christian origins, we need to explore Christology, and to study early Christology, Paul’s Corinthian letters are indispensable. In these letters, Paul spoke of Jesus in various ways: fundamentally as a human who died and rose again; sometimes as Yahweh, the one God of Israel; and somehow in distinction from God. While there are various options for understanding Paul’s discussion, the best explanation is that Paul viewed Jesus as the epiphany, manifestation, human personification, or incarnation of the one God. Paul’s language was consistent with Jewish monotheism, used categories of thought available in both Jewish and Hellenistic circles, and did not explicitly delineate two divine persons or two divine centers of consciousness. Instead, he described one transcendent God who became incarnate. In short, for Paul, Jesus is the God of Israel in self-revelation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Religions and Theologies)
16 pages, 374 KiB  
Article
Understanding Paul as an Antitype of Job: The Joban Allusion in 2 Corinthians 12:1–10
by Sanghwan Lee
Religions 2024, 15(6), 720; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15060720 - 12 Jun 2024
Viewed by 543
Abstract
A careful reading of 2 Corinthians 12:1–10 reveals that the passage shares several motifs with the Book of Job: (1) a supernatural adversary, (2) physical suffering, (3) an otherworldly place, (4) social adversity, (5) affluence, and (6) boasting. In light of an audience-critical [...] Read more.
A careful reading of 2 Corinthians 12:1–10 reveals that the passage shares several motifs with the Book of Job: (1) a supernatural adversary, (2) physical suffering, (3) an otherworldly place, (4) social adversity, (5) affluence, and (6) boasting. In light of an audience-critical perspective, this article proposes that the language and imagery in 2 Corinthians 12:1–10 contain a number of allusions that could direct its audience to juxtapose Paul with Job—a well-known righteous figure who demonstrated physical vulnerability but received public vindication from YHWH. According to this reading, the Joban allusion in the Corinthian passage functions as a rhetorical device that defends Paul’s apostolic authority against the super-apostles’ charge that his vulnerability evinces his lack of authority. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Religions and Theologies)
20 pages, 24494 KiB  
Article
Formation of a Sacred Urban Landscape: Study on the Spatial Distribution of Pagodas in Mrauk-U, Myanmar
by Yan Zhou, Hong Jiang, Tianyang Lu and Xinjie Shen
Religions 2024, 15(6), 719; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15060719 - 10 Jun 2024
Viewed by 345
Abstract
Studying the correlation between religions and cities is conducive to understanding the role of worship in shaping human settlements. Mrauk-U, the capital of the Arakan Kingdom in Southeast Asia during the 15th–18th centuries, was once a regional Buddhist center, and the pagodas distributed [...] Read more.
Studying the correlation between religions and cities is conducive to understanding the role of worship in shaping human settlements. Mrauk-U, the capital of the Arakan Kingdom in Southeast Asia during the 15th–18th centuries, was once a regional Buddhist center, and the pagodas distributed throughout this city demonstrate the visible influence of Buddhism. The purpose of this study is to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the significance of Buddhism in Mrauk-U by exploring the correlation between the pagodas and the urban space. Based on first-hand spatial data, historical maps, and archaeological studies, the spatial distribution characteristics of the pagodas in Mrauk-U were analyzed using the methods of spatial and literature analysis. Their relationships with the urban structure, mountains, water systems, and open space were visualized and examined using the GIS platform; then, the hidden historical mechanisms were investigated. This study concludes that Mrauk-U’s pagodas, as urban images, have shaped its sacred urban landscape system, revealing that Buddhism played an important role in shaping Mrauk-U’s physical space and social and cultural characteristics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Space for Worship in East Asia)
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21 pages, 606 KiB  
Article
Between Wine and Tea: A Discussion Based on Master Taixu’s Use of Dual Imagery
by Xiaoxiao Xu
Religions 2024, 15(6), 718; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15060718 - 10 Jun 2024
Viewed by 348
Abstract
The imagery of wine and tea is important in classical and modern Chinese poetry, with an intricate relationship between the two especially evident in the work of Taixu 太虛 (1890–1947), a prominent poet–monk in 20th-century China. Taixu’s attitude toward wine—a drink that is [...] Read more.
The imagery of wine and tea is important in classical and modern Chinese poetry, with an intricate relationship between the two especially evident in the work of Taixu 太虛 (1890–1947), a prominent poet–monk in 20th-century China. Taixu’s attitude toward wine—a drink that is deeply rooted in Chinese culture—evolves significantly over time, from initial approval to eventual condemnation due to its detrimental effects on both personal health and society. Nevertheless, it continues to feature prominently in his poetry. The same is true of tea, which Taixu often uses to evoke either Buddhist study or his own healthy lifestyle. This article explores this and other complex meanings in Taixu’s poems, such as his association of wine with knights and tea with hermits. It also discusses how he achieves a delicate balance between the two beverages, sometimes employing both types of imagery in a single poem—a literary innovation that helped to establish his reputation as a central figure in modern Chinese poetry. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The History of Religions in China: The Rise, Fall, and Return)
15 pages, 287 KiB  
Article
The Violation of the Law and Religious Freedom in the Context of the Case of the Russian Church in Sofia—A Real Legal, Political and Canonical Issue
by Dilyan Nikolchev
Religions 2024, 15(6), 717; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15060717 - 10 Jun 2024
Viewed by 595
Abstract
For more than a century, in the center of Sofia, the capital of the Republic of Bulgaria, there is and functions the church of St. Nikolai Mirlikiyski the Wonderworker, known as the Russian church. The church was built at the beginning of the [...] Read more.
For more than a century, in the center of Sofia, the capital of the Republic of Bulgaria, there is and functions the church of St. Nikolai Mirlikiyski the Wonderworker, known as the Russian church. The church was built at the beginning of the 20th century with the idea of being part of the complex of the Russian imperial diplomatic body in Sofia and to serve the Russian diplomats, their families and the Orthodox Russian citizens living permanently or temporarily in the Bulgarian capital. However, after its consecration in 1914, disputes began, both regarding the ownership of the church building and the canonical jurisdiction of the church—of the Metropolitan of Sofia or the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow. This dispute culminated in September 2023, with the expulsion from Bulgaria of several Russian and Belarusian clergies serving in the Russian church on charges of espionage in favor of the Russian Federation. The subsequent closure of the church by the Russian ambassador Mitrofanova led to internal and external political tension and ecclesiological chaos in the country. The Russian side violated the Bulgarian Law on Religions, known as the Confessions Act 2002, and directly infringed the Statute of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church. This article provides expert answers to the public law, property rights and canonical issues concerning the case of the Russian church in Sofia, based on the relevant sources of law (ecclesiastical and civil). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Right to Freedom of Religion: Contributions)
12 pages, 279 KiB  
Article
The History of the Myeongjin School (1906–1910): A Critical Examination of Korean Buddhism’s First Modern Educational Institution within the Pre-Colonial Context
by Cheonghwan Park and Kyungrae Kim
Religions 2024, 15(6), 716; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15060716 - 10 Jun 2024
Viewed by 322
Abstract
During the operation of the Myeongjin School, it not only employed many leading Buddhist progressives, but graduated key Buddhist reformers. Overcoming conservative opposition within the Korean Buddhist community, during its brief operation the Myeongjin School would open dozens of branches at temples throughout [...] Read more.
During the operation of the Myeongjin School, it not only employed many leading Buddhist progressives, but graduated key Buddhist reformers. Overcoming conservative opposition within the Korean Buddhist community, during its brief operation the Myeongjin School would open dozens of branches at temples throughout Korea, prompting a proliferating modern education throughout its Buddhist community. Over the century, the institute founded as the Myeongjin School suffered repeated closures during Korea’s Japanese Annexation only to emerge from the Korean War as Dongguk University Seoul. As Korea’s oldest and largest Buddhist university, Dongguk has produced over 350,000 graduates and, despite transitioning to a more secular approach to education, it remains a leading center for monastic education, Buddhist studies, and intellectual culture. This article examines, in detail, the origins, founding, and operation of the Myeongjin School within the dynamic political and religious context of Korea’s early modern period, in addition to the school’s impact, subsequent history, and legacy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religious Conflict and Coexistence in Korea)
13 pages, 497 KiB  
Article
Origen’s ‘Celsus’: Questions of Identity
by Harold Tarrant
Religions 2024, 15(6), 715; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15060715 - 10 Jun 2024
Viewed by 364
Abstract
This article will investigate a certain similarity between Origen’s response to Celsus’ True Logos and the criticisms against Longinus’ interpretation of the early pages of Plato’s Timaeus made in Proclus’ Commentary by a certain Origenes, usually held to be a pagan though without [...] Read more.
This article will investigate a certain similarity between Origen’s response to Celsus’ True Logos and the criticisms against Longinus’ interpretation of the early pages of Plato’s Timaeus made in Proclus’ Commentary by a certain Origenes, usually held to be a pagan though without compelling evidence. Origen begins by assuming that ‘Celsus’ was an Epicurean of that name, even though it has long been obvious that ‘Celsus’ has adopted a Platonist point of view and that Origen’s answers often rely on Plato’s authority; in Proclus, Origenes regularly regards Longinus’ explanations as turning Plato into a hedonist by having him aim at the reader’s pleasure, and at one point Longinus even made reference to Epicurus. The paper uses recent work on the presence in Porphyry and Lucian of alternative names, whether inside philosophic schools or as a nom de plume, to argue that Origen could not be sure of his opponent’s identity, but that as he wrote he came to suspect that ‘Celsus’ was in fact his younger contemporary Longinus, the initial teacher of Porphyry himself. Hence the allusions to his ‘philological’ tendencies. If this is correct, then there is additional reason to identify Origen with Origenes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Patristics: Essays from Australia)
11 pages, 191 KiB  
Article
Wolfhart Pannenberg’s Theological Method and Metaphysics
by Kyungrae Kim
Religions 2024, 15(6), 714; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15060714 - 10 Jun 2024
Viewed by 487
Abstract
After the rise of logical positivism, even in the realm of theology, there was a trend to give up on accepting the actions of God in history as objective acts and to create an atmosphere of separating faith and reason. Wolfhart Pannenberg’s work [...] Read more.
After the rise of logical positivism, even in the realm of theology, there was a trend to give up on accepting the actions of God in history as objective acts and to create an atmosphere of separating faith and reason. Wolfhart Pannenberg’s work presents a compelling integration of theology with the rational and empirical rigors of the scientific age. Through a comprehensive theological method, he aimed to establish a dialogue between faith and scientific inquiry, challenging the exclusivity of logical positivism by proposing a theological metaphysics grounded in the concept of retroactive ontology. Pannenberg’s approach is distinguished by its systematic application of hermeneutics, considering the totality of history as the context for divine revelation, and positioning the resurrection of Jesus Christ as a pivotal event that embodies God’s influence on the world. His innovative ontology, which enables one to consider divine action as objective, seeks to validate theology as a science, engaging with natural sciences to foster a mutual enrichment between faith and reason. Pannenberg’s methodological rigor and metaphysical framework offer a robust foundation for a theology that is both intellectually defensible and deeply rooted in Christian faith, advocating for a theology of nature that reconciles the divine with the empirical world. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Theological Metaphysics and Scriptural Interpretation)
15 pages, 339 KiB  
Article
Propaganda Fide and the Role of Apostolic Nuncios during the Early Modern Period: A Case Study of China
by Rui Zhang
Religions 2024, 15(6), 713; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15060713 - 9 Jun 2024
Viewed by 335
Abstract
In 1622, a counter-reformist concept of the mission led to the foundation of Propaganda Fide, a congregation to which the Supreme Pontiffs entrusted various tasks at the global level, including the reassertion of the pope’s authority over missionary activities, which had previously been [...] Read more.
In 1622, a counter-reformist concept of the mission led to the foundation of Propaganda Fide, a congregation to which the Supreme Pontiffs entrusted various tasks at the global level, including the reassertion of the pope’s authority over missionary activities, which had previously been dominated by European secular powers using the patronage system. In carrying out its mandate, the new Congregation also charged apostolic nuncios, almost entirely Italian, with collecting information from and establishing direct contacts with the states of Catholic Christianity and of missionary territories beyond. These nuncios not only performed activities of a religious nature but also served as diplomats and representatives of the pope, endowed with particular powers and faculties. This article introduces the role of apostolic nuncios and analyzes the results of the first of these sent by the Propaganda Fide to China, Charles Thomas Maillard de Tournon. It will show that, as the first papal legate to China, he was not entirely successful in his objectives, but his mission can be seen as a turning point in the history of relations between the Holy See and China and as an important episode which helps us to understand not only early Sino–papal relations but also the development of the new global vision of the Catholic Church as it was formulated by the Propaganda Fide. Full article
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