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Representation, Experience, Meaning
Is cinema evil, or sacramental? Can films make theological contributions? Can film-viewing be a religious practice? How do films, values and power interact? The study of film and religion engages a range of diverse questions through different approaches and methods. In this contribution, I distinguish three complementary approaches. In the first part, I discuss those that focus on the film as text, the representation of religion in film, and how theology happens in film. The next section will broaden this perspective by taking into consideration how films affect audiences, and how the relationship between film and audience might have religious dimensions or serve religious functions. In the third part, attention to the text and the audience are combined with the consideration of both film and religion as agents in cultural processes in order to think about how film and religion are shaped by and shape value systems and ideologies. In the last section I will begin to tackle the difficult question of theory and method. I consciously postpone this part until the end because, in many cases, methodologies and theoretical frameworks are implied in and emerge from concrete case studies rather than being consciously reflected upon. This final section has two goals: it will make explicit some of these underlying assumptions to serve as a starting point for a more sustained reflection on the theories and methodologies of the field, and it will highlight some of the pitfalls we encounter if we are not methodologically and theoretically precise in our work.
An Idealist Theology of Creation
In From Laws to Liturgy, Edward Epsen offers a constructive account of what God produces in the act of creation and how it is ontologically ordered and governed. Inspired by the philosophy of Bishop Berkeley (18th century), Epsen proposes that the physical world is produced by the way God ordains the course of possible human sensations, with angels executing the divine ordinances. Idealism is here re-attached to a tradition of Christian Platonism, updating the traditional notions of the aeon, angelic government, and the divine ideas, so as to be capable of explanatory work in regard to the philosophical problems of perception and induction: the objectivity and observability of the world are explained by a unified sacramental economy of the Eucharist.
Although church historians often call the 19th century the Great Century of Protestant mission, for Latin America it was the 20th century that was the great century of Protestant growth and expansion. The 20th century witnessed vast societal changes and the realization of systemic poverty and injustice as well as the exponential growth, pentecostalization, and diversification of Latin American Protestantism. Latin American Protestant Theology emerged during this century of change.
This text provides an introduction to Latin American Protestant Theology by engaging its dominant theological streams (Liberal, Evangelical, and Pentecostal) and how they understand themselves through the lens of mission. The text offers both a critique of the Christendom cartography that is dominant in Latin American Protestant Theology as well as suggestions for how to move towards a transformative theology of mission. The primary intention of this text is to offer an informed outline and analysis of the theological landscape of Latin American Protestantism. The secondary intention of this book is to note the contributions as well as deficiencies of the streams of LAPT in the hope to signal a possible path towards the development of an integral, transformative, contextual, and decolonial theological voice.
Erkundungen in einem Grenzgebiet / Exploring Borderlands
Postkolonialismus bezeichnet nicht nur die historische Epoche nach dem Ende der Kolonialzeit, sondern auch ein theoretisches Konzept zur Analyse von Herrschaftsverhältnissen. In der deutschsprachigen Theologie wurde dieses Konzept bisher wenig beachtet. Im zweisprachigen Sammelband Postkolonialismus, Theologie und die Konstruktion des Anderen erkunden Vertreter aller theologischen Disziplinen einschließlich der Religionswissenschaft die heuristischen Möglichkeiten, die der Postkolonialismus für ihr Fach bietet. Es geht dabei insbesondere um die Frage, wie „der Andere“ als Gegenüber eines „Wir“ konstruiert wird. Gerade in Zeiten globaler Migration und erstarkenden Rechtsextremismus muss Theologie sprachfähig bleiben, um den drängenden Fragen der Gegenwart Antwortangebote bieten zu können.

Postcolonialism refers not only to the historical epoch after the end of the colonial era, but also to a theoretical concept for the analysis of power relations. In German-speaking theology, this concept has so far received little attention. In the bilingual volume Postcolonialism, theology and the construction of the other, scholars of all theological disciplines, including religious studies, explore the heuristic possibilities that postcolonialism provides for their subject. In particular, the question is how “the other” is constructed as the counterpart of a “we”. In times of global migration and growing right-wing extremism, theology must remain capable to offer answers to the urgent questions of the present.
This essay develops a response to the historical situation of the North Atlantic world in general and the United States in particular through theological reflection. It offers an overview of some decolonial perspectives with which theologians can engage, and argues for a general perspective for a decolonial theology as a possible response to modern/colonial structures and relations of power, particularly in the United States. Decolonial theory holds together a set of critical perspectives that seek the end of the modern/colonial world-system and not merely a democratization of its benefits. A decolonial theology, Joseph Drexler-Dreis argues, critiques how the confinement of knowledge to European traditions has closed possibilities for understanding historical encounters with divinity, and thus possibilities of critical reflection. A decolonial theology reflects critically on a historical situation in light of faith in a divine reality, the understanding of which is liberated from the monopoly of modern/colonial ways of knowing, in order to catalyze social transformation.
In World History as the History of Foundations, 3000 BCE to 1500 CE, Michael Borgolte investigates the origins and development of foundations from Antiquity to the end of the Middle Ages. In his survey foundations emerge not as mere legal institutions, but rather as “total social phenomena” which touch upon manifold aspects, including politics, the economy, art and religion of the cultures in which they emerged. Cross-cultural in its approach and the result of decades of research, this work represents by far the most comprehensive account of the history of foundations that has hitherto been published.
The Lamb and the Wolf
International relations are in constant turbulence. Globalisation, the rise and fall of superpowers, the fragilisation of the EU, trade wars, real wars, terrorism, persecution, new nationalism and identity politics, climate change, are just a few of the recent disturbing developments. How can international issues be understood and addressed from a Christian faith perspective? In this book answers are presented from various Christian traditions: Neo-calvinism, Catholic social teaching, critical theory and Christian realism. The volume offers fundamental theological and Christian philosophical perspectives on international relations and global challenges, case studies about inspiring Christian leaders such as Robert Schuman, Dag Hammarskjöld, Abraham Kuyper and prophetic critiques of supranational issues.
Aquinas’ theology can be understood only if one comes to grips with his metaphysics of being. The relevance of this perspective is exhibited in his treatment of topics like creation, goodness, happiness, truth, freedom of the will, the unity of the human being, prayer and providence, God’s personhood, divine love, God and violence, God’s unknowablility, the Incarnation, the Trinity, God’s existence, theological language and even laughter. This book endeavors to treat these questions in a clear and convincing language. Is there a better method for improving one’s own theology than by grappling with the arguments of Thomas Aquinas?
Bridging Anthropological and Theological Perspectives
Faith in African Lived Christianity – Bridging Anthropological and Theological Perspectives offers a comprehensive, empirically rich and interdisciplinary approach to the study of faith in African Christianity. The book brings together anthropology and theology in the study of how faith and religious experiences shape the understanding of social life in Africa. The volume is a collection of chapters by prominent Africanist theologians, anthropologists and social scientists, who take people’s faith as their starting point and analyze it in a contextually sensitive way. It covers discussions of positionality in the study of African Christianity, interdisciplinary methods and approaches and a number of case studies on political, social and ecological aspects of African Christian spirituality.
The Paschal Mystery and Liturgical Renewal in the Twentieth Century
The story of the twentieth-century Liturgical Movement is, more than anything else, about the rediscovery and renewed understanding of the fundamental reality of the Paschal Mystery and of the Paschal identity of the Church. This identity is expressed and celebrated whenever the Body of Christ – every member – welcomes new members in the waters of baptism and feasts with them in the Eucharist, especially as these are celebrated during Holy Week.

This book explores this rediscovery, first in the Roman Catholic Church and then in the Episcopal Church and other Churches of the Anglican Communion, and looks in particular at how both grassroots and official work played a role in renewing and restoring the liturgical celebrations of Holy Week.