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Laura Rediehs

Abstract

Quakerism emerged in the seventeenth century, during a time when philosophical debates about the nature of knowledge led to the emergence of modern science. The Quakers, in some conversation with early modern philosophers, developed a distinctive epistemology rooted in their concept of the Light Within, which functioned as a special internal sense giving access to divine insight. The Light Within provided illumination both to properly understand the Bible and to ‘read’ the Book of Nature. This epistemology can be thought of as an expanded experiential empiricism that integrates our ethical and religious knowledge with our scientific knowledge. This epistemology has carried through in Quaker thought to the present day and can be helpful in the context of today’s epistemological crisis.

Maria Kennedy

Abstract

This work is a sociological study of Quakers, which investigates the impact that sectarianism has had on identity construction within the Religious Society of Friends in Ireland. The research highlights individual Friends’ complex and hybrid cultural, national and theological identities, mirrored by the Society’s corporate identity. This publication focuses specifically on examples of political and theological hybridity. These hybrid identities resulted in tensions that impact on relationships between Friends and the wider organisation. How Friends negotiate and accommodate these diverse identities is explored. It is argued that Irish Quakers prioritise ‘relational unity’ and have developed a distinctive approach to complex identity management. It is asserted that in the two Irish states, ‘Quaker’ represents a meta-identity, which is counter-cultural in its non-sectarianism, although this is more problematic within the organisation. Furthermore, by modelling an alternative, non-sectarian identity, Quakers in Ireland contribute to building capacity for transformation from oppositional, binary identities to more fluid and inclusive ones.

James Ellis

Abstract

The British Empire expanded into East Asia during the early years of the Protestant Mission Movement in China, one of history’s greatest cross-cultural encounters. Anglicans, however, did not accommodate local Chinese culture when they built St. John’s Cathedral in the British Crown Colony of Hong Kong. St. John’s had a prototypical English style and was a gathering place for the colony’s political and social elites, strengthening the new social order. The Cathedral spoke a Western architectural language that local residents could not understand and many saw Christianity as a strange, imposing, foreign religion. As indigenous Chinese Christians assumed leadership of Hong Kong’s Anglican Church, ecclesial architecture took on more Chinese elements, a transition epitomized by St. Mary’s Church, a Chinese Renaissance masterpiece featuring symbols from Taoism, Buddhism, and Chinese folk religions. This essay analyzes the contextualization of Hong Kong’s Anglican architecture, which made Christian concepts more relevant to the indigenous community.

Kirsteen Kim