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The Philosophy of Spirituality

Analytic, Continental and Multicultural Approaches to a New Field of Philosophy

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Edited by Heather Salazar and Roderick Nicholls

The essays in The Philosophy of Spirituality explore a new field in philosophy. Until recently, most philosophers in the analytic and continental Western traditions treated spirituality as a religious concept. Any non-religious spirituality tended to be neglected or dismissed as irremediably vague. Here, from various philosophical and cultural perspectives, it is addressed as a subject of independent interest.

This is a philosophical response to increasing numbers of spiritual but not religious people inhabiting secular societies and the heightened interaction between a multitude of spiritual traditions in a globalized age. A provocative array of approaches (African, Indigenous, Indian, Stoic, and Sufic perspectives, as well as Western analytic and continental views) offer fresh insights, many articulated by emerging voices.

Contributors are Mariapaola Bergomi, Moses Biney, Christopher Braddock, Drew Chastain, Kerem Eksen, Nikolay Milkov, Roderick Nicholls, Jerry Piven, Heather Salazar, Eric Steinhart, Richard White, Mark Wynn and Eric Yang.
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Edited by Emma O’Donnell Polyakov

Antisemitism, Islamophobia, and Interreligious Hermeneutics: Ways of Seeing the Religious Other, edited by Emma O’Donnell Polyakov, examines the hermeneutics of interreligious encounter in contexts of conflict. It investigates the implicit judgments of Judaism and Islam that often arise in response to these conflicts, and explores the implications of these interpretations for relations between Jews, Christians, and Muslims. Addressing antisemitism and Islamophobia through the tools of interreligious hermeneutics, this volume brings together three distinct discourses: the study of ancient and new tropes of antisemitism as they appear in today’s world; research into contemporary expressions of fear or suspicion of Islam; and philosophical reflections on the hermeneutics of interreligious encounters.
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Jain Approaches to Plurality

Identity as Dialogue

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Melanie Barbato

In Jain Approaches to Plurality Melanie Barbato offers a new perspective on the Jain teaching of plurality ( anekāntavāda) and how it allowed Jains to engage with other discourses from Indian inter-school philosophy to global interreligious dialogue. Jainism, one of the world’s oldest religions, has managed to both adapt and preserve its identity across time through its inherently dialogical outlook. Drawing on a wide range of textual sources and original research in India, Barbato analyses the encounters between Jains and non-Jains in the classical, colonial and global context. Jain Approaches to Plurality offers a comprehensive introduction to anekāntavāda as a non-Western resource for understanding plurality and engaging in dialogue.

“Building upon earlier work in this field without simply reduplicating it, Melanie Barbato’s work delves deeply into the question of the relevance of Jain approaches to religious and philosophical diversity to contemporary issues of inter-religious dialogue, and dialogues across worldviews more generally. (…) This work is a most welcome contribution to the conversation.”

— Jeffery D. Long, Professor of Religion and Asian Studies, Elizabethtown College. April 2017. Author of Jainism: An Introduction.
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Common Words in Muslim-Christian Dialogue

A study of texts from the Common Word dialogue process

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Vebjørn Horsfjord

In Common Words in Muslim-Christian Dialogue Vebjørn L. Horsfjord offers an analysis of texts from an international dialogue process between Christian and Muslim leaders. Through detailed engagement with the Muslim dialogue letter A Common Word between Us and You (2007) and a large number of Christian responses to it, the study analyses the dialogue process in the wake of the Muslim initiative and shows how the various texts gain meaning through their interaction.

The author uses tools from critical discourse analysis and speech act analysis and claims that the Islamic dialogue initiative became more important as an invitation to Muslim-Christian dialogue than as theological reflection. He shows how Christian leaders systematically chose to steer the dialogue process towards practical questions about peaceful coexistence and away from theological issues.
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Jakob W. Wirén

In Hope and Otherness, Jakob Wirén analyses the place and role of the religious Other in contemporary eschatology. In connection with this theme, he examines and compares different levels of inclusion and exclusion in Christian, Muslim, and Jewish eschatologies. He argues that a distinction should be made in approaches to this issue between soteriological openness and eschatological openness. By going beyond Christian theology and also looking to Muslim and Jewish sources and by combining the question of the religious Other with eschatology, Wirén explores ways of articulating Christian eschatology in light of religious otherness, and provides a new and vital slant to the threefold paradigm of exclusivism, inclusivism and pluralism that has been prevalent in the theology of religions.

“Jakob Wirén’s study pushes forward the frontiers of three disciplines all at the same time: theology of religions; comparative religions and eschatology. (…) This is a challenging and important book.”
- Gavin D'Costa, University of Bristol, Professor of Catholic Theology, 2017

“This book explores of the status of religious others in Christian eschatology, and of eschatology itself as a privileged place for reflecting on religious otherness. Wiren mines not only Christian, but also Jewish and Muslim sources to develop an inclusive eschatology. Hope and Otherness thus represents an important contribution to both theology of religions and comparative theology.”
- Catherine Cornille, Boston College, Professor of Comparative Theology, 2017

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Philosophy of Religion and the African American Experience

Conversations with My Christian Friends

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John H. McClendon III

Most white philosophers of religion generally presume that philosophy of religion is based on what is a false universality; whereby the white/Western experience is paradigmatic of humanity at-large. The fact remains that Howard Thurman, James H. Cone and William R. Jones, among others, have produced a substantial amount of theological work quite worthy of consideration by philosophers of religion. Yet this corpus of thought is not reflected in the scholarly literature that constitutes the main body of philosophy of religion. Neglect and ignorance of African American Studies is widespread in the academy. By including chapters on Thurman, Cone and Jones, the present book functions as a corrective to this scholarly lacuna.
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Twenty-First Century Theologies of Religions

Retrospection and Future Prospects

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Edited by Elizabeth Harris, Paul Hedges and Shanthikumar Hettiarachchi

Within Christian theology, debates on the theology of religions have intensified over the last thirty or so years. This volume surveys the field and maps future directions in this expanding and important area of research. Both established experts and new voices address typological debates, comparative theology, multiple religious belonging or identity, and how dialogue between different religious traditions affects our understanding of these issues. Different perspectives and traditions are represented, and, while focusing upon debates in Christian theology, voices and perspectives from a range of religious traditions are also included. This volume is an essential tool for research students and established scholars working within the theology of religions and interreligious studies.

Contributors are: Graham Adams, Tony Bayfield, Abraham Velez de Cea, Gavin D’Costa, Reuven Firestone, Ray Gaston, Elizabeth Harris, Paul Hedges, Shanthikumar Hettiarachchi, Haifaa Jawad, Kristin Beise Kiblinger, Paul F. Knitter, Oddbjørn Leirvik, Marianne Moyaert, Mark Owen, Alan Race, Sigrid Rettenbacher, Perry Schmidt-Leukel, Leonard Swidler, Philip Whitehead, Janet Williams, Ulrich Winkler.
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Contested Spaces, Common Ground

Space and Power Structures in Contemporary Multireligious Societies

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Edited by Ulrich Winkler, Lidia Rodríguez Fernández and Oddbjørn Leirvik

Spaces are produced and shaped by discourses and, in turn, produce and shape discourses themselves. ‘Space’ is becoming a significant and complex concept for the encounter between people, cultures, religions, ideologies, politics, between histories and memories, the advantaged and the disadvantaged, the powerful and the weak. As a result, it provides a rich hermeneutical and methodological inventory for mapping interculturality and interreligiosity. This volume looks at space as a critical theory and epistemological tool within cultural studies that fosters the analysis of power structures and the deconstruction of representations of identities within our societies that are shaped by power.
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Gender Justice in Muslim-Christian Readings

Christian and Muslim Women in Norway: Making Meaning of Texts from the Bible, the Koran, and the Hadith

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Anne Hege Grung

In recent decades, women in the Christian and Islamic traditions have been negotiating what it means to participate in religious practice as a woman within the two traditions, and how to interpret canonical scripture. This book creates a shared space for Muslim and Christian women with diverse cultural and denominational backgrounds, by making meaning of texts from the Bible, the Koran, and the Hadith. It builds on the reading and discussion of the Hagar narratives, as well as 1 Timothy 2:8-15 and Sura 4:34 from the New Testament and the Koran respectively, by a group of both Christian and Muslim women. Interpretative strategies and contextual analyses emerge from the hermeneutical analysis of the women’s discussions on the ambiguous contributions of the texts mentioned above to the traditional views on women.
This book shows how intertextual dialogue between the Christian and Islamic traditions establishes an interpretative community through the encounter of Christian and Muslim readers. The negotiation between a search for gender justice and the Christian and Islamic traditions as lived religions is extended into a quest for gender justice through the co-reading of texts. In times when gender and the status of women are played into the field of religious identity politics, this book shows that bringing female readers together to explore the canonical texts in the two traditions provides new insights about the texts, the contexts, and the ways in which Muslim-Christian dialogue can provide complex and promising hermeneutical space where important questions can be posed and shared strategies found.
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Theory of Religious Cycles

Tradition, Modernity, and the Bahá’í Faith

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Mikhail Sergeev

In Theory of Religious Cycles: Tradition, Modernity and the Bahá’í Faith Mikhail Sergeev offers a new interpretation of the Soviet period of Russian history as a phase within the religious evolution of humankind by developing a theory of religious cycles, which he applies to modernity and to all the major world faiths of Judaism, Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam.

Sergeev argues that in the course of its evolution religion passes through six common phases—formative, orthodox, classical, reformist, critical, and post-critical. Modernity, which was started by the European Enlightenment, represents the critical phase of Christianity, a systemic crisis that could be overcome with the appearance of new religious movements such as the Bahá’í Faith, which offers a spiritual extension of the modern worldview.