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Creation Stories in Dialogue: The Bible, Science, and Folk Traditions

Radboud Prestige Lectures by R. Alan Culpepper

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Edited by Jan G. van der Watt and R. Alan Culpepper

This book is about creation stories in dialogue, not only between different religious views, but also between current day scientific perspectives. International specialists, like Alan Culpepper, David Christian, John Haught, Randall Zachman, Ellen van Wolde from various disciplines are reflecting on the interface between science and religion relating questions of creation and origin. This multi-disciplinary discussion by some of the leading exponents in this field makes the book unique, not only in its depth of discussion, but also in it wide ranging interdisciplinary discussion. The point of departure of all the contributions is the prestige lecture by Alan Culpepper where he argues for bringing Biblical material into discussion with modern scientific insights relating to creation and origin.

Diversity in the Structure of Christian Reasoning

Interpretation, Disagreement, and World Christianity

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Joshua Broggi

Diversity in the Structure of Christian Reasoning examines the effect of Christian commitments on rationality. When Christians read scripture, traditions supply concepts that shape what counts as normal, good, and true. This book offers an account of how different communities produce divergent readings of the Bible. It considers two examples from World Christianity, first a Bakongo community in central Africa, and then a Tamil bishop in southern India. Each case displays a relation between tradition and reason that reconfigures the hermeneutical picture developed by Martin Heidegger and Hans-Georg Gadamer. To see what transpires when readers decide about a correct interpretation, this book offers theologians and scholars of religion a fresh strategy that keeps in view the global character of modern Christianity.

Religion, Emergence, and the Origins of Meaning

Beyond Durkheim and Rappaport

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Paul Cassell

Why is religion so important to individuals and societies? What gives religion its profound meaningfulness and longevity? Enhancing perspectives taken from sociology and ritual theory, Religion, Emergence, and the Origins of Meaning describes how ‘emergence theory’ – developed to make sense of life and mind – explains why religious communities are special when compared to ordinary human social groups. Paul Cassell argues that in religious ritual, beliefs concerning unseen divine agencies are made uniquely potent, inviting and guiding powerful, alternative experiences, and giving religious groups a form of organization distinct from ordinary human social groups. Going beyond the foundational descriptions of Émile Durkheim and Roy Rappaport, Cassell utilizes the best of 21st century emergence theory to characterize religion’s emergent dynamics.

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Ritva Palmén

Richard of St.Victor (d.1173) developed original ideas about the faculty of imagination in a twelfth-century Parisian context. Related to the historical study of philosophical psychology, Richard of St. Victor’s Theory of Imagination acknowledges that the faculty of imagination, being a necessary precondition for human reasoning and a link between soul and body, plays an important role in Richard’s understanding of the human soul. Richard also deals with the interpretation of biblical language, metaphors, rhetoric, and the possibility of creative imagination. Considering all these aspects of the imagination in Richard’s texts improves our understanding of his theological epistemology and sheds new light on the theory of the imagination in the history of medieval philosophy in general.

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Thomas M. Ward

In John Duns Scotus on Parts, Wholes, and Hylomorphism, Thomas M. Ward examines Scotus's arguments for his distinctive version of hylomorphism, the view that at least some material objects are composites of matter and form. It considers Scotus's reasons for adopting hylomorphism, and his accounts of how matter and form compose a substance, how extended parts, such as the organs of an organism, compose a substance, and how other sorts of things, such as the four chemical elements (earth, air, fire, and water) and all the things in the world, fail to compose a substance. It highlights the extent to which Scotus draws on his metaphysics of essential order to explain why some things can compose substance and why others cannot. Throughout the book, contemporary versions of hylomorphism are discussed in ways that both illumine Scotus's own views and suggest ways to advance contemporary debates.

The Question of Theological Truth

Philosophical and Interreligious Perspectives

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Edited by Frederiek Depoortere and Magdalen Lambkin

In today’s world, the boundaries within which Christian theologians operate are becoming ever more permeable, and Christian theology is increasingly influenced and challenged by multiple “outside” factors. In Western Europe, two such factors stand out in particular: the so-called “turn to religion” in continental philosophy and religious diversity. Theologians working with contemporary continental philosophers and theologians engaging the multireligious world tend to work quite separately from one another. The aim of the present book is therefore to initiate a conversation between these two groups of theologians. The question of truth was chosen because it is both a key issue in contemporary-philosophical debates (in the continental and analytic traditions) and one that arises in complex and problematic ways in the praxis of, and theoretical reflection on, interreligious dialogue. Some of the pressing questions that are addressed by the contributors to this volume are: What is truth? What is theological truth? How does the issue of truth arise from interreligious encounter? To what extent can or should the nature of truth be discussed explicitly during interreligious dialogue? Or should the question of truth be rather postponed in the interest of successful interreligious encounter? Is there a hermeneutical concept of truth and, if so, how can it be of help for theological reflection on the question of truth and on the role and place of truth in the context of dialogue between religions?

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Michael R. Trice

Interest in recent years in reconciliation and conflict transformation has witnessed a great deal of attention to building a future through forgiveness and preventative measures in order to impede egregious wrongdoing. This effort for a reconciled future is absent reflection on the nature of cruelty. Cruelty has always been apparent in massive acts of wrongdoing and yet is repeatedly concealed in our assessment of the acts themselves. This book is a theologically honest and deep-structure exploration of cruelty in its personal, communal and institutional encounters in human life. Drawing on Nietzsche's challenge of cruelty to the western tradition, the work offers a comprehensive study of how cruelty undermines care, trust, respect and justice – all those elements of human reciprocity that mark our lives as interdependent beings. The work concludes with a tightly written Epilogue on interpreting the theological meaning and accessibility of reconciliation today.

Asian and Oceanic Christianities in Conversation

Exploring Theological Identities at Home and in Diaspora

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Edited by Heup Young Kim, Fumitaka Matsuoka and Anri Morimoto

The old contrast between “universal” and “local” is now collapsing, but a new paradigm has yet to be defined. The contributors claim that the questions they raise will help redraw the lines of demarcation each in a unique way. Their collaborative result is a re-submission of the century-old question regarding “the essence of Christianity,” and the readers will hear answers to this question resounding in polyphonic voices. The book will make a unique contribution to the scholarship by constructing a common forum connecting diasporic Asians and Oceanians who live and work in regions around the Pacific Ocean. Publication in the field of theology has been thick on the American side of the Pacific, and the agenda of discussion are shaped largely in accordance with the concerns of those living on the North-American continent and in British Isles. Theologians living on the other side of the Pacific, while in daily contact with the multi-religious realities that beg theological attention, sometimes lack means of engaging in sustained discussion with other theologians who are similarly struggling to gain insights into different cultural contexts. This book will provide a shared ground for reflection and discussion.

God and the World of Signs

Trinity, Evolution, and the Metaphysical Semiotics of C. S. Peirce

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Andrew Robinson

Christianity has been described as “a religion seeking a metaphysic”. Drawing on the philosophy of C. S. Peirce, Robinson develops a metaphysical framework centred around a ‘semiotic model’ of the Trinity. The model invites a fresh approach to the claim that Jesus was the incarnate Word of God and suggests a new way of understanding how nature may bear the imprint of the Triune Creator in the form of ‘vestiges of the Trinity in creation’. Scientific spin-offs include a new perspective on the problem of the origin of life and a novel hypothesis about the evolution of human distinctiveness. The result is an original contribution to Trinitarian theology and a bold new way of integrating philosophy, science and religion.

Wrestling with God and with Evil

Philosophical Reflections

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Edited by Hendrik M. Vroom

The fact of evil continues to raises questions – questions about the relationship between God and evil but also questions about human involvement in it. At the beginning of the twenty-first century, it is now time to see the existence of evil not just as a problem for belief in God; it is a problem for belief in humanity itself as well. For human involvement in evil is not simply a matter of coping with evil but also concerns the fact that humans themselves often seem to do wrong and evil inevitably. Human finitude, ignorance and the unforeseeable consequences of good intentions as well as of neglect can often lead to tragedy.
This volume contains contributions from an equal number of male and female scholars in Western Europe and America. It contains discussions of thinkers like Kant, Kierkegaard, Barth, Weil, Levinas, Naber, Caputo and Johnson. It deals with issues like tragedy, finitude, critiques of Western culture, violence and God, and the question of whether theodicies are needed or are even honest. This volume offers an interesting survey of ‘wrestling with God and evil’ from a variety of perspectives in the philosophy of religion on both sides of the Atlantic.