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Abstract

This article discusses the relation between gender and migration in the New Testament. Six cases of women on the move are presented: Mary, the mother of Jesus; the women in the Jesus movement; three women from the first generation of Christ-believers, Prisca, Lydia and Phoebe; and the unnamed slave woman from Acts 16:16. It is argued that these cases reveal a variety of causes for migration and also depict women who are quite different when it comes to social location and power. The article also discusses the importance of migrant networks in the first century, including religious networks such as the Jewish diaspora. It is argued that women played a key role in the migrant networks presented in New Testament texts.

In: Religion and Theology
Free access
In: Religion and Theology

Abstract

This paper explores the post-metaphysical theology of Richard Kearney (1954–) from a Jewish theological perspective. It seeks to provide an original analysis of his project “anatheism,” considering the prominence of Jewish texts in the development of the concept of anatheism. Rooted in deconstructionist and Continental philosophical discourses, Jewish hermeneutics also plays a central role in anatheism. This discursive intersection has received scarce scholarly attention to date. Biblical and other texts which he interprets, include the rabbinic exegesis of Rashi and of modern Jewish hermeneutical philosophy notably of Martin Buber, Franz Rosenzweig, and Emmanuel Levinas. I analyse elements of Kearney’s interpretation primarily of the “Burning Bush” biblical narrative as a test case for anatheistic reading of Jewish texts as they appear in one particular text “I Am Who May Be” in The God Who May Be: A Hermeneutics of Religion (2001). Kearney’s textual reading of the Burning Bush offers an unusual example of a Christian engagement with Jewish interpretations of the biblical parable as well as of Levinas, Derrida, and others. Kearney’s effort highlights an approach of a mutual search for ways of interpreting texts not “of” the other, but “with” the other, in a mutual engagement of post-metaphysical theology. More broadly, this examination offers an important contribution to the developing field of post-metaphysical theology in the Jewish and Christian traditions, ultimately posing questions as to how and whether elements of Jewish scriptural interpretative techniques might or can imbue contemporary Christian post-metaphysical theologies. Conversely, the question can be asked as to what a Jewish version of anatheism might look like. This examination presents a test case for possibilities of reading and learning from discourses across different religions.

In: Religion and Theology

Abstract

This theoretical paper reviews the current theory about curriculum transformation and renewal in higher education in Africa and, in particular, South Africa. Although the findings are applicable to different universities, the pedagogical approach of North-West University will be the focus. The aim is to understand curriculum responsiveness pertaining to decolonisation and sustainable development that can align with the African Union’s proposed Agenda 2063. The epistemology is from a practical public theological paradigm. A single-system research method has been followed to integrate current research about tertiary education curriculum transformation with the latest practice theory. Three different aspects are explored, namely how Agenda 2063 is applicable to higher education in a post-colonial context, the fibre of human relations based on Nagy’s contextual theory, and the curriculum as a powerful tool for change. The paper concludes that lecturers and students can join forces in growing towards the Africa they want by active experiential student-centred pedagogy.

In: Religion and Theology
Author: Mehraj Din

Abstract

Taking as the starting point, Ahmed El-Shamsy’s new book Rediscovering the Islamic Classics is a comprehensive introduction to trace the historical trajectory of Islamic intellectual legacy. In this engaging yet pleasantly thought-out book El Shamsy intends to offer a fresh conversation on the massive loss of manuscripts, role of colonialism and its role in strengthening the Orientalist enterprise in Muslim World including the drain of manuscripts into Europe. Bringing to light the agents and events of the Islamic print revolution, this work is also an absorbing examination of the central role printing and its advocates played in the intellectual history of the modern Arab world. This review essay offers a contextual perspective and a detailed rationale behind the loss of manuscripts and unpacks some of the important debates behind the decline and restoration of Islam’s intellectual legacy.

In: Religion and Theology
In: Religion and Theology
Author: Chris L. de Wet

Abstract

This article investigates the views of Nemesius, the bishop of Emesa in Roman Syria at the end of the fourth century CE, on desire, pleasure, and sex, mainly from his work, De natura hominis, asking specifically how Nemesius’s account represents what we might term the “medical making” of an early Christian sexual culture. Nat. hom. was most likely composed at the end of the fourth century CE, and represents the first full and formal Christian anthropology, incorporating views from Christian and non-Christian philosophy (especially Plato and Aristotle) and, of course, extensively utilising (and often even quoting verbatim) ancient medical literature (especially Galen). The study commences by providing a descriptive account of Nemesius’s framework on the dynamics of desire, pleasure, and sex, and then draws some conclusions on how these views of Nemesius translate into a very particular Christian sexual culture in late antique Syria.

In: Religion and Theology

Abstract

This article argues that, in similar ways that scholars such as Kaye (1987) and Apple (1990) have respectively demonstrated how post 1970s America and Britain fused the neo-liberal discourse of free markets with the neo-conservative Christian discourse of moral rightness to found a New Right, we can apply this analytical model in post-apartheid/neo-apartheid South Africa. The aim of this analytical comparison is to support the broad claim that the article makes about the rise of the New Right in contemporary South Africa as directly related to the fusion of neo-Pentecostal Christianity with neoliberal economics in very salient ways. Using discourse analysis, the article demonstrates how the New Right in South Africa also draws from the language of crisis to justify a response that brings together the interlocking of race, religion, and neoliberalism. The paper’s main argument is that, a different type of New Right is emerging in current day South Africa, one that is not simply the purview of whitenationalism, but has main appeal also within the black middle-class.

In: Religion and Theology
Author: John Klaasen

Abstract

This article is a contribution to the discourse on religion and development. The contribution seeks to investigate the role of religious conceptualisations in development. Theological anthropology, and specifically the Christian doctrine of the imago Dei, is critically analysed from the historical-biblical approach, a feminist and postcolonial approach, and a contextual approach. Themes such as progression, responsibility, relationships, and the spiritual dimension of personhood are identified as contributing toward the role of religion in development. Drawing from theological concepts such as “vocation,” “rule,” “image,” and “likeness,” the specific connections between religion and development derives from the central theological anthropological doctrine of the imago Dei. The themes that are identified are not explored exhaustively but are nonetheless highlighted as markers that should be considered by both practitioners and academics in the broad-based development discourse and practices. The limitations of the modernisation and materialistic approaches of the post-war period are countered by the centrality of personhood.

In: Religion and Theology

Abstract

In this study, we examine which narratives were put forward by key figures of the Dutch reformed pietist community during the COVID-19 pandemic. We analyse sermons and news articles from the period March–November 2020. We find, as expected, a dominant narrative of COVID-19 as God’s judgment, a calling to repentance and an event which emphasizes the need for prayer. Although the pandemic was seen as a call by God, the systematic origin of the virus (God/Satan/natural phenomena) remained rather ambiguous. More often it was stated that ‘everything falls under His providence’. The earthly origin of the virus remained mostly unaddressed, as well as eschatological interpretations, contrary to our expectations. We conclude that the main narrative is a general message of repentance, rather than a concrete theological application to the dynamic of the virus, its origins and its subsequent spread. In some cases, virus ‘jargon’ even was used as a tool just to further accentuate general tendencies of reformed pietist theology.

Open Access
In: Journal of Empirical Theology