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Author: Judith Gruber

Abstract

This article starts from the observation that current debates about race and racism are often couched in soteriological terms such as guilt and forgiveness, or confession and exoneration, and it argues that this overlap calls for theological analysis. Using the debate about Achille Mbembe’s disinvitation from the German art festival ‘Ruhrtriennale’ 2020 as a case that is typical of a specifically Western European discourse on race, it first sketches a brief genealogy of the modern/colonial history of religio-racialisation and its intersections with Christian tradition, in which racial categories were forged in soteriological discourses, and in which, in turn, soteriological categories were shaped by racist discourses. It proposes that in this process, Christianity, Whiteness and salvation were conflated in a way that has sponsored White supremacy, disguised as innocence. Engaging with performative race theory, the article concludes by making a constructive proposal for a performative theology of race that can account for the profound intersections between racism and soteriology, but also opens trajectories for transforming hegemonic discourses of race and their theological underpinnings.

Open Access
In: Interdisciplinary Journal for Religion and Transformation in Contemporary Society
Author: Ramon Harvey

Abstract

Despite recognition of Abū l-Ḥasan al-Rustughfanī (d. ca. 345/956) as the most important student of Abū Manṣūr al-Māturīdī (d. 333/944), a sustained treatment of his theological views has not hitherto appeared. One of the challenges that has been identified in prior studies is a lack of primary sources. To overcome this obstacle, I analyse manuscripts of “Bāb al-mutafarriqāt min fawāʾid” and “al-Asʾila wa-l-ajwiba,” two texts recording al-Rustughfanī’s theological responsa, locating them within available bibliographic information and discussing the question of literary structure. I then contextualise the material within the polemical milieu of mid-fourth/tenth century Samarqand, arguing that al-Rustughfanī is the earliest figure in the Samarqandī Ḥanafī kalām tradition to self-consciously adopt the full name ahl al-sunna wa-l-jamāʿa to express his theological identity. Finally, I provide an annotated theological overview of the main doctrines found in the texts with a detailed case study on divine speech and the Qurʾān, showing how al-Rustughfanī bridges the gap between al-Māturīdī’s rationalistic kalām and the Ḥanafī traditionalism of al-Ḥakīm al-Samarqandī (d. 342/953).

In: Oriens
Author: Tariq Jaffer

Abstract

This article examines how three leading exegetes of the Muʿtazilite school tradition – ʿAbd al-Jabbār (d. 415/1025), Jishumī (d. 494/1101), and Zamakhsharī (d. 538/1144) – conceptualized the Qurʾānic idea of covenant in divergent ways. It also illustrates how they related the idea of covenant to their broader thought world to forge an interpretation of the meaning of human history and salvation. It argues that these three commentators, although they are linked to one another by a loose form of teacher-student discipleship, share only basic ideas and applied hermeneutical devices and interpretive principles in considerably different ways. It is unlikely that they relied on one another when they composed their commentaries.

In: Oriens

Abstract

This article will look at the ideology of veganism in the AHIJ. Since the early 1970s their diet has been a core part of their ideology and of their message to the world. Acknowledging that a black/Jewish meat-free diet is far from the exclusive property of the group, let alone a new development on their part, I will argue that it is an expression of the syncretic “bricoleur” nature of Black Israelite thought (Dorman 2013), reflecting, drawing on, and transforming traditions existing in both African American and Jewish thought in and before the twentieth century – principally articulated as a concern for health in the former and a messianic return to the peaceful Edenic existence in the latter. However, Ben Ammi skillfully intertwines it into their theology by arguing that a return to the veganism of the Garden of Eden is part of the community’s redemption of humanity from primordial sin and ultimate overcoming of the curse of death.

Open Access
In: Interdisciplinary Journal for Religion and Transformation in Contemporary Society
Author: Damien Janos

Abstract

This study investigates Avicenna’s conception of philosophical terminology through an analysis of the relation between equivocity (ishtirāk) and modulation (tashkīk) and by drawing evidence from a broad array of logical, physical, and metaphysical texts. In so doing, it also re-examines the notion of the modulation of existence (tashkīk al-wujūd). Although the intrinsic definitional ambiguity of tashkīk makes it possible to approach it alternatively through the lens of univocity and equivocity, there are strong textual and philosophical reasons to believe that Avicenna preferred to regard tashkīk as a kind of moderate equivocity, as opposed to both univocity and a kind of pure or absolute equivocity. As a corollary, it is preferable to construe tashkīk al-wujūd as a “modulated equivocity of being” rather than as a “modulated univocity of being.” On the one hand, this underscores the continuity with Aristotle’s theory of pros hen predication and its late-antique Greek and early Arabic reception, which Avicenna, as heir to a long commentatorial tradition, reinterprets in his own way. On the other hand, the reading of the asmāʾ mushakkika and tashkīk al-wujūd proposed here may explain some of the origins of the ontological debates on the construal of existence that developed from the post-classical reception of Avicenna’s works.

In: Oriens

Abstract

On the basis of Martin Luther’s theologia crucis in the Heidelberg Disputation (1518), the Lutheran concept of law in the 20th Century is examined. Luther’s distinction of religious and civil dimension of law with its religious restriction to a convicting function regarding the sin is received in the Luther-Renaissance of the 1920 and 1930s. The sample of Emanuel Hirsch (1888–1972) gives insight into the deeply ambivalent character of the Lutheran concept of law before World War II which combined a profound theory of Christian subjectivity with a theory of state promoting German nationalism in opposition to western democracy. The moderate theology of Wolfgang Trillhaas (1903–1995) reflecting the experience of the Nazi-Regime de-potentializes the Lutheran prejudice against the law in order to achieve new democratic perspectives on the notion of law in dogmatics and ethics. Thus, an affirmative position is established despite a remaining ambivalence in contemporary Lutheran Protestantism.

Open Access
In: Interdisciplinary Journal for Religion and Transformation in Contemporary Society

Abstract

This article examines the challenges which arise for Catholic canon law from the collision with secular law and the law of other religious communities. It begins by looking at the conditions provided by canon law itself in order to meet these challenges. Subsequently it addresses the specific challenges posed by secular law, especially human rights, and its general influence. Finally, it discusses the challenges posed by religious pluralism, first clarifying the church’s legal relationship with other religious communities and then addressing the very specific question of why church law also applies to non-members in certain cases. The conclusion is that catholic canon law is better equipped to face the current challenges than other religious laws. Nevertheless, there are fruitful tensions and inevitable breaks.

Open Access
In: Interdisciplinary Journal for Religion and Transformation in Contemporary Society

Abstract

The article demonstrates a concept of state, society and politics coined by contemporary Greek religious philosopher Christos Yannaras. The concept derives from two sources: on the one hand from the criticism of the modern cataphatic forms of state and society and on the other hand from the apophatic character of the Greek polis. With this creative critical synthesis, based on the apophatic attitude, Yannaras produces a conception of a new polity, contributing to the liberation of the human subject from various aspects of alienation in the cataphatic systems.

Open Access
In: Interdisciplinary Journal for Religion and Transformation in Contemporary Society

Abstract

This paper tackles the question of how to handle the phenomenon of “religion” by widely secularized judicial systems by analyzing the “Equal Liberty”-concept from legal scholars Eisgruber and Sager. While they assume that everything worth protecting is already covered by existing anti-discrimination laws, freedom of expression and association, and judge the right to religious freedom as itself discriminatory, this paper considers how this right can be part of an emancipatory human rights approach, which helps us think beyond an antagonistic relationship between religious freedom and other human rights.

Open Access
In: Interdisciplinary Journal for Religion and Transformation in Contemporary Society

Abstract

In the following review article, we aim to summarize the current research progress in the field of evolutionary and behavior genetics studies on human religiousness and religious behavior. First, we provide a brief (and thus incomplete) overview of the historical discussions and explain the genetic basis of behavior in general and religious behavior in particular, from twin studies to molecular data analysis. In the second part of the paper, we discuss the potential evolutionary forces leading to human religiousness and human religious behavior, emphasizing the emergence of “axial age” and the so called “big gods” in the relatively recent history of humans.

Open Access
In: Interdisciplinary Journal for Religion and Transformation in Contemporary Society