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Interdisciplinary Studies in Universal and Local Expressions of the Christian Faith 
Existing scholarship on World Christianities tends to privilege the local and the regional. In addition to offering an explanation for this tendency, the editors and contributors of this volume also offer a new perspective. An Introduction, Afterword and case-studies argue for the importance of transregional connections in the study of Christianity worldwide. Returning to an older post-war conception of ‘World Christianity’ as an international, ecumenical fellowship, the present volume aims to highlight the universalist, globalising aspirations of many Christians worldwide. While we do not neglect the importance of the local, our aim is to give due weight to the significant transregional networks and exchanges that have constituted Christian communities, both historically and in the present day.

Contributors are: J. Kwabena Asamoah-Gyadu, Naures Atto, Joel Cabrita, Pedro Feitoza, David C. Kirkpatrick, Chandra Mallampalli, David Maxwell, Dorottya Nagy, Peter C. Phan, Andrew Preston, Joel Robbins, Chloe Starr, Charlotte Walker-Said, Emma Wild-Wood.

Confronting Capital and Empire inquires into the relationship between philosophy, politics and capitalism by rethinking Kyoto School philosophy in relation to history. The Kyoto School was an influential group of Japanese philosophers loosely related to Kyoto Imperial University’s philosophy department, including such diverse thinkers as Nishida Kitarō, Tanabe Hajime, Nakai Masakazu and Tosaka Jun.

Confronting Capital and Empire presents a new perspective on the Kyoto School by bringing the school into dialogue with Marx and the underlying questions of Marxist theory. The volume brings together essays that analyse Kyoto School thinkers through a Marxian and/or critical theoretical perspective, asking: in what ways did Kyoto School thinkers engage with their historical moment? What were the political possibilities immanent in their thought? And how does Kyoto School philosophy speak to the pressing historical and political questions of our own moment?
Proceedings of the Etty Hillesum Conference at Ghent University, January 2014
The Ethics and Religious Philosophy of Etty Hillesum contains the proceedings of the second international Etty Hillesum Congress at Ghent University in January 2014 and is a joint effort by fifteen Hillesum experts to shed new light on the life, works and vision of the Dutch Jewish writer Etty Hillesum (1914-1943), one of the victims of the Nazi-regime. Hillesum’s diaries and letters illustrate her heroic struggle to come to terms with her personal life in the context of the Holocaust. This volume revives Hillesum research with a comprehensive rereading of her texts. With the current rise of interest in peace studies, Judaism, the Holocaust, inter-religious dialogue, gender studies and mysticism, it is evident that this book will be invaluable to students and scholars in various disciplines.
Tradition, Modernity, and the Bahá’í Faith
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.
A Transnational Movement
Editor: David Kim
This volume explores the religious transformation of each nation in modern Asia. When the Asian people, who were not only diverse in culture and history, but also active in performing local traditions and religions, experienced a socio-political change under the wave of Western colonialism, the religious climate was also altered from a transnational perspective. Part One explores the nationals of China (Taiwan), Hong Kong, Korea, and Japan, focusing on the manifestations of Japanese religion, Chinese foreign policy, the British educational system in Hong Kong in relation to Tibetan Buddhism, the Korean women of Catholicism, and the Scottish impact in late nineteenth century Korea. Part Two approaches South Asia through the topics of astrology, the works of a Gujarātī saint, and Himalayan Buddhism. The third part is focused on the conflicts between ‘indigenous religions and colonialism,’ ‘Buddhism and Christianity,’ ‘Islam and imperialism,’ and ‘Hinduism and Christianity’ in Southeast Asia.

Abstract

This paper explores the way in which the Hong Kong Christian education system, inherited from the British, has influenced certain Chinese practitioners of Tibetan Buddhism in the territory to follow a ‘Protestantised’ form of Tibetan Buddhism. This paper shows how such practitioners often reject a pragmatic approach to Tibetan Buddhism followed by other Chinese practitioners in Hong Kong, the latter of whom may bring ‘this worldly’ concerns to various deities, bodhisattvas and lamas. Arguing from an ‘alternative’ position on postcolonial and subaltern studies, this paper seeks to show how these Protestantised practitioners, while drawing from a modernist Christian perspective on Tibetan Buddhism, also appropriate the ‘rationalising’ aspects of their Christian education as well as Tibetan Buddhist doctrinal arguments to undermine this perspective. By mimicking the discourse of their Christian education, appropriating it to ‘prove’ the truth of Tibetan Buddhism, and at times undermining the logic of this discourse itself, such practitioners creatively ‘talk back.’

In: Religious Transformation in Modern Asia

Abstract

From 1926, Caodaism (Đạo Cao Đài) has flourished as the centre of new religious development in Vietnam. Its vast and complex syncretic theology continues to serve as a meeting ground between an East Asian tradition revivified (animism, Confucianism, Daoism, Buddhism, and ancestor worship) and a colonialist modernity localised (Catholicism, French Masonry, Theosophy, and Spiritualism). One of the significant paradigms through which this sacred re-narration of Vietnamese religious history can be conceptualised is through the great mural of the religion. Created to adorn the vestibule of every temple to God, the mural contains three historical figures that represent in essence the wider Caodaist religious and cultural project. In this chapter I examine in detail the symbolic relevance of these figures, Vietnamese poet and seer Nguyễn Bỉnh Khiêm [1491-1585], leader of the Chinese nationalist revolution Dr Sun Yat Sen [1866-1925], and French author Victor Hugo [1802-1885]. Separately they signify certain aspects of the modernist hope of those Vietnamese who came to worship them as saints of the new faith. Together in one mural, this chapter will reveal how these figures additionally symbolise a very specific global, modernist, and millenarian hope.

In: Religious Transformation in Modern Asia

Abstract

The Country of Malaysia is not only diverse in culture and during its history, but also contains a plurality of active religious traditions. This unique lifestyle has affected modernizing transformations during the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. The influence of the minority religions on economic policy is a notable example. The socio-religious climate of Malaysia and its various ethnic groups have all contributed to economic and in turn political developments within the nation. This paper will explore the links of how the pluralist environment of the country has directly affected and continues to shape the social, economic, political discourse of the country. Subtle elements such as constitutional preference over one religion and the various economic policies show that the religious pluralism of Malaysia and globalising factors have had wide ranging influences on the country and its people. As such this paper will argue that in the development of Malaysia as a nation its many religious traditions have had a role to play. With arguably the minority religions being a more dominant factor that the majority Muslim community. These religions have interacted and influenced each other in developing Malaysian identity-politics and economic policy for its contemporary citizens.

In: Religious Transformation in Modern Asia

Abstract

Singapore, a small and cosmopolitan city-state in Southeast Asia, is located among the dynamic economies of the Pacific Rim. It takes up the most special position in Southeast Asia, not only for its economic prosperity and strict governance but also its unique diversity of ethnic, cultural, linguistic and major religious heritages such as Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism, Chinese folk religions and Christianity. Among them Christianity is the fastest growing and the most significant religion in the multi-ethnic Asian nation as it socially made a remarkable impact on the establishment of modernity in Singapore. The profile of the new western religion in Singapore has changed dramatically since the founding of modern Singapore by Sir Stamford Raffles in 1819. Then, how has the profile of Christianity been changed since the beginning of the nineteenth century? How did the western religion make social influence in Singapore particularly through the Christian mission educations? This section explores the history and development of Christianity: from the earliest mission effort of British and American missionaries, to the settlement of Christianity amidst a highly diversified population in Singapore today. This gives a special attention on how Christianity created social transformations of Singapore through the religious education.

In: Religious Transformation in Modern Asia

Abstract

The king of Thailand is a constitutional monarch and having reigned since 1946, is the world's longest-serving head of state and the longest-reigning monarch in Thai history. The king of Thailand is not only the Head of State and of the Armed Forces he is also the Upholder of the Buddhist religion. As a result he is seen as a unifying figure among its people in the political arena but increasingly it seems that a religious cult has developed around the figure of the king. He is a revered man and holds considerable power and influence among the people. Historically the figure of the Thai monarch has been important in keeping the country politically stable and out of a number of conflicts, with the preference of the Thai monarchy on peace and stability rather than conflict. This paper will examine how the country’s religious background set in Theravada Buddhism affects how the figure of the monarch is constructed and increasingly shows similarities with the role of a spiritual leader not only a political one. I will explore the question of how the Buddhist definition of Kingship affects the mythical narrative surrounding the monarch in Thailand. Setting the context from which I shall approach the issue of in what way the Thai people publicly revere their King in not only secular terms but increasingly religious terms. With modernizing transformations taking place in contemporary Thailand it is noticeable though that the country’s religious background is not lost in the shuffle. Theravada Buddhism is still increasingly important in the country’s social, economic and religious identity. But increasingly the figure of the Monarch takes an all-encompassing figure to exemplify the socio-religious values that Thai’s should aspire to.

In: Religious Transformation in Modern Asia