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What does it mean when Christians confess that Jesus was ‘born of the Virgin Mary’? This volume of essays, written by an international group of scholars, approaches this question from various perspectives. From examining the Old Testament backgrounds to exploring the Virgin Birth in various traditions and cultures, each chapter offers fresh perspectives. The contributors explore topics ranging from the Pre-Nicene tradition to modern cinematic interpretations, and from the perspectives of renowned theologians to interfaith dialogue with Islam and Hinduism. Engaging and thought-provoking, this volume promises to illuminate the significance of the Virgin Birth across diverse religious and cultural contexts.
The Image of Jews and Judaism in Biblical Interpretation, from Anti-Jewish Exegesis to Eliminationist Antisemitism
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“Unheil,” curse, disaster: according to German scholar Gerhard Kittel, this is the Jewish destiny attested to in scripture. Such interpretations of biblical texts provided Adolf Hitler with the theological legitimatization necessary to realizing his “final solution.”

But theological antisemitism did not begin with the Third Reich. Ferdinand Baur’s nineteenth-century Judaism-Hellenism dichotomy empowered National Socialist scholars to construct an Aryan Jesus cleansed of his Jewish identity, building on Baur’s Enlightenment prejudices. Anders Gerdmar takes a fresh look at the dangers of the politicization of biblical scholarship and the ways our unrecognized interpretive filters may generate someone else’s apocalypse.
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Abstract

This article sets out to compare the works of Pope Francis’ Laudato Si’ and Leonardo Boff’s Cry of the Earth, Cry of the Poor in the way in which they share a common theme to do with the environmental crisis facing our earth. The similarities include their focus on Latin America, the importance of cross-cultural dialogue, and their concern for the welfare of the poor and other created beings. Both authors argue that anthropocentrism is a misinterpretation of Scripture and that a new cross-cultural dialogue is necessary to address this issue. While Pope Francis advocates using the power of science and technology to create an ‘integral ecology’, Boff prefers to start with cosmology and develop ‘new paradigms’. A comparative study can contribute to a reflection on the relationship between Christian theology and ecology, politics, and human beings; an analysis of anthropocentrism can clarify how human beings deal with their relationship with other created beings.

In: International Journal of Public Theology
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In: International Journal of Public Theology
In: International Journal of Public Theology
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Abstract

This paper describes three basic positions that have been held in relation to the place of religious ideas and reasons in public square deliberation by outlining the arguments of major representatives of each position. The three positions are: ‘obligatory relegation’ (Robert Audi); ‘willing translation’ (John Rawls and Jürgen Habermas), and ‘unreserved declaration’ (Nicholas Wolterstorff and Charles Taylor). I conclude by offering an observation from the survey. Even as the question of the place of religious ideas in public square deliberation can be approached from either broader domains of the secularisation/post-secularisation of societies or the essence of liberal democracy, it is not the domain itself but rather specific conceptions of key ideas or notions within each domain that push the representatives to take the position that they do.

In: International Journal of Public Theology

Abstract

After his death on 11 November 2021, social media in South Africa was immediately inundated with reactions to the mixed legacy of Frederik Willem de Klerk, the last President of South Africa during apartheid (1989–1994) and the former Vice President of Nelson Mandela (1994–1996) under the democratic dispensation. In most transitional justice processes, truth is often required in exchange for reconciliatory or peace accords. With the benefits of the literature review, this article problematises the deficiency of truth-telling or its absence thereof, by beneficiaries of apartheid, with particular stress on statements made by F.W. de Klerk during and after the TRC public hearings. It focuses on truth-telling as a neglected aspect in previous studies examining the work of the TRC. It uses the biblical understanding of the concept of truth as a foundational component of reconciliation to test the authenticity of the acclaimed reconciliation after the TRC hearings.

Open Access
In: International Journal of Public Theology

Abstract

In a period of mass media emergence and renewal of Catholicism after Vatican II, the church initiated into a profound approach to its Social Doctrine on the media. With a theology of communication as a cornerstone, numerous ecclesial documents published during the Papacy of Paul VI explored the implications of the media for society and the internal life of the church. This study aims to analyse the contents on the media addressed in official documents of the Catholic Church during the Pontificate of Paul VI. The conclusions of the research show to what extent communication is a significant issue for public theology and delve into the meaning of the right to information and public opinion, the place of the media in education, the training of communicators and recipients, the importance of the media for the church, and the involvement of Catholics in the media.

In: International Journal of Public Theology