The contest over the resurrection of the body used the scientific authority of Aristotle as ammunition on both sides. Past scholars have read Methodius of Olympus as displaying an anti-Aristotelian bias. In contrast, through close reading of the entire text with attention to characterization and development of argument, I prove that Methodius of Olympus’ dialogue the De Resurrectione utilizes Aristotelian biology as a morally neutral tool. To put this into higher relief, I compare Methodius’ dialogue with the anonymous Dialogue of Adamantius, a text directly dependent upon the Methodius’ De Resurrectione, but which rejects arguments based on scientific reasoning. Reading Methodius’ De Resurrectione with greater attention to the whole and putting it in the context of its nearest parallel text retells the traditional story of early Christian resistance to Aristotle. Methodius of Olympus’ characters, although they view scientific knowledge as subordinate to philosophy, see it as neutral in and of itself.
The book of Sirach plays a larger part within Augustine’s theology than has hitherto been appreciated. This article helps fill this lacuna by examining the role of Sir 34:30 – “What does the bath profit one who is baptized by a dead man?” – in Augustine’s conflict with the Donatists. In addition to showing the significance of this verse within the conflict, I further argue that it allows us to espy the forensic rhetoric that shapes much of Augustine’s anti-Donatist polemic. In particular, I point to techniques of inventio that provide not merely stylistic but also argumentative forms and approaches that Augustine deploys on several fronts.
This article examines the impact of martyrdom literature on the formation of Christian identity in the earliest centuries. Taking a cue from insights from the “linguistic turn” in scholarship, the article examines the function of martyr traditions in identifying suffering as the evidence of true Christian identity, in transforming the martyrs into a perceived elite class of Christians to be emulated, and in promoting a strong, anti-imperial rhetoric. Questions of historical veracity in these texts therefore give way to an analysis of the rhetorical and ideological impact of these stories.
This article focuses attention on the capabilities approach, an increasingly influential approach to human development. The case is made that, in light of its popularity, a Christian public theological engagement with this approach is needed. The various attempts that have been made up until now to engage the capabilities approach from the perspective of Christian theology have been lacking in methodological awareness and clarity. On account of this weakness an explicit methodological framework is developed through a revised form of the method of correlation. For that purpose, the work of Paul Tillich, David Tracy and Dan Browning is put to use. What this revised method leads to in practice is examined through a dialogue with Martha Nussbaum (one of the main proponents of the capabilities approach) and Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
The Covid-19 pandemic presented enormous challenges for secular and religious institutions as well as religion scholars engaged in the critical study of religion. The unique opportunities for scholars of religion include questions about the very nature of our academic work. Inclusive of scholarly research and dissemination, along with the administrative work and service that facilitates this, is academic work to draw from the rich wellspring of the traditions we study and represent, or does it neglect them in the daily affairs of our work? With a particular regional focus, and despite traditional academic disciplinary conventions within the critical study of religion, this article argues that religious traditions and the critical appropriations of their wisdom and ongoing actions provide an important reckoning with the reality of the ever-changing and often terrible conditions in the contemporary world. They provide a critical feature of what it means to cultivate an ecology of ethical responsibility and care.
The issues of elder sexual abuse and sexual freedom in residential care facilities are complicated by the existence of many residents with cognitive impairments of a kind that compromise their ability to make decisions based on informed consent. The issues of elder sexual abuse and sexual freedom in faith-based residential care facilities, in particular, are further complicated by restrictive, theologically based, ethical principles pertaining to sexual activity – for instance, prohibitions on extra-marital sex and the use of prostitutes by residents. The tension that arises must necessarily deal with the integrity of faith-based aged-care facilities and current legislation that promotes the rights of age-care residents to sexual freedoms. In the midst of much public concern about the level and quality of institutional age care this particular aspect seldom attracts notice. It nevertheless exposes a quandary to do with how ought public theology and ethics respond.
Mainstream theological discourses on economic issues tend to concentrate on the disparity between the poor and the powerful. The focus of this writing is on a segment of society often overlooked in such a contrasting approach, namely those who can be identified neither as the poor nor the powerful. Picking up on small business to represent the ‘in-between,’ this article suggests a theological reflection concerning the works of God with those who should be called ‘the small’. It starts with describing the contemporary situation faced by small business, particularly in Asia. The situation is analyzed using the business ethics’ stakeholder approach. The theological response follows the method of a public theology by interacting Christian resources with the situation of small business in relation to their stakeholders. The result is a new construction of public theology starting with the notion of God’s preference for the small.