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Abstract

This paper explores the dynamic interplay between Christianity and the Roman Empire as articulated by Tertullian, a prominent figure in early Christian theology. Tertullian delves into the complex relationship between the burgeoning Christian faith and the established structures of the Roman Empire, highlighting the inherent tension between the two. Central to his analysis is the concept of dialogue, wherein Tertullian examines how Christians engage with the broader Roman society while maintaining their distinct religious identity. Furthermore, he discusses the conservative nature of Christian thought, emphasizing the preservation of core beliefs amidst external pressures. This paper provides insights into Tertullian’s perspective on the delicate balance between dialogue and the preservation of Christian values within the context of the Roman Empire.

In: Journal of Chinese Theology
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Abstract

The theory of reward for the good and retribution for the evil (善恶报应) was one of the key issues in the dialogue between Catholicism and indigenous religions in the late Ming and early Qing dynasties. Under the monotheistic framework, Catholicism advocates a supernatural God for rewarding good and punishing evil. It thus had a more logical and rigorous theological argumentation at its disposal in its exchanges and dialogues with Chinese native religions on the standards of good and evil, the question of who has the right to reward and punish, the consequences of reward and retribution, and so on. This article begins by analyzing the Confucian theory of stimulus-response between the heaven and human beings (天人感应). Secondly, it sketches the views expressed by the theories of reward for the good and retribution for the evil in Buddhism and Taoism. Then, it discusses the Catholic views on rewarding good and punishing evil during late Ming and early Qing, and also examines the responses of the native religions of China to the Catholic views on rewarding good and punishing evil. Finally, it summarizes the similarities and differences of the theories of reward for the good and retribution for the evil between Catholicism and Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism. As for the intention to do good, there were some commonalities between Catholicism and Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism in the movement to promote good deeds during late Ming and early Qing. However, they were distinct in the perspective of the standards of good and evil, the subjects of retribution, and the roles of individuals in retribution, which caused the conflicts between Catholicism and its opponents in China. The introduction of the Catholic theory of reward for the good and retribution for the evil has undoubtedly further enriched Chinese religious thoughts since the late Ming dynasty.

In: Journal of Chinese Theology
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Abstract

As individualized education increases in popularity, homeschooling likewise garners more attention from Chinese middle-class families. Over the past decade, the number of families choosing homeschooling has increased annually. However, most homeschooling Chinese Protestants wish to focus on the cultivation of beliefs, character, and values in the education of their children. In their eyes, homeschooling provides the best way to transmit cultural heritage.

Homeschooling brings with it many challenges and difficulties in the daily lives of Chinese Protestants: cross-pressure from traditional Chinese culture systems, opposition from parents and other family members, conflicts with mainstream educational institutions, and power struggles with Chinese secular authorities. Moreover, educational resources, guides, and materials for Chinese homeschooling families are scarce, thus leaving homeschooling families to grope in the dark. The biggest deterrent to them is the disqualification of their children from taking college entrance examinations because homeschooled children lack the requisite status to enroll as official students. Thus, the role conflicts among Chinese, Christian, pariah, and legal deviant statuses pose considerable tensions for parents and children.

This paper offers insight into these issues through qualitative analysis of in-depth interviews with 50 respondents from urban Chinese Protestant families that had previously been screened through a brief survey instrument.

In: Journal of Chinese Theology
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In: Journal of Chinese Theology

Abstract

Yoga practices range from religious rituals to secular well-being techniques. However, during the Covid-19-pandemic, the Swiss government restricted recreational group activities, including yoga, while exempting religious practices. Hence, the state classified yoga as a sport, a ruling that a yoga instructor contested, claiming the privileges granted to religious communities by categorising his practices as religious. Based on qualitative interviews and the analysis of official documents, this paper shows how his attempt to enforce state recognition of yoga as religion came at the cost of domestication: Rules issued by the state led to an alignment of yoga practice with traditional forms of religion.

In: Annual Review of the Sociology of Religion. Volume 14 (2023)

Abstract

Studies of Buddhism in Europe notice the relationship between Buddhist practitioners and their social class, but they neglect to go beyond the assessment of middle-class demographic characteristics. Based on a case study of practitioners in France and the Czech Republic, this chapter contends that practitioners embody Buddhism-related practices in a way that reflects a middle-classed interest in self-development. This self-development is focused on disciplined well-being, self-reflexivity, psychological pragmatism, authenticity and the holistic self. The classed origin of this embodiment is obscured by its consistency with the central values of consumer culture. The chapter thus highlights the importance of class analysis for contemporary Buddhism.

In: Annual Review of the Sociology of Religion. Volume 14 (2023)
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Abstract

Based on qualitative first-hand material collected during fieldwork in France in the last decade, and correlated to larger sets of second-hand statistical data, this paper aims at examining the impact of a particular digital technology, namely smartphone applications, on yoga practice. Technologies are often cited as a factor of change for ascetic practices and for the relationship social actors to these practices. Such a subject-matter calls for the implementation of a methodology mixing qualitative approach and statistical information which jointly illuminate the modes of appropriation of yoga by technologies, and of adaptation of technologies to a new open economy of practices. The paper also highlights one of the contradictions of the use of smartphone applications for yoga practice: connect (electronically) to disconnect (mentally and socially)

In: Annual Review of the Sociology of Religion. Volume 14 (2023)
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Abstract

If the Western reception of Hinduism and Buddhism is well known, this is not the case for Taoism, whose interest in the West began in the 1970s in the milieu of Chinese medicine and martial arts before spreading to the general audience. Its teachings and practices have been secularized and hybridized and reduced to a collection of New Age concepts and wellness techniques. This process of westernization and (re)invention of a tradition has led to the creation of a popular western neo-Taoism which evolves between the market of new spiritualities and personal development, new religious movements and more rarely, religious conversion.

In: Annual Review of the Sociology of Religion. Volume 14 (2023)
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Abstract

This paper aims to redress an imbalance in scholarly research on religious diversity in Italy by focusing on the case of Zen Buddhism. Qualitative research on three meditation groups in Sardinia shows that their activities and practitioners’ narratives are relevant to the dynamics of religious globalization across four complementary dimensions: Zen Buddhism as carrier of global culture; processes of glocalization implying the creative use imported Zen meditation techniques; practitioners’ attempt to reposition themselves within the global map of the sacred; and, finally, practitioners’ attitudes toward the implications of science and the economy understood as domains with a global scope.

In: Annual Review of the Sociology of Religion. Volume 14 (2023)

Abstract

The objective of this chapter is to analyze the online religious and meditation practices of Seicho-no-ie (House of Growth) in Brazil during the Covid-19 pandemic. Seicho-no-ie is a Japanese New Religion well known in Brazil for its religious magazines, optimistic statements, and Shinsokan meditation. Starting in March 2020, the religious institution canceled in-person services and began offering religious guidance exclusively online. The study focuses on online activities and publications which responded directly and indirectly to anxieties provoked by the pandemic, emphasizing the role of Shinsokan.

In: Annual Review of the Sociology of Religion. Volume 14 (2023)