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Parrhesia

Ancient and Modern Perspectives on Freedom of Speech

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Edited by Peter-Ben Smit and Eva van Urk

Freedom of speech is a fundamental right in many societies, yet also highly contested. As a right, it can only be appreciated if its historical development is taken into account. Parrhesia offers case studies in freedom of speech, its understanding and exercise throughout history. They enable researchers and policymakers alike to gain an awareness of the complexities, challenges and benefits of freedom of speech. The cases that have been selected are from the field of religion and theology, yet exemplary in character and able to shed light on freedom of speech in other parts of society.

Contributors are: Leon van den Broeke, Jan Krans, Silvia Castelli, Bert Jan Lietaert Peerbolte, Manfred Lang, Bastian Lemitz, Nils Neumann, Kyriakoula Papademetriou, Dirk Jan Schoon, and Peter-Ben Smit.

Christianity and the Roots of Morality

Philosophical, Early Christian and Empirical Perspectives

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Edited by Petri Luomanen, Anne Birgitta Pessi and Illka Pyysiäinen

What is the role of religion, especially Christianity, in morality, pro-social behavior and altruism? Are there innate human moral capacities in the human mind? When and how did they appear in the history of evolution? What is the real significance of Jesus’ teaching in the Sermon on the Mount — does it set up unique moral standards or only crystallize humans’ innate moral intuitions? What is the role of religious teachings and religious communities in pro-social behavior? Christianity and the Roots of Morality: Philosophical, Early Christian, and Empirical Perspectives casts light on these questions through interdisciplinary articles by scholars from social sciences, cognitive science, social psychology, sociology of religion, philosophy, systematic theology, comparative religion and biblical studies.

Contributors include: Nancy T. Ammerman, István Czachesz, Grace Davie, Jutta Jokiranta, Simo Knuuttila, Kristen Monroe, Mika Ojakangas, Sami Pihlström, Antti Raunio, Heikki Räisänen (✝), Risto Saarinen, Kari Syreeni, Lauri Thurén, Petri Ylikoski.

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Dana Freibach-Heifetz

In Secular Grace Dana Freibach-Heifetz addresses the crisis of modernity, proposing an ethic of love based on a new philosophical concept of “secular grace" as intersubjective relations.
Anchored in secular humanism as well as within the existentialist tradition, yet recognizing their limitations, Secular Grace seeks to protrude them by means of dialogue with their other: Christianity. Inspired by a variety of intellectual roots from ancient Greece to post modernist thinkers - chiefly the deliberations of Buber and Levinas in the encounter with the other, and notions of gift and friendship – it offers a rich concept of Secular Grace. It furthermore examines the possibilities of grace towards the dead, self-grace and secular salvation.

Exploring Jesuit Distinctiveness

Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Ways of Proceeding within the Society of Jesus

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Edited by Robert Aleksander Maryks

The volume theme is the distinctiveness of Jesuits and their ministries that was discussed at the first International Symposium on Jesuit Studies held at Boston College’s Institute for Advanced Jesuit Studies in June 2015. It explores the quidditas Jesuitica, or the specifically Jesuit way(s) of proceeding in which Jesuits and their colleagues operated from historical, geographical, social, and cultural perspectives. The collection poses a question whether there was an essential core of distinctive elements that characterized the way in which Jesuits lived their religious vocation and conducted their various works and how these ways of proceeding were lived out in the various epochs and cultures in which Jesuits worked over four and a half centuries; what changed and adapted itself to different times and situations, and what remained constant, transcending time and place, infusing the apostolic works and lives of Jesuits with the charism at the source of the Society of Jesus’s foundation and development.

Thanks to generous support of the Institute for Advanced Jesuit Studies at Boston College, this volume is available in Open Access.

Changes in Ethical Worldviews of Spanish Missionaries in Mexico

An Ethical Transition from Sight to Touch in the 16th and 17th Centuries

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Ran Tene

"Conversion" is a basic religious concept, which has manifold implications for our everyday lives. Ran Tene's Changes in Ethical Worldviews of Spanish Missionaries in Mexico utilizes a cross-disciplinary methodology in which the fields of Philosophy, History, and Literary Studies are drawn upon to analyze conversion. He focuses on two moments in Spanish writing about Mexican missions, the early to mid-sixteenth century writings of the Spanish missionaries to Mexico and the early seventeenth century manuscripts of the author/copyist Fray Juan de Torquemada. The analysis exposes changes in worldviews - including the concepts of identity, ownership, and cruelty - through missionary eyes. It suggests two theoretical models - the vision model and the model of touch - to describe these changes, which are manifested in the missionary project and in the texts that it (re)produced.

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Michelle M. Hamilton

In Beyond Faith: Belief, Morality and Memory in a Fifteenth-Century Judeo-Iberian Manuscript, Michelle M. Hamilton sheds light on the concerns of Jewish and converso readers of the generation before the Expulsion. Using a mid-fifteenth-century collection of Iberian vernacular literary, philosophical and religious texts (MS Parm. 2666) recorded in Hebrew characters as a lens, Hamilton explores how its compiler or compilers were forging a particular form of personal, individual religious belief, based not only on the Judeo-Andalusi philosophical tradition of medieval Iberia, but also on the Latinate humanism of late 14th and early 15th-century Europe. The form/s such expressions take reveal the contingent and specific engagement of learned Iberian Jews and conversos with the larger Iberian, European and Arab Mediterranean cultures of the 15th-century.

In the Vale of Tears

On Marxism and Theology, V

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Roland Boer

In the Vale of Tears brings to a culmination the project for a renewed and enlivened debate over the interaction between Marxism and religion. It does so by offering the author's own response to that tradition. It simultaneously draws upon the rich insights of a significant number of Western Marxists and strikes out on its own. Thus, it argues for the crucial role of political myth on the Left; explores the political ambivalence at the heart of Christianity; challenges the bent among many on the Left to favour the unexpected rupture of kairós as a key to revolution; is highly suspicious of the ideological and class alignments of ethics; offers a thorough reassessment of the role of fetishism in the Marxist tradition; and broaches the question of death, unavoidable for any Marxist engagement with religion. While the book is the conclusion to the five-volume series, The Criticism of Heaven and Earth, it also stands alone as a distinct intervention in some burning issues of our time.

Winner of the 2014 Isaac and Tamara Deutscher Memorial Prize.

Looking Beneath the Surface

Medical Ethics from Islamic and Western Perspectives

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Edited by Hendrik M. Vroom, Petra Verdonk, Marzouk Aulad Abdellah and Martina C. Cornel

Looking Beneath the Surface explores Arab-Islamic and Western perspectives on medical ethical issues: genetic research and treatment, abortion, organ donation, and palliative sedation and euthanasia. The contributions in this volume discuss the state of the (medical) art, the role of laws, counseling, and spiritual counseling in the decision-making process.
The different approaches to the ethical issues, ways of moral reasoning, become clear in these contributions, especially the role of tradition for Islam and the importance of autonomy for the West. Beneath the differences, however, the reader will also discover common values, such as the role of dignity and the value of life, and similar practices. Some of the main differences are sociocultural in nature, rather than religious as such.
Well-known experts in the fields of medicine and ethics have contributed to this volume from different religious and secular backgrounds. The book offers a carefully written introduction and final chapter on intercultural comparisons. Looking Beneath the Surface is more than a collection of writings on issues in medical ethics: it helps the reader to compare different paradigms of accountability and moral reasoning.

Agents of uncertainty

Mysticism, scepticism, Buddhism, art and poetry

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John Danvers

Through an analysis of many different examples, Danvers articulates a new way of thinking about mysticism and scepticism, not as opposite poles of the philosophical spectrum, but as two fields of enquiry with overlapping aims and methods. Prompted by a deep sense of wonder at being alive, many mystics and sceptics, like the Buddha, practice disciplines of doubt in order to become free of attachment to fixed appearances, essences and viewpoints, and in doing so they find peace and equanimity. They develop ways of living with impermanence and the unexpected by letting go of adherence to dogmatic beliefs and by suspending judgement. In common with many artists and poets they act as agents of uncertainty, actively disturbing the routines and habits of day-to-day thought and behaviour in order to demonstrate how to maintain a sense of balance and spontaneity in the midst of life’s difficulties. Topics explored include: being and self as process; mysticism and language; scepticism and dogmatism; Buddhism, interdependence and emptiness; Daoism and impermanence; dialectics of doubt in art and poetry. Written in a lively and accessible style, accompanied by drawings and photographs by the author, this volume is aimed at scholars, artists, teachers, and anyone interested in philosophy, religion, art, poetry and ways of being.

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Edited by Nelly van Doorn-Harder and Lourens Minnema

The various Christian, Muslim, traditional (African), and secular (Western) ways of imagining and coping with evil collected in this volume have several things in common. The most crucial perhaps and certainly the most striking aspect is the problem of defining the nature or characteristics of evil as such. Some argue that evil has an essence that remains constant, whereas others say its interpretation depends on time and place.
However much religious and secular interpretations of evil may have changed, the human search for sense and meaning never ends. Questions of whom to blame and whom to address—God, the devil, fate, bad luck, or humans—remain at the center of our explanations and our strategies to comprehend, define, counter, or process the evil we do and the evil done to us by people, God, nature, or accident. Using approaches from cultural anthropology, religious studies, theology, philosophy, psychology, and history, the contributors to this volume analyze how several religious and secular traditions imagine and cope with evil.