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Edited by Hans-Georg Ziebertz, Friedrich Schweitzer, Hermann Häring and Don Browning

A new wave of religious energy is sweeping through the western nations. Although God is disappearing from religious discourse in western culture, both as a word and as a concept, there is a definite undercurrent of religious ardour, which is growing in strength. It focuses all the more attention on the issue: what or who is God in the modern era? This is the question examined through systematic studies, practical theology and empirical research, that are presented here through anthropologically relevant theology. Renowned international authors make it plain in this book: the question of God is exciting again!
This book is published in honour of Johannes A. van der Ven on the occasion of his 60th birthday.

Homer, the Bible, and Beyond

Literary and Religious Canons in the Ancient World


Edited by Margalit Finkelberg and Guy Stroumsa

As distinct from the extant studies of ancient canonical texts, which focus either on literary (Greco-Roman) or religious (Judeo-Christian) canons, the present volume aims at bridging between these two fields by proposing the first comparative study of canon.
An international team of experts discusses the processes of canon-formation in societies of the ancient world, addressing such issues as canon and the articulation of identity; the hermeneutical attitude toward canonical texts; textual fixity and openness; oral and written canons; methods of transmission, and more. Among the topics discussed are Mesopotamian canons; Zoroastrianism; the Bible; Homer; literary and philosophical canons in ancient Greece and Rome; the New Testament; the Roman law; Rabbinic Judaism and Kabbalistic literature.
The future of the so-called Western Canon is one of the most hotly debated issues of the day. There is reason to believe that what is perceived today as a unique crisis, can be put into perspective by students of ancient societies, for the simple reason that the ancient world offers us the historical perspective of civilizations as a whole and allows us to study cultural phenomena in the longue durée.


Maria Leppäkari

Jerusalem as a symbolic expression of hope attracts attention and religious adherence in relation to its physical presence. The study identifies, traces and examines apocalyptic representations of Jerusalem, and illustrates what happens when these become experienced reality. The empirical part of the book shows how these representations become living images in two contemporary groups’ activity in Jerusalem.
Private and public endtime representations of Jerusalem provide meaningful models for interpreting the religious past, present and future. The interplay of these representations also shapes our present images of Jerusalem.

Belief, Bounty, and Beauty

Rituals around Sacred Trees in India


Albertina Nugteren

This study is focused on the interaction of material and symbolic values in the domain of sacred trees in India. By presenting samples from 3,000 years of Indian ritual practice, it is shown that in many sacred geographies trees continue to connect the present with the past, the material with the symbolic, and the contemporary ecological with the traditionally sacred.
Although in India religion may have become very much a temple cult, its embeddedness in the natural world enhances today's 'green' interpretation of religious traditions. That in environmental matters such religious inspiration may be both successful and highly ambivalent at the same time is the thought-provoking position taken in the final chapters.

Scripture and Knowledge

An Essay on Religious Epistemology



At the core of Scripture and Knowledge lies the problem of the nature of religious knowledge. The author argues that religion is a particular framework rather than a particular content or defined set of performances. He sees this framework as epistemological, that is, as one that furnishes believers with a conception of knowledge alternative to that of philosophical reasoning. The thesis on the epistemological nature of religion will be developed by the examination of the concept of scripture as a body of authoritative and even infallible texts. The concept of scripture is presented as one of the constitutive concepts of the epistemological framework of religion. The author argues that the various scriptures and their commentaries should be understood as the arena within which the epistemological process of religion takes place and the central epistemological means by which religious knowledge is made possible.

Divine Foreknowledge and Human Freedom

The Coherence of Theism: Omniscience


William Lane Craig

The ancient problem of fatalism, more particularly theological fatalism, has resurfaced with surprising vigour in the second half of the twentieth century. Two questions predominate in the debate: (1) Is divine foreknowledge compatible with human freedom and (2) How can God foreknow future free acts?
Having surveyed the historical background of this debate in The Problem of Divine Foreknowledge and Future Contingents from Aristotle to Suarez (Brill: 1988), William Lane Craig now attempts to address these issues critically. His wide-ranging discussion brings together a thought- provoking array of related topics such as logical fatalism, multivalent logic, backward causation, precognition, time travel, counterfactual logic, temporal necessity, Newcomb's Problem, middle knowledge, and relativity theory.
The present work serves both as a useful survey of the extensive literature on theological fatalism and related fields and as a stimulating assessment of the possibility of divine foreknowledge of future free acts.

The Pragmatics of Defining Religion

Contexts, Concepts and Contests


Edited by Platvoet and Arie Molendijk

This volume promotes a pragmatic, anti-essentialist and anti-hegemonic approach to the problem of the definition of religion. It argues that definitions of religion are context-bound strategies for pursuing a variety of purposes, extra-academic as well as academic. Religions being immensely varied, complex and multi-functional phenomena, they need to be studied by several academic disciplines from many different perspectives. It is, therefore, legitimate and useful that many definitions of religions are developed. The volume has contributions from scholars in Philosophy of Religion, the Comparative Study of Religions, Anthropology of Religion, Sociology of Religion and Psychology of Religion. It has chapters on the polemics of defining religion in modern contexts, the history of the concept of religion, and the methodology of its definition; it includes several definition proposals.


Mittelalterliche Redekunst in lateinischer Sprache



Medieval history and learning have been deeply influenced by the ancient art of rhetoric. In the past time academic research has concentrated on the rhetorical theories of the Middle Ages ( Artes rhetoricae, Artes praedicandi, Artes arengandi), while the contemporary practice of oratory has been completely neglected. Against the still prevailing opinion the present study shows that there is a medieval tradition of Latin speeches delivered on various occasions. The author presents a number of highly interesting Latin texts each accompanied by a historical introduction, a German translation, and an extensive analysis of the rhetorical quality.

Women and Miracle Stories

A Multidisciplinary Exploration


Edited by Anna Korte

This book contains a multidisciplinary collection of studies on women in miracle stories found in texts ranging from religious classics to contemporary literary fiction. Miracle stories are a genre of great importance for the study of women's religious inheritance and for the historical and cultural understanding of women as 'makers of faith'. Miracle stories are very generally speaking more open to popular religion and culture than, for instance, doctrinal and official ecclesiastical texts, and as such, they can be of special interest to the study of women's lives and religious aspirations. Remarkably, up till now this genre has not been looked at from this point of view. This book aims to open this field for further research by presenting case studies from diverse angles and disciplines.
Some of the questions this book tries to answer are: What do miracle stories specifically tell us about women? Are there some (types of) miracles that are in particular related to (certain groups of) women? What do these stories tell us about women as performers and/or subjects of miracles? What can be said about the social function and religious meaning of miracles by specifically looking at the way certain groups of women are practising and experiencing miracles? By including research on miracle stories in contemporary fiction written by women this book also wants to acknowledge and research the disputed status of 'miracles' as well of 'women' in our present society which is moving from modernity to post-modernity.