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Present-Day Spiritualities

Contrasts and Overlaps

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Edited by Elisabeth Hense, Frans P.M. Jespers and Peter J.A. Nissen

Many forms of present-day Western spirituality contribute to people’s well-being, whereas others have raised criticism. The study of these different forms is, however, complicated by their continuously diverging practices and ideas. By bringing to bear a multidisciplinary approach, the ten specialists of this volume are able to analyze diverse new instances of spirituality, e.g. in religious contexts (Buddhism, Christianity), popular use, organizations and enterprises, (alternative) health service, and works of art. Most contributions also discuss methods and theories. In their editorial chapters, Elisabeth Hense, Frans Jespers and Peter Nissen show the remarkable overlaps in the approaches, definitions and evaluations of the contributions in this volume and provide a theoretical framework. Both the fresh analyses and the theoretical reflections in this volume point the way to new approaches in this field of study.

Contributors include: Jerry Biberman, Mark Elliott, Miguel Farias, Johan Goud, Paul Heelas, Elisabeth Hense, Frans Jespers, Hubert Knoblauch, Peter Nissen, Paul van der Velde

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Edited by Chibueze C. Udeani, Friedrich Reiterer and Klaus Zapotoczky

Religion is today mainly present in the consciousness of people through keywords like fundamentalism, global conflict or violence. But as what is religion understood and how does it affect the society are questions that need to be examined separately. The contributions in this volume will examine the sub-questions that pose themselves in this light: 1) What influence does religion exercise on our social life forms? 2) What are the religious societal prerequisites? And how is visible religion affected by these? 3) How do these questions present themselves both externally and internally in the contemporary perception?

Women and Miracle Stories

A Multidisciplinary Exploration

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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.

Jerusalem, Alexandria, Rome

Studies in Ancient Cultural Interaction in Honour of A. Hilhorst

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Edited by Florentino García Martínez and Gerard P. Luttikhuizen

The present volume has been compiled by colleagues and friends as a tribute to Dr. A. Hilhorst, the Secretary of the Journal for the Study of Judaism, on the occasion of his 65th birthday. Its 23 contributions by renowned international experts, reflect the various interests of the honouree, his approach to the Classical and Semitic languages and literatures as forming part of a continuum, and his attention to the interactions between the different literary corpora.
Several contributions deal with the interaction of the Old Testament with later Jewish, Gnostic, or Christian writings; others explore the influences of Greek writings within a Jewish context at the levels of philology, of theological ideas, of realia, or of influence of literary compositions. Furthermore, a number of contributions centers on the interaction of Greek motives in Jewish and Christian literature, whereas in several others the focus is on the Martyrium literature or on early Christian texts.

Hindu-Christian Dialogue

Theological Soundings and Perspectives

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Mariasusai Dhavamony

Dialogue is an integral part of the mission of the Christian church. The immensity of the ocean of Hindu doctrine and thought presents a significant obstacle to Christians who have been invited by the Roman Catholic Church to “scrutinize the divine Mystery” present in other religions. Many, fascinated by Hindu mysticism, confuse permanent Hindu beliefs with certain current Western religious movements. India’s quest for the divine embodies multiple forms. Its millennia-old methods of meditation and varieties of asceticism often confuse those who are less inclined to experience of an inner spiritual nature. This book attempts to address some of these difficulties and questions. It is the author’s belief that in the Hindu-Christian encounter the Christian believer will also rediscover the originality and newness of the Christian revelation, viz. the intervention of God in the history of salvation whereby God reveals his salvific love in Jesus Christ. Possessing expert knowledge of both Hinduism and Christianity, the author approaches the Hindu-Christian dialogue with sympathy and discernment.

Perspectives on Method and Theory in the Study of Religion

Adjunct Proceedings of the XVIIth Congress of the International Association for the History of Religions, Mexico City, 1995

Edited by Armin Geertz and Russel McCutcheon

This volume collects select papers on methodology in the study of religion that were originally presented at the XVIIth Congress of the International Association for the History of Religions, held in Mexico City in 1995. Granted the status of adjunct proceedings for the Congress, the collection opens with the editors’ detailed survey of the longstanding importance of discussions on methodology within the IAHR. The twenty-one essays which follow examine religion and the history of the study of religion within a variety of theoretical contexts. The essays are organized in terms of three general sub-divisions: general issues in methodology (from the impact of both postmodernism and reflexive anthropology on the study of religion to the politics of religious studies as practiced in different national settings); reflections on the categories commonly employed by scholars working in the field (e.g., “religion,” “syncretism,” “gender,” “New Religious Movements,” “sacred,” “power,” “experience,” etc.), and finally, the collection ends with a review symposium on one of the more sophisticated recent treatments of the problem of defining religion, Benson Saler’s Conceptualizing Religion (Brill, 1993). Despite carrying out their work in a variety of settings—from Denmark and Finland, to Britain, Switzerland, Germany, Canada, the USA, and Mexico—the authors all model a similar approach to studying religion as but one instance of human culture.

Edited by Paul Mirecki and Marvin Meyer

This volume contains a series of provocative essays that explore expressions of magic and ritual power in the ancient world. The essays are authored by leading scholars in the fields of Egyptology, ancient Near Eastern studies, the Hebrew Bible, Judaica, classical Greek and Roman studies, early Christianity and patristics, and Coptic and Islamic Egypt.
The strength of the present volume lies in the breadth of scholarly approaches represented. The book begins with several papyrological studies presenting important new texts in Greek and Coptic, continuing with essays focusing on taxonomy and definition. The concluding essays apply contemporary theories to analyses of specific test cases in a broad variety of ancient Mediterranean cultures.

The Man of Heaven and the Beautiful Ones of God

Writings from Ibandla lamaNazaretha, a South African Church

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Elizabeth Gunner

The role of Africans in the growth and process of Christianity in South Africa in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. In particular the book provides an insight into the role of writing and literacy in the church founded by the South African prophet, Isaiah Shembe, in 1910.
The book provides a substantial, contextualising introduction which includes discussion of the church’s history and its position in contemporary South Africa, and weaves in discussion of the topics of literacy and modernity. The book then moves to the three documents, presented in their language of composition, Zulu and in an English translation. The three ‘books’, each from Shembe’s Nazareth Baptist Church, provide the reader with a fascinating insight into the growth and organisation of one of southern Africa’s most influential African Churches, and into the use and interpretation of the Bible by the church’s founder, Isaiah Shembe, and by church members. Central to the writings is the complex presence of Shembe, present both through his own words in the first book and, in the second book, through the memory of Meshack Hadebe, a member of the church in the 1920’s and 1930’s. The extracts in the third book provide a glimpse of the church’s hymnal and the unique religious poetry of the hymns, authored by Shembe.

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Edited by Karen Middleton

The peoples of Madagascar are renowned for the prominence they give to the dead. In this edited volume, regional specialists reassess the significance of ancestors for changing relations of power, emerging identities, and local historical consciousness.
Case-studies include The Royal Bath of 1817 (Pier Larson), Succession in an Urbanized Sakalava Kingdom (Lesley Sharp), The Antankaraìa Ritual Cycle (Michael Lambek, Andrew Walsh), Nineteenth-Century Norwegian Missionary Culture (Karina Hestad Skeie), Sacrifice on the East Coast (Jennifer Cole), Violence among the Zafimaniry (Maurice Bloch), and Circumcision and Colonialism in the South (Karen Middleton).
Three further chapters present original research on slavery, memory, and cultural politics in the Highlands (Sandra Evers, David Graeber, Françoise Raison-Jourde). Diversity and complexity make this volume a valuable addition to the literature on ritual and religion.