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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.

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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?

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Edited by A. van Egmond and Dirk van Keulen

The International Reformed Theological Institute (IRTI) was founded in 1995. Its purpose is to create a platform where Reformed theologians from all over the world can meet each other, become acquainted with each other's work, discuss theological issues and stimulate each other in scholarly theological research. The members of IRTI present their work in the series Studies in Reformed Theology. Thus, the volumes of this series offer a perspective on the theological insights and spirituality of Reformed theologians all over the world.

The third volume of Studies in Reformed Theology contains the contributions to the second international conference of the IRTI. Leading theme of the conference was 'Church and Ministery'. Thoughts and experiences, problems and solutions were shared concerning the position of the church and the training of ministers in Reformed churches. Most of the devotional contributions to the conference have been included in this volume as well.

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Joseph Pieper and Marinus van Uden

Joseph Pieper and Marinus van Uden have proposed a book consisting of previously published papers on the topics of religion, coping, and mental health care. It covers quite a bit of territory: the complex relationships between religion and mental health, surveys that present the views of therapists and patients about the interface between religion and mental health, a case study of a religious patient struggling with psychological problems, empirical studies of religious coping among various groups, and a method for teaching the clinical psychology of religion.
Although the papers are diverse, they are unified by several themes. First, the papers convey a balanced approach to religion and psychology. They speak to the potentially positive and negative contributions religion can make to health and well-being. Second, several of the papers focus on the role of religious coping among patients in the Netherlands. This focus is noteworthy since the large majority of this theory and research has been limited to the USA. Third, they underscore the value of a cross-cultural approach to the field. Their surveys point to the importance of religious/worldview perspectives to many patients (and therapists) in the Netherlands, even though the culture is more secularised than the USA. However, their papers also suggest that the manifestation of these religious/worldview perspectives may take different shape in the Netherlands. Fourth, the papers have clinical relevance. The case history of the obsessive-compulsive patient by Van Uden (ch. 4) contains an excellent example of the way in which religious resources can be accessed to counter dysfunctional behaviours.
This volume shows initial effort in a newly emerging area of study. It is encouraging to see a significant body of research and practice on the psychology of religion and coping coming out of the Netherlands. It could stimulate further advances in a more cross-culturally sensitive, clinical psychology of religion. – Kenneth Pargament, Professor of Psychology, Bowling Green State University in Ohio, USA

Religions View Religions

Explorations in Pursuit of Understanding

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Edited by Jerald D. Gort, Henry Jansen and Hendrik M. Vroom

Because religion is so central to the lives and experience of the vast majority of people throughout the world, it figures very prominently in a variety of ways in interhuman relations. Unfortunately, ‘religion’ often appears to be one of the potent sources of mistrust, discord and strife between and among individuals, groups and cultures. What frequently lies at the root of such suspicion and dissension is general ignorance concerning the religious other, a lack of knowledge about his or her beliefs, aspirations and views of the good and morally honorable life. And even if people have some factual knowledge about other religions, they regularly display little understanding of them and their adherents. Learning both to know and understand people of other faiths and their religions is absolutely requisite to the realization of paradigms of coherent and intelligent ‘convivance,’ that is, living together in sensible, peaceable and cooperative harmony.
An effective agency for fostering such knowledge and understanding is the discipline of theology of religions, which examines how religions have and ought to view other religions. And it is particularly the practice of comparative theology of religions which bears the most promise in this regard. The present symposium consists of precisely this kind of comparative exercise and may be viewed as an important contribution to the development of a new project which endeavors to enlarge the horizon and broaden the focus and reflection of theology of religions as that has been gradually developed during the last few decades, a new enterprise, in other words, which seeks to universalize and mutualize theology-of-religions discourse.
One of the important things this volume shows is that the views religions have of other religions differ from one another in very substantial ways, which is explained by the fact that they derive from diverging paradigms of faith, belief and ritual and specific cultural and social contexts. This textbook demonstrates how strongly different Hindu, Buddhist, Shinto and Confucian views are from those of Islam, Judaism and Christianity, which latter in turn also exhibit considerable differences among themselves. These differences are greater than people immersed in their own cultures often realize or expect. It is becoming ever more clear that ignorance of or disinclination to acknowledge or refusal to accept these real differences constitute major root causes of serious conflicts in the world.
The essays in this book, written by representatives of the major world religions, offer descriptive and/or prescriptive appraisals of other religions in general or one other religion in particular from the perspective of the religion of the author concerned. It is hoped that this unique exercise in intercultural theology of religions will generate insights and new forms of understanding which can be used by religious leaders and other educators to help correct the disposition toward religious haughtiness, insularity and communalism and the dangerous leanings toward interreligious suspicion, antipathy and animosity which are all too often evident in our contemporary societies.

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Edited by David O. Moberg and Ralph L. Piedmont

The purpose of this book is to provide an outlet for original research articles examining the role and value of religious and spiritual constructs across the social sciences. The aim of the series is to include an international and interfaith voice to this research dialogue. An effort is made to be interdisciplinary and academically eclectic.

The articles in the current volume represent a wide array of perspectives and research projects. Most of the articles report the findings of quantitative or qualitative investigations, but some deal with methodology, theory, or applications of social science studies in the field of religion, and some are applied, demonstrating the relevance of the social sciences to religious organizations and their clergy.

The value of the volume is that it gives to researchers in this area a broad perspective on the issues and methods of religious research across a spectrum of academic disciplines. The aim of the book is to stimulate a creative, integrative dialogue that will enhance interdisciplinary research.

Series:

Hisakazu Inagaki and J. Nelson Jennings

Philosophical Theology and East-West Dialogue is a unique philosophical and theological analysis of certain key interactions between Eastern and Western thinkers. The book on the one hand contrasts general traits of Eastern, Buddhist thought and Western, Greek thought. However, in doing so it focuses on influential philosophers and theologians who manifest particular instances of wider issues. The result is a careful examination of basic questions that offers both broad implications and concrete specificity in its approach.
The book itself is an instance of East-West dialogue. Independently of each other both authors had previously engaged in serious cross-cultural studies. The Japanese Inagaki had researched Western science and philosophy, then written in Japanese comparative studies of Japanese thought. The North American Jennings had researched Japanese theology. They brought these backgrounds together, dialoguing with each other until the present study emerged.
Several creative Japanese thinkers, as well as important Westerners, are taken up. The study follows the lead of many Eastern impulses, but it also critically utilizes Western methods. Contemporary thinking on religious plurality is carefully examined. This new study is a must for those interested in philosophy and theology in general, and East-West interaction in particular.

The Central Franconian Rhyming Bible ("Mittelfränkische Reimbibel")

An Early-Twelfth-Century German Verse Homiliary. A Thematic and Exegetical Commentary. With the Text and a Translation into English

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David A. Wells

The so-called Central Franconian Rhyming Bible (“Mittelfränkische Reimbibel”), although surviving in only a fragmentary condition, is one of the most thematically wide-ranging works of the neglected corpus of Early Middle High German religious poems of the eleventh and twelfth centuries. In its original form the work may have incorporated Christian world-history from the Creation to the Last Judgement. The surviving fragments point to a substantial engagement by a poet from a northwestern dialectal region on the border of High German, Low German, and Middle Dutch with material from the early Old Testament, the Gospels, and the apocryphal and hagiographical legends relating to early Church history. The commentary is the first comprehensive treatment of the theological and literary subject-matter of the work since that of Hugo Busch in 1879/80, and complements the recent linguistic studies of Thomas Klein. The study of sources and analogues conclusively demonstrates that the text – probably of early-twelfth-century date – is a series of homilies, often closely related to German pre-mendicant sermons, and an important witness to the possible existence of a vernacular sermon tradition at an earlier date than existing manuscript evidence suggests. It also includes features of central importance for knowledge of the text tradition of seminal Christian apocrypha. The substantial introduction and conclusion include a comparison with the Old English homiletic corpus of Ælfric of Eynsham. The commentary is also accompanied by the Middle High German text from Friedrich Maurer’s standard edition, and a straightforward prose translation into English intended to make the neglected work accessible to medievalists of different disciplines.

Dutch Colonialism and Indonesian Islam

Contacts and Conflicts 1596-1950. Second Revised Edition

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Karel Steenbrink

This book tells the story of the contacts and conflicts between muslims and christians in Southeast Asia during the Dutch colonial history from 1596 until 1950. The author draws from a great variety of sources to shed light on this period: the letters of the colonial pioneer Jan Pietersz. Coen, the writings of 17th century Dutch theologians, the minutes of the Batavia church council, the contracts of the Dutch East India Company (VOC) with the sultans in the Indies, documents from the files of colonial civil servants from the 19th and 20th centuries, to mention just a few. The colonial situation was not a good starting-point for a religious dialogue. With Dutch power on the increase there was even less understanding for the religion of the muslims . In 1620 J.P. Coen, the strait-laced calvinist, had actually a better understanding and respect for the muslims than the liberal colonial leaders from the early 20th century, convinced as they were of western supremacy.