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In Search of Transcendence

Kierkegaard, Wittgenstein, Kazantzakis

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Jerry H. Gill

This book explores the philosophical/religious thought of Soren Kierkegaard, Ludwig Wittgenstein, and Nikos Kazantzakis in relation to the concept of transcendence. Each of these thinkers has made a strong impact on Western religious and philosophical thought, but each from a nearly completely different angle as well as from a different national background. This comparative study therefore crosses both national and perspectival boundaries. Each of the three thinkers struggled with the notion of transcendence but in uniquely distinct fashion. The conclusion offers yet a third model, the author’s, for understanding transcendence focusing on the concept of “mediation”.

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.

Between Play and Prayer

The Variety of Theatricals in Spiritual Performance

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Anita Hammer

Between Play and Prayer launches Spiritual Performance as a term to cover all human performance which in some way refers to creating the presence of beings or entities from a realm that transgresses the sensorial. This notion covers a great variety of performative genres, ranging from funerary services, spiritualist performances of deceased souls, to spiritual readings. This broad and deep approach to a range of performances is answering a renewed craving for spirituality in contemporary culture. By way of performance theory and aesthetic theory, concepts of faith, belief, experience, play, prayer and theatricality, are set in motion when proposing the necessity of experiencing such performances on their own terms. In depth descriptions of a variety of performances in Norwegian and New Zealand local contexts show the necessity of experiencing and understanding an existential quality in Spiritual Performance. Faith, not credo, is at the heart of spiritual practice. The book represents a new, innovative and trans-disciplinary approach to spirituality in performance. The reading of this book is a must for scholars in the field of theatre- and performance studies, ritual and festival studies, for scholars of religion, and anyone interested in the understanding of spiritual practices.

Edited by Kenneth A. Bryson

Philosophy and Religion is dedicated to a critical study of religious attitudes, values, and beliefs. PAR welcomes a wide variety of philosophical approaches to general and specific topics arising from the whole spectrum of religious traditions.

Philosophy and Religion is a special series in the Value Inquiry Book Series.
Philosophy and Religion is cosponsored by The Centre for the Study of Philosophy and Religion, Cape Breton University, Nova Scotia, Canada.

Trajectories of Religion in Africa

Essays in Honour of John S. Pobee

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Edited by Cephas N. Omenyo and Eric B. Anum

The book, in the main, discusses issues relating to mission, ecumenism, and theological education and is presented in four sections. The first segment discusses works on ecumenical and theological education and assesses the relevance of the World Council of Churches. Other issues discussed in this segment relate to the interrelationships that exist between academic theology, ecumenism, and Christianity. The World Missionary Conference held in Edinburgh in 1910, which set the agenda for world-wide mission in a promising manner in the 1920s, is also assessed in this section of the work.
The second segment, which covers Religion and Public Space, discusses works that examine the relationships between religion and power, religion and development, religion and traditional religious beliefs, and religion and practices in Africa. The third segment of the book treats Religion and Cultural Practices in African and how all these work out in couching out an African theology and African Christianity. Some of the issues discussed in this section related to African traditional philosophy, spiritism, and the interrelationships that exist between African Christianity and African Traditional Religion.
The last segment of the book discusses the issue of African biblical hermeneutics and specifically looks at contemporary hermeneutical approaches to biblical interpretations in Africa.

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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Lourens Minnema

This contribution focuses on Hamlet’s belief in providence and on the early modern kind of Christianity it represents. The key question is whether the figure of Hamlet embodies a literary transformation of a pious Christian into a secular Renaissance subject or the transformation of a secular Renaissance subject into a pious Christian. It will be argued that Hamlet’s “readiness” and “timing” are early modern virtues whose discovery allows Hamlet to combine Christian ideas on providence with secular ideas on fortune without blending them into a new synthesis. The combination of Christian and secular elements in Hamlet’s thinking remains too unstable and too much of a struggle for that. “Readiness” and "timing" are early modern virtues typical of a transitional age of clashing values that need more time to crystallize out than is available under the pressure of early modern life

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Edited by Halina Grzymała-Moszcyńska and Benjamin Beit-Hallahmi

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John H. McClendon

It has been our purpose, in each chapter, to clearly state our position—in conversation with Christianity as a belief system—and especially by asking the guiding question, ‘what is the value of Christianity for the African American community?’ That is to say the value of Christianity in all of its

Reaching for the Sky

Religious Education from Christian and Islamic Perspectives

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Edited by Stella El Bouayadi-van de Wetering and Siebren Miedema

Young people have to make their own way in the world; they have to give meaning to and find meaning in their lives. This is the field of religious education, which is provided by parents, religious leaders, or teachers of religion and worldviews. One of the most important challenges is to educate children in their own religion, emphasizing that religion’s tolerant and peaceful side and to teach children about the beliefs of other traditions. An even more important challenge is to teach them to live together in peace and justice. This volume deals with religious education in Christianity and Islam in specific countries. Scholars in religious education need to know more about the ways in which Muslims and Christians perceive and practice their respective forms of religious education and explore methods that help young people develop their religious identity in accordance with their tradition—and also meet with comrades from other traditions, as the two young Gambian and Dutch women shown on the cover do.
This volume explores the field of Christian and Islamic education. Muslim and Christian scholars from Egypt, Lebanon, Turkey, Indonesia, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands describe various aspects of religious education at school, at home, in the mosque and church, via the media and in peer groups. The papers were presented and discussed at an authors’ conference at VU University Amsterdam, organized in close collaboration between the staff of its Centre of Islamic Theology and other scholars in religious education, and the Islamic Universities League in Cairo. The authors describe actual processes of education, reflect on religious identity formation and respect for other people and the influences from home, school, mosque, and church, the media and “the street.”