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Edited by Jason N. Blum

The traditions and institutions that we call religions abound with references to the supernatural: ancestral spirits, karma, the afterlife, miracles, revelation, deities, etc. How are students of religion to approach the behaviors, doctrines, and beliefs that refer to such phenomena, which by their very nature are supposed to defy the methods of empirical research and the theories of historical scholarship? That is the question of methodological naturalism. The Question of Methodological Naturalism offers ten thoughtful engagements with that perennial question for the academic study of religion. Contributors include established senior scholars and newer voices propounding a range of perspectives, resulting in both surprising points of convergence and irreconcilable differences in how our shared discipline should be conceptualized and practiced.

The Science of Religion: A Defence

Essays by Donald Wiebe

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Donald Wiebe

Edited by Anthony Palma

Donald Wiebe, Professor of Philosophy of Religion at Trinity College, University of Toronto, has spent much of his academic career arguing for a clear demarcation between Theology and Religious Studies. The Science of Religion: A Defence offers a brilliant overview of Professor Wiebe's contributions on methodology in the academic study of religion, of the development of his thinking over time, and of his intellectual commitment to 'a science of religion'.

The work is divided into three parts. The first part identifies pertinent connections between 'religion', 'religious studies', and 'science' and why 'reductionism' in the academic study of religion, when properly applied, can bridge the explanatory gap between the sceptic and the devotee. The second part treats conceptual debates in the academic study of religion, with particular reference to the place of 'belief', 'understanding', and 'meaning' in the modern study of religion. The third part addresses the theological resistance to the scientific study of religion and how that resistance can be overcome. Finally, two new essays are included: a critique on ‘The Preconceptions of a Science of Religion’ by Anthony J. Palma, and an accompanying reply by Donald Wiebe.

The Science of Religion: A Defence is an essential resource for both scholarly and non-scholarly audiences alike, and will be of particular interest to both defenders and critics of a scientific study of religion.

Sociality as the Human Condition

Anthropology in Economic, Philosophical and Theological Perspective 

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Rebekka A. Klein

In addition to being contemplated in the classical disciplines of anthropology, human sociality has been subjected to scientific examination in the natural and social sciences. This book offers a substantial discussion of empirical research programs within current economics (experimental and neuroeconomics), with special regard to the themes of reciprocity and altruism. These themes are discussed from a philosophical perspective informed by phenomenology and hermeneutics, and linked to theories of conflict, recognition and alterity in social philosophy, which are used to show the limitations of the purely science-based naturalistic approaches in economics. Finally, the book introduces the concept of the neighbor in Christian theology and shows how this figure brings a new perspective to the examination of human sociality.

Diversity in the Structure of Christian Reasoning

Interpretation, Disagreement, and World Christianity

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Joshua Broggi

Diversity in the Structure of Christian Reasoning examines the effect of Christian commitments on rationality. When Christians read scripture, traditions supply concepts that shape what counts as normal, good, and true. This book offers an account of how different communities produce divergent readings of the Bible. It considers two examples from World Christianity, first a Bakongo community in central Africa, and then a Tamil bishop in southern India. Each case displays a relation between tradition and reason that reconfigures the hermeneutical picture developed by Martin Heidegger and Hans-Georg Gadamer. To see what transpires when readers decide about a correct interpretation, this book offers theologians and scholars of religion a fresh strategy that keeps in view the global character of modern Christianity.

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Edited by John Swinton and Brian Brock

This book significantly deepens the contemporary discussion of the theology and practice of adopting children. Though adoption appears prominently in Scripture, contemporary adoption practice has thus far proceeded without serious theological engagement. This book seeks to fill this gap by offering a theological and ethical perspective on adoption that not only clarifies and complicates contemporary understandings of adoption, but also throws fresh light on family, community, vocation, and even what it means to be human. Both interdisciplinary and international, the volume is brings together theologians and ethicists from Europe, the UK, Canada and the United States. A rich set of reflections from both practical and theoretical perspectives offers a unique and uniquely insightful vision of Christian adoption.

Contributors are: Dale P. Andrews, Jana Marguerite Bennett, Marco Derks, R. Ruard Ganzevoort, Bill McAlpine, Kirsten Sonkyo Oh, Sarah Shea, Paul Shrier, Henning Theißen, Hans. G. Ulrich, Karin Ulrich-Eschemann, Heather Walton, Brent Waters, Nick Watson.