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Holy Scriptures in Judaism, Christianity and Islam

Hermeneutics, Values and Society

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Edited by Hendrik M. Vroom and Jerald D. Gort

One of the prime issues that needs to be addressed in dialogical encounter between the three monotheistic faiths of the world is that concerning the authority and interpretation of Holy Writ, since Jews, Christians and Muslims alike consider their Scriptures to be divine revelation. It is incumbent upon each of these religions to apprise itself of the hermeneutical approach employed by the others in ascribing current meaning to ancient scriptural texts. This is not only important as a means for the enhancement of inter-religious understanding but is also of great interest to society at large. What role does the Jewish Bible, the Christian Bible, and the Qu'ran play in the thinking and the lives of contemporary Jews, Christians, and Muslims? How are these Holy Scriptures interpreted in terms of present-day circumstances? How much room do the three religions allow for bringing their basic messages and biblical-theological traditions into rapport with constantly changing social, political and economic conditions? Is the concept of hermeneutical space acceptable to these religions? If so, in what sense and at what level? Is it possible to identify the scopus of a text and then reconstitute it textually, as it were, in light of the social and ethical questions thrown up by new contextual developments? Can interpretive adjustments be made without jeopardizing the core message of the text involved? And do the three monotheistic religions stand open to one another for influence in this regard? Has one or another of them taken hermeneutical cues from the others? Is there room for mutual learning within the hermeneutical space mentioned above or is this a sacred space closed to all influence from other traditions? These are among the central questions raised and dealt with in this interreligious collection of essays, perhaps the only dialogical symposium to date to deal exclusively with the doctrine and hermeneutics of Holy Scripture in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

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Nathalie Roelens

Tout le monde en conviendra : lire n'est pas une activité de tout repos. La vue y est certes sollicitée, et même d'emblée, mais c'est pour aussitôt s'éclipser. S'il était purement vu, le texte (dans son sens étendu d'objet de l'interprétation) ne serait pas encore lu. La lecture proprement dite aura lieu dès l'instant où je cesse de voir ce qui m'est donné à voir pour me faufiler au-delà. J'embrasse à présent une réalité tri-dimensionnelle, je deviens le texte et le texte m'épouse, je flaire et je ressens, j'hallucine et je jubile, bref : je lis. La lecture sera synesthésique ou ne sera pas. Mon voyeurisme n'est plus trivial mais absolu. Or ce don de voyance que je m'accorde pour pallier mon aveuglement du départ n'est pas sans risques : je ne suis à l'abri ni de la méprise ni de la foi aveugle. Et c'est là le côté ironique de toute lecture. On a beau s'investir dans l'oeuvre, tôt ou tard l'enchantement sera rompu. Je me vois en train de lire, donc je ne lis plus. Le texte me renvoie soudain à mes propres limites. Il n'empêche que cet ébranlement du sujet soit souvent déclencheur d'une expérience esthétique, expérience qui porte également un enseignement : la lecture aujourd'hui engage quiconque s'y adonne à être prêt à abdiquer à chaque instant ou, du moins, à respecter l'illisible et l'inappropriable.
L'aboutissement de ce travail ce confond avec son présupposé majeur : inutile de vouloir maintenir le clivage entre lecture textuelle et lecture tout court (d'une image, du monde, d'un corps désiré, etc.), ce sont leurs empiètements qui restituent à ce geste ancestral et sans doute universel son souffle et son ampleur. Des scènes de perception entravée, lacunaire ou défectueuse, glanées dans le patrimoine littéraire et plastique contemporain (Proust, Cocteau, Michaux, Calvino, Manganelli, De Chirico, Alechinsky, Fuentes, Biély, Nabokov, Gombrowicz et tant d'autres) et appréhendées comme autant de simulacres de l'expérience de lecture, nous ont permis de cerner l'activité lectorielle au plus proche des textes.

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Meyer Birgit

Focusing on images of evil, this paper explores differences between the modes of looking induced by the exposition All About Evil at the Royal Tropical Museum in Amsterdam on the one hand and the Christian setting in which the items on display feature in Ghana on the other. While images of evil are more or less harmless depictions in the context of the exposition, in the Ghanaian setting they may easily slip into evil images that render present the very force that they depict. Tracing the genesis of Christian attitudes towards images of evil in Ghana, the paper focuses on the continued importance of the image of Satan in popular Ghanaian Christianity. It is argued that Christianity propounds a religious aesthetics that induces particular “looking acts” and attitudes towards evil through which images of evil achieve a reality of themselves.

Megan Liu

the memorial affected ongoing discourse and relations? This article not only attempts to shed light on these questions but also, in response, demonstrates that the process of memorialization creates a representation of the past that is, in fact, relevant to the demands of the present through the

Hanmo Zhang

legends associated with the Yellow Emperor as a sage king occupied a significant place in Chinese culture in which venerating him as a person and celebrating his cultural inventions have continued to the present day. 2 Among the earliest extant textual sources mentioning the Yellow Emperor is the

Johannes Kaminski

survival guide for newly appointed magistrates, he realizes that the culprit is above the law. Because Xue Pan’s impunity is not presented as a singular phenomenon but, rather, as a symptom of the thoroughly corrupt and exploitative political system, Li and Lan find that this novel pillories the Jia family

Xie Wenyu

The model of universal values and civilizational transformation, on the one hand, and the model of core values and self awareness, on the other, represent two fundamentally opposing paradigms of dialogue among civilizations. In practice, the former represents an attempt to present the core values of Western civilization as universal values and to demand that non-Western civilizations assimilate to these so-called universal values. Thus the promotion of universal values runs the risk of exacerbating intercivilizational conflict and preventing non-Western civilizations from achieving a deep understanding of the core values of their cultures, even concealing the shortcomings of their own value systems. The paradigm of core values and self awareness, by contrast, emphasizes the importance of retaining innate values and ethics, allowing civilizations to evaluate and update their own value systems as needed. We would therefore do well to adopt core values and self-awareness as the dominant model for dialogue among civilizations.

Emily Williams

Abstract

This essay suggests an alternative strategy for thinking about changes in Chinese society in recent decades, using not economic data or theories of development, but the metaphor of temperature. It argues that the cultural imperative in China has, in recent decades, switched from that of keeping warm to that of keeping cool. This change is made tangible through two key objects: the kang (炕), the northern Chinese heated bed, and the kongtiao (空调), the air conditioner. The antiquity of the kang is explored as an object that is key to the development of Chinese civilization in the inhospitable northern climes. Moving between physical and metaphorical ideas of heat, the essay argues that throughout much of the twentieth-century, heating remained the main focus. Twentieth-century revolutions and mass campaigns under Mao Zedong were undeniably ‘hot,’ aiming to stoke the fire of revolution and radical social change. Under the reforms following Mao’s death, however, politics ‘cooled off:’ the political system crystalized and the frenzy of mass campaigns cooled down. This was accompanied by social changes, including what can be called the rise of individual cool, defined by ironic detachment, hedonism and narcissism. The new cool society and cool persona find their architectural accompaniment in the kongtiao, the air conditioner, which has become a must for urban living, even in north China. The kongtiao is presented as an ultimately unsocial device, a machine with intensive energy requirements that dumps heat into communal spaces in the effort to preserve individual comfort.

Ben Hammer

Journal of Chinese Humanities ( joch ) is an English-language extension of Wen Shi Zhe ( Journal of Literature, History and Philosophy ), one of mainland China’s most respected humanities journals. joch focuses on presenting scholarly work on various aspects of China’s traditional culture

Yin Zhang

. Overall, this outdated book offers a one-sided introduction to Confucianism dictated by Marxist value judgments. Without a charitable interpretative strategy, the authors mangle Daoist insights and fail to accurately present the positions they oppose. Without an adequate appreciation of Western culture