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Religions, Volume 12, Issue 5 (May 2021) – 84 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): This study examines the role of dairy products in medieval China and Japan with a specific focus on the transfer of material culture between these two countries. The dairy industry in China was initially prompted into existence by the use of milk and milk products in medical applications, but eventually demand for these items was increased due to their use in Buddhism and Daoism. From the seventh century, dairy was introduced to Japan where it was consumed largely by the aristocracy and Buddhist institutions. Buddhists in both China and Japan were particularly interested in reproducing the culinary conventions of their counterparts in India—hence their interest in dairy products. The study of dairy in these contexts, therefore, constitutes an intriguing example of a transfer of material culture that was informed by both medicine and religion. View this paper
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Article
Sex Manuals in Malay Manuscripts as Another Transcript of Gender Relations
Religions 2021, 12(5), 368; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel12050368 - 20 May 2021
Viewed by 3491
Abstract
This article interprets the narratives of sex manuals produced within the Malay-Indonesian archipelago before the coming of Western colonialism and the dawn of postcolonial Islamic resurgence. In the collection of Malaysian libraries and museums, these manuscripts are largely classified as Kitab Jimak and [...] Read more.
This article interprets the narratives of sex manuals produced within the Malay-Indonesian archipelago before the coming of Western colonialism and the dawn of postcolonial Islamic resurgence. In the collection of Malaysian libraries and museums, these manuscripts are largely classified as Kitab Jimak and Kitab Tib. They are all written in the Malay language with indigenous references, though the contents are likely derived from a common genre of texts transmitted from an early Arab-Islamic world and circulated within the region before the coming of European colonialism. The corpora of sexual knowledge in these texts emphasises the valorisation of sexual pleasure in conjugal relationships. Through an extensive list of prescriptions—from sexual techniques to diet, food taboos, medicine, pharmacopoeia, mantras, charms, and astrological knowledge—a near-sacral sexual experience is aspired. Couples are guided in their attainment of pleasure (nikmat) through the adherence of Islamic ethics (akhlak), rules (hukum), and etiquette (tertib). The fulfilment of women’s desire in the process is central in these observances. Nevertheless, despite placing much emphasis on mutual pleasure, these texts also contain ambiguous and paradoxical pronouncements on the position of women, wavering from veneration to misogyny. The article also highlights how intertextual studies of similar texts throughout the Islamic world can be a new focus of studies on the early history of gender and sexuality in Islam. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Marriage, Intimacy, Gender and Islam in Southeast Asia)
Article
Orthodox Christian Bulgarians Coping with Natural Disasters in the Pre-Modern Ottoman Balkans
Religions 2021, 12(5), 367; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel12050367 - 20 May 2021
Viewed by 707
Abstract
Premodern Ottoman society consisted of four major religious communities—Muslims, Orthodox Christians, Armenian Christians, and Jews; the Muslim and Christian communities also included various ethnic groups, as did Muslim Arabs and Turks, Orthodox Christian Bulgarians, Greeks, and Serbs who identified, in the first place, [...] Read more.
Premodern Ottoman society consisted of four major religious communities—Muslims, Orthodox Christians, Armenian Christians, and Jews; the Muslim and Christian communities also included various ethnic groups, as did Muslim Arabs and Turks, Orthodox Christian Bulgarians, Greeks, and Serbs who identified, in the first place, with their religious community and considered ethnic identity of secondary importance. Having lived together, albeit segregated within the borders of the Ottoman Empire, for centuries, Bulgarians and Turks to a large extent shared the same world view and moral value system and tended to react in a like manner to various events. The Bulgarian attitudes to natural disasters, on which this contribution focuses, apparently did not differ essentially from that of their Turkish neighbors. Both proceeded from the basic idea of God’s providence lying behind these disasters. In spite of the (overwhelmingly Western) perception of Muslims being passive and fatalistic, the problem whether it was permitted to attempt to escape “God’s wrath” was coped with in a similar way as well. However, in addition to a comparable religious mental make-up, social circumstances and administrative measures determining equally the life conditions of both religious communities seem to provide a more plausible explanation for these similarities than cross-cultural influences. Full article
Article
The Carol about the Pagan Rite of Sacrifice of a Goat and Its Interpretation in Russian Scholarship of the 19th to 20th Centuries
Religions 2021, 12(5), 366; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel12050366 - 20 May 2021
Viewed by 623
Abstract
In publications of Russian folklore, along with authentic texts there are a number of literary stylizations based on folklore. The article traces the history of one such pseudo-folkloric text—a carol which was first published by Ivan Petrovich Sakharov (1807 to 1863) in 1837. [...] Read more.
In publications of Russian folklore, along with authentic texts there are a number of literary stylizations based on folklore. The article traces the history of one such pseudo-folkloric text—a carol which was first published by Ivan Petrovich Sakharov (1807 to 1863) in 1837. It has been established that this carol is a montage of two texts: the first is a carol, printed in 1817 by I.E. Sreznevsky in the Ukrainian Bulletin, and the second is a song included in the Tale of Brother Ivanushka and his Sister Alyonushka (SUS 450). Such contamination is unique and is found only in this one text, which was later reprinted many times. Taking into account Sakharov’s reputation as a falsifier of folklore, there is no reason to doubt that it was he who composed this carol; such contamination of works belonging to different folkloric genres is also characteristic of other of Sakharov’s publications. The carol that Sakharov published attracted the particular interest of researchers of Slavic mythology due to the fact that it described how an old man was going to sacrifice a goat. Several generations of historians saw in this pseudo-folkloric text a description of a ritual that pagan Slavs performed in ancient times. Considering the carol as an historical document, researchers of mythology built their interpretations based on the supposed time of its appearance, the nature of its genre, plot, and individual details. Thus, Sakharov’s pseudo-folkloric creation found an eager audience among scholars, and it stimulated their imagination in picturing the life of pagan Rus’. Full article
Article
Utraquist Bohemia and the English Martyrs: An Uncommon Witness of Reform
Religions 2021, 12(5), 365; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel12050365 - 20 May 2021
Viewed by 572
Abstract
The relationship between the Bohemian reform movements of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries and the events associated with the traditionally-nominated Reformations of the sixteenth century has been a much understudied topic amongst historians and theologians. There are a number of points of entry [...] Read more.
The relationship between the Bohemian reform movements of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries and the events associated with the traditionally-nominated Reformations of the sixteenth century has been a much understudied topic amongst historians and theologians. There are a number of points of entry for comparison and analysis. One overlooked text is Pavel Bydžovský’s “Several Stories of English Martyrs (with Whom God Deigned to Decorate His Church Just Like the Heaven with Stars)” that was published in 1554. Bydžovský’s treatise, which has not been examined in modern times, offers a remarkable opportunity as an illustration of the little studied or understood Utraquist theological and ecclesiological position. This is displayed by Bydžovský’s sponsorship (especially that of Jan III, Popel z Lobkovic), his relationship to Catholicism and Lutheranism, and by his use of sources (especially, Venerable Bede, Reginald Pole, the Guildhall Report). Thus, the Bydžovský text is useful for the elaboration of the religious relationships that existed between Bohemia and England in the sixteenth century. The text further contributes an important witness to the theological and ecclesiastical via media represented by the Utraquist tradition between Rome on one hand and Wittenberg and Geneva on the other. This is most graphically displayed in what can only be characterized as a highly qualified allegiance to the papacy. This contribution to expanding knowledge around the definition and understanding of Reformation presents a full translation of Pavel Bydžovský’s treatise on the English Martyrs and this is preceded by a contextual commentary that endeavors to more meaningfully bring a forgotten text into the cutting edge of scholatship. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Hussite Movement and its Reformation Legacy)
Article
Institutional Religious Freedom: An Overview and Defense
Religions 2021, 12(5), 364; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel12050364 - 20 May 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 655
Abstract
The idea of institutional religious freedom has become increasingly controversial, especially in the United States, and pressure for such freedom has been growing. The notion that institutions, including commercial ones, can have religious freedom rights has been described as unprecedented. However, the notion [...] Read more.
The idea of institutional religious freedom has become increasingly controversial, especially in the United States, and pressure for such freedom has been growing. The notion that institutions, including commercial ones, can have religious freedom rights has been described as unprecedented. However, the notion of such religious freedom has deep historical roots in a wide range of settings, is deeply intertwined with the growth of free societies, and is tied to the nature of religions themselves. This also applies to religious commercial institutions, which are far more widespread than commonly recognized. I focus particularly on what is it about such institutions that needs protecting and emphasize that what is central is the particular practice that typifies the organization. It needs the freedom to be what it is and to live out a religious commitment. If this calling is denied or subverted, then the institution loses its raison d’être. One of the principal reasons for forbidding government discrimination on matters such as religion is precisely so that private institutions will be able to appropriately employ staff and carry out policies according to their own particular beliefs as to what supports their distinctive mission. Governmental neutrality is intended to be a foundation for a lively and diverse societal pluralism, not for society to become a mirror of the government itself. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Freedom of Religious Institutions in Society)
Essay
Weaning Away from Idolatry: Maimonides on the Purpose of Ritual Sacrifices
Religions 2021, 12(5), 363; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel12050363 - 19 May 2021
Viewed by 647
Abstract
This essay explores Maimonides’ explanation of the Bible’s rationale behind the ritual sacrifices, namely to help wean the Jews away from idolatrous rites. After clearly elucidating Maimonides’ stance on the topic, this essay examines his view from different angles with various possible precedents [...] Read more.
This essay explores Maimonides’ explanation of the Bible’s rationale behind the ritual sacrifices, namely to help wean the Jews away from idolatrous rites. After clearly elucidating Maimonides’ stance on the topic, this essay examines his view from different angles with various possible precedents in earlier rabbinic literature for such an understanding. The essay also shows why various other Jewish commentators objected to Maimonides’ understanding and how Maimonides might respond to those critiques. Additionally, this essay also situates Maimonides’ view on sacrifices within his broader worldview of the Bible’s commandments in general as serving as a counterweight to idolatrous rituals. Full article
Article
God’s Will as the Foundation of Morality: A Medieval Historical Perspective
Religions 2021, 12(5), 362; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel12050362 - 19 May 2021
Viewed by 625
Abstract
Theological voluntarism places the foundation of morality in the will of God. The formulation of such a thesis warrants further refinement. Different formulations of theological voluntarism were put forward in medieval philosophical theology involving the relation of God’s will to the divine intellect [...] Read more.
Theological voluntarism places the foundation of morality in the will of God. The formulation of such a thesis warrants further refinement. Different formulations of theological voluntarism were put forward in medieval philosophical theology involving the relation of God’s will to the divine intellect (reason) in determining ethical status. The fourteenth century Franciscan Andrew of Neufchateau maintained a purely voluntaristic theory in which it is God’s will alone (and not the divine intellect) that determines ethical status. Subsequently Pierre d’Ailly worked with a divine will which is identical with the divine intellect in a strong sense while still maintaining that it is properly assigned to the divine will to be an obligatory law. Later, Jean Gerson, a student of Pierre d’Ailly, spoke explicitly of God’s will and reason together as involved in God’s activity in the ethical realm. In this paper, we set out these three different formulations of theological voluntarism, tracing the evolution of medieval formulations of theological voluntarism. Although the paper is historical in nature, we conclude with some reflections on how contemporary philosophers and theologians interested in theological voluntarism might profit from study of this historical literature. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue God, Ethics, and Christian Traditions)
Article
“Buddhism for Chinese Readers”: Zhi Qian’s Literary Refinements in the Foshuo pusa benye jing
Religions 2021, 12(5), 361; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel12050361 - 19 May 2021
Viewed by 727
Abstract
The present article continues the modern scholarship on the transmission of Buddhism from India to China by focusing on one of the most influential figures among the early Chinese Buddhist translators, namely, Zhi Qian (支謙, ca. 193–252 CE). His translation style is characterized [...] Read more.
The present article continues the modern scholarship on the transmission of Buddhism from India to China by focusing on one of the most influential figures among the early Chinese Buddhist translators, namely, Zhi Qian (支謙, ca. 193–252 CE). His translation style is characterized as “kaleidoscopic,” as Jan Nattier describes, due to the high degree of diversity and variability in his language and terminology. In this study, we explore Zhi Qian’s literary refinements from the lexical, stylistic, and conceptual points of view based on his Foshuo pusa benye jing (佛說菩薩本業經, T. 281) in close conjunction with three related sūtras, the Foshuo dousha jing (佛説兜沙經, T. 280), the Zhu pusa qiufo benye jing (諸菩薩求佛本業經, T. 282), and the Pusa shizhu xingdao pin (菩薩十住行道品, T. 283), all attributed to Lokakṣema. We specifically discuss how Zhi Qian produced such a polished and “sinicised” version with various modes of literary modifications (e.g., using wenyan elements, four-syllable prosodic pattern, diverse vocabulary, and indigenous Chinese concepts) within the context of his life and times. In this article, we also argue that his main aim in producing the Foshuo pusa benye jing was to provide a more classical, elegant, and readable Buddhist scripture to the Chinese readers, but that he had to sacrifice being able to faithfully reflect the language used in the original Indic texts. Full article
Article
The Bohemian Brethren and the Protestant Reformation
Religions 2021, 12(5), 360; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel12050360 - 19 May 2021
Viewed by 630
Abstract
The smallest, but in some ways the most influential, church to emerge from the Hussite Reformation was the Unity of the Brethren founded by Gregory the Patriarch in 1457. The Unity was a voluntary church that separated entirely from the established churches, and [...] Read more.
The smallest, but in some ways the most influential, church to emerge from the Hussite Reformation was the Unity of the Brethren founded by Gregory the Patriarch in 1457. The Unity was a voluntary church that separated entirely from the established churches, and chose its own priests, published the first Protestant hymnal and catechism, and operated several schools. Soon after Martin Luther broke with Rome, the Brethren established cordial relations with Wittenberg and introduced their irenic and ecumenical theology to the Protestant Reformation. Over time, they gravitated more toward the Reformed tradition, and influenced Martin Bucer’s views on confirmation, church discipline, and the Eucharist. In many ways, the pacifist Brethren offered a middle way between the Magisterial Reformation and the Radical Reformation. Study of the Brethren complicates and enhances our understanding of the Protestant Reformation and the rise of religious toleration in Europe. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Hussite Movement and its Reformation Legacy)
Article
Religion in Creating Populist Appeal: Islamist Populism and Civilizationism in the Friday Sermons of Turkey’s Diyanet
Religions 2021, 12(5), 359; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel12050359 - 18 May 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 836
Abstract
Drawing on the extant literature on populism, we aim to flesh out how populists in power utilize religion and related state resources in setting up aggressive, multidimensional religious populist “us” versus “them” binaries. We focus on Turkey as our case and argue that [...] Read more.
Drawing on the extant literature on populism, we aim to flesh out how populists in power utilize religion and related state resources in setting up aggressive, multidimensional religious populist “us” versus “them” binaries. We focus on Turkey as our case and argue that by instrumentalizing the Diyanet (Turkey’s Presidency of Religious Affairs), the authoritarian Islamists in power have been able to consolidate manufactured populist dichotomies via the Diyanet’s weekly Friday sermons. Populists’ control and use of a state institution to propagate populist civilizationist narratives and construct antagonistic binaries are underexamined in the literature. Therefore, by examining Turkish populists’ use of the Diyanet, this paper will make a general contribution to the extant literature on religion and populism. Furthermore, by analyzing the Diyanet’s weekly Friday sermons from the last ten years we demonstrate how different aspects of populism—its horizontal, vertical, and civilizational dimensions—have become embedded in the Diyanet’s Friday sermons. Equally, this paper shows how these sermons have been tailored to facilitate the populist appeal of Erdoğan’s Islamist regime. Through the Friday sermons, the majority—Sunni Muslim Turks are presented with statements that evoke negative emotions and play on their specific fears, their sense of victimhood and through which their anxieties—real and imagined—are revived and used to construct populist binaries to construct and mobilize the people in support of an authoritarian Islamist regime purported to be fighting a “civilizational enemy” on behalf of “the people”. Finally, drawing on insights from the Turkish case, we illustrate how the “hosting” function of the civilizational aspect plays a vital role in tailoring internal (vertical and horizontal) religious populist binaries. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion, Nationalism and Populism across the North/South Divide)
Article
A Reinterpretation of Hindu Spirituality for Addressing Environmental Problems
Religions 2021, 12(5), 358; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel12050358 - 18 May 2021
Viewed by 665
Abstract
Global environmental change is a serious threat to our existence and requires immediate actions from every dimension of our efforts. The cultural pathway has much potential to address environmental problems because it is expected to promote environment-friendly behavior in people. However, its implementation [...] Read more.
Global environmental change is a serious threat to our existence and requires immediate actions from every dimension of our efforts. The cultural pathway has much potential to address environmental problems because it is expected to promote environment-friendly behavior in people. However, its implementation on the ground requires a wise coordination of the cultural and scientific ways of thinking. Hinduism has great potential to embrace environment-friendly behavior due to its receptivity to change and tendency of adopting and theologizing new developments. However, due to the presence of a wide gap between theoretical philosophy and actual practices, the potential of environmental sensibility, inherent in Hindu spirituality, could not be harnessed. Here, I reinterpret the key concepts of Hinduism in the light of modern scientific wisdom for their synchronization with current challenges. I identify some solutions for promoting environment-friendly practices in Hinduism through the coordination of science and culture. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hinduism, Jainism, Yoga and Ecology)
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Article
Religion: Interrelationships and Opinions in Children and Adolescents. Interaction between Age and Beliefs
Religions 2021, 12(5), 357; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel12050357 - 18 May 2021
Viewed by 596
Abstract
The current trend of secularization seems to be leading to a gradual withdrawal of religion from public spaces. However, in an increasingly internationalized world, it is becoming more and more important to study the roles of religion and religiosity and their potential in [...] Read more.
The current trend of secularization seems to be leading to a gradual withdrawal of religion from public spaces. However, in an increasingly internationalized world, it is becoming more and more important to study the roles of religion and religiosity and their potential in relation to dialogue and social conflicts and tensions. Education is a vital field within which to address this religious issue and create an educational dialogue in order to promote coexistence. By following a quantitative, descriptive, cross-sectional study, based on a quasi-experimental methodology with a social–analytical character, our aim is to assess the existing connections between religion, interrelation and opinion in Spanish children and adolescents. Special attention is paid to the interaction between age and beliefs. We carried out our study with the use of a questionnaire distributed to eleven secondary schools, with students aged between 11 and 16 years old, in three regions of southern Spain (Andalusia, Ceuta, and Melilla) characterized by high religious diversity and multiculturalism. The multivariate analysis carried out in this study identifies the effects of variance on the influence of age and religion, highlighting the interaction between the two. It is observed that the youngest students are those who express their opinions about religion the least, while those belonging to younger age groups and majority religions are those who express a greater religious coexistence, with Muslims externalizing their religious condition the most. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religious Education and Children's Spirituality)
Article
Mapping Muslim Moral Provinces: Framing Feminized Piety of Pakistani Diaspora
Religions 2021, 12(5), 356; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel12050356 - 18 May 2021
Viewed by 578
Abstract
Over the last two decades we have seen a proliferation in the number of self-proclaimed Islamic scholars preaching piety to Muslim women. An emerging few of these scholars gaining prominence happen to be women, feminizing what is predominantly a patriarchal domain of dawah [...] Read more.
Over the last two decades we have seen a proliferation in the number of self-proclaimed Islamic scholars preaching piety to Muslim women. An emerging few of these scholars gaining prominence happen to be women, feminizing what is predominantly a patriarchal domain of dawah (missionary work) and proselytization. Traditionally speaking, Muslim missionaries have never been restricted to a particular moral province, perhaps due to the fact that Islam was never intended as a hierarchical religion with a mosque–state divide. This makes mapping Muslim moral spaces in a hyper-globalized world—one in which shared identities and ideologies transcend territorial boundaries—all the more challenging. Using the firebrand female Muslim tele preacher, Dr. Farhat Hashmi, and her global proselytizing mission (Al-Huda International) as a springboard for discussion, this paper seeks to map out the ways in which modern Muslim women in the post-9/11 British Pakistani diaspora navigate these moral provinces. By juxtaposing the staunchly orthodox impositions of niqab-clad Dr. Hashmi, with the revolt from within Muslim spaces, from practicing, ‘middle-path’ Muslims, this paper critically engages with Saba Mahmood’s concept of the ‘politics of piety’ and its various critiques. In so doing, we reimagine Muslim spaces, as well as the moralization versus multivocality debate surrounding them, and the importance of positioning agency and complex lived realities of women occupying these spaces at the center of our analysis on Muslim moral provinces. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Provinces of Moral Theology and Religious Ethics)
Article
Exploring the Roles of Daily Spiritual Experiences, Self-Efficacy, and Gender in Shopping Addiction: A Moderated Mediation Model
Religions 2021, 12(5), 355; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel12050355 - 18 May 2021
Viewed by 723
Abstract
Although spirituality has been considered a protective factor against shopping addiction, the mechanisms involved in this relationship are still poorly recognized. The present study aims to test the association of daily spiritual experiences, self-efficacy, and gender with shopping addiction. The sample consisted of [...] Read more.
Although spirituality has been considered a protective factor against shopping addiction, the mechanisms involved in this relationship are still poorly recognized. The present study aims to test the association of daily spiritual experiences, self-efficacy, and gender with shopping addiction. The sample consisted of 430 young adults (275 women and 155 men), with a mean age of 20.44 (SD = 1.70). The Daily Spiritual Experiences Scale, the General Self-Efficacy Scale, and the Bergen Shopping Addiction Scale were used to measure the study variables. The results showed that: (1) Daily spiritual experiences had a direct negative effect on shopping addiction; (2) daily spiritual experiences were positively related to self-efficacy, thought the effect was moderated by gender; (3) self-efficacy negatively correlated with a shopping addiction; and (4) the indirect effect of daily spiritual experiences on shopping addiction through self-efficacy was significant for women but insignificant for men. The findings confirm that spirituality protects young adults against developing a shopping addiction. They also suggest that when introducing spiritual issues into shopping addiction prevention or treatment programs, the gender-specific effects of spirituality on shopping addiction via self-efficacy should be considered to adequately utilize young women’s and men’s spiritual resources. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Religions and Health/Psychology/Social Sciences)
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Article
The American Cyrus: How an Ancient King Became a Political Tool for Voter Mobilization
Religions 2021, 12(5), 354; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel12050354 - 18 May 2021
Viewed by 684
Abstract
During the 2016 presidential election, Evangelical supporters of Donald Trump presented him as a modern version of the ancient King Cyrus of Persia. To many conservative Christians, the comparison offered a justification of voting for a candidate whose character supposedly was at odds [...] Read more.
During the 2016 presidential election, Evangelical supporters of Donald Trump presented him as a modern version of the ancient King Cyrus of Persia. To many conservative Christians, the comparison offered a justification of voting for a candidate whose character supposedly was at odds with their Christian virtues. Subsequent to his inauguration, the idea of Trump being an American Cyrus continued to develop and circulate. It is the aim of this article to deepen the understanding of Cyrus as a political tool in the West and explain how he ended up as a means to mobilize American voters. With an emphasis on the last 250 years, the article looks at how various personalities have been compared to Cyrus or presented as modern Cyruses. Based on these examples, it develops a typology, arguing that the modern Cyrus can be best understood as different types and subtypes, of which several have been applied to Trump. The article demonstrates how the various subtypes have separate evolutionary lines, which in turn can be attributed to different goals and functions. Full article
Article
“Pray Aggressively for a Higher Goal—The Unification of All Christianity”: U.S. Catholic Charismatics and Their Ecumenical Relationships in the Late 1960s and 1970s
Religions 2021, 12(5), 353; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel12050353 - 17 May 2021
Viewed by 603
Abstract
In July 1977, 50,000 Christians from different backgrounds and traditions converged on Kansas City to participate in the Conference on Charismatic Renewal in the Christian Churches. Catholic charismatics played a key role in its organization, relying on all their ecumenical contacts built since [...] Read more.
In July 1977, 50,000 Christians from different backgrounds and traditions converged on Kansas City to participate in the Conference on Charismatic Renewal in the Christian Churches. Catholic charismatics played a key role in its organization, relying on all their ecumenical contacts built since the origins of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal (CCR) in 1967 at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh (PA). If the Kansas City conference represented the zenith of a shared unified vision for all charismatic Christianity, it also showed the emergence of the crisis which affected Catholic charismatic communities and their connection with Rome. This paper will explore U.S. Catholic charismatics’ relationships with other Christian denominations and groups in the initial development of the CCR, particularly in structuring Catholic charismatic communities, and their ecumenical perspectives in the tension between needs for legitimization (by the Vatican) and needs for self-expression. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Evangelicalism: New Directions in Scholarship)
Article
The Material Culture of Buddhist Propagation: Reinstating Buddhism in Early Colonial Seoul
Religions 2021, 12(5), 352; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel12050352 - 14 May 2021
Viewed by 638
Abstract
The restrictive measures against Buddhism under the Neo-Confucian Chosŏn dynasty resulted in the decline of Korean Buddhism at the start of the twentieth century. As the Chosŏn government started to make sweeping changes in the name of modernization, Korean Buddhist monks found an [...] Read more.
The restrictive measures against Buddhism under the Neo-Confucian Chosŏn dynasty resulted in the decline of Korean Buddhism at the start of the twentieth century. As the Chosŏn government started to make sweeping changes in the name of modernization, Korean Buddhist monks found an opportunity to revitalize their tradition through measures of reform. This paper examines one instance of attempts to bring Korean Buddhism back to the center of the country in the early twentieth century. The establishment of the Buddhist Central Propagation Space in 1920, examined thoroughly for the first time in this study, shows a meaningful yet ultimately unsuccessful attempt at modernizing Korean Buddhism in the dynamics of the colonial Buddhism. Moving beyond the nationalist critique of its founder Yi Hoegwang, who has been heavily criticized for his pro-colonialist undertakings in later historiography, I reconsider the significance of this propagation space in the history of Buddhist propagation and respatialization of Seoul during the early colonial period. My analysis of Three Gates in a Single Mind commissioned for this urban Buddhist temple in 1921 not only shows the diversity of modern Korean Buddhist paintings but also reveals a new role assigned to Buddhist icons in the changing context of Pure Land practice. I also discuss the seminal contribution of the court lady Ch’ŏn Ilch’ŏng to the founding of the propagation space, thereby restoring the voice of one important laywoman in the modernization of Korean Buddhism. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Buddhism and Modernity in Asian Societies)
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Article
Connective Tissue: Embracing Fluidity and Subverting Boundaries in European Iron Age and Roman Provincial Images
Religions 2021, 12(5), 351; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel12050351 - 14 May 2021
Viewed by 560
Abstract
There is a mounting body of evidence for somatic exchange in burial practices within later British prehistory. The title of the present paper was sparked by a recent article in The Times (Tuesday 1 September 2020), which contained a description of human bone [...] Read more.
There is a mounting body of evidence for somatic exchange in burial practices within later British prehistory. The title of the present paper was sparked by a recent article in The Times (Tuesday 1 September 2020), which contained a description of human bone curation and body mingling clearly present in certain Bronze Age funerary depositional rituals. The practice of mixing up bodies has been identified at several broadly coeval sites, a prime example being Cladh Hallan in the Scottish Hebrides, where body parts from different individuals were deliberately mingled, not just somatically but also chronologically. This paper’s arguments rest upon the premise that somatic boundary crossing is reflected in Iron Age and later art, especially in the blending of human and animal imagery and of one animal species with another. Such themes are endemic in La Tène decorative metalwork and in western Roman provincial sacred imagery. It is possible, indeed likely, that such fluidity is associated with deliberate subversion of nature and with the presentation of ‘shamanism’ in its broadest sense. Breaking ‘natural’ rules and orders introduces edge blurring between material and spiritual worlds, representing, perhaps, the ability of certain individuals (shamans) to break free from human-scapes and to wander within the realms of the divine. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Art, Shamanism and Animism)
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Article
The Gospel According to Disney+’s “The Mandalorian”
Religions 2021, 12(5), 350; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel12050350 - 14 May 2021
Viewed by 725
Abstract
The Mandalorian is a very popular science-fiction show (two seasons, 2019–2020) set in the famous Star Wars Universe. Studies have shown that myth and religious thought played a crucial role in the creation of the Star Wars Universe. This article continues that tradition, [...] Read more.
The Mandalorian is a very popular science-fiction show (two seasons, 2019–2020) set in the famous Star Wars Universe. Studies have shown that myth and religious thought played a crucial role in the creation of the Star Wars Universe. This article continues that tradition, albeit from a particular perspective that highlights religious language: by viewing The Mandalorian through a New Testament lens, it is argued that while many elements of popular culture reference Biblical or mythological sources, The Mandalorian’s use of these referents illustrates the way in which ancient religious and New Testament literature are still very much a shared phenomenon. Both The Mandalorian and the New Testament share certain timeless topoi: a mysterious character with extraordinary abilities, a connection to life-giving powers of the universe that give extraordinary abilities, choosing a certain way of life and the costs thereof, and also themes such as “debt”, “redemption”, and “beliefs” and how these are challenged. By using these themes, The Mandalorian presents itself as a modern myth. Full article
Article
How Loud Is Too Loud? Competing Rights to Religious Freedom and Property and the Muslim Call to Prayer (Adhan or Azan) in South Africa
Religions 2021, 12(5), 349; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel12050349 - 14 May 2021
Viewed by 654
Abstract
This article approaches the position of the call to prayer (adhan or azan) in South Africa from the perspective of both legislation and case law. Although only an unamplified adhan has religious status in Islam, Muslim religious authorities (ulama) have since the twentieth [...] Read more.
This article approaches the position of the call to prayer (adhan or azan) in South Africa from the perspective of both legislation and case law. Although only an unamplified adhan has religious status in Islam, Muslim religious authorities (ulama) have since the twentieth century also approved of, and permitted, an amplified adhan. The adhan has been rendered in both forms from South African mosques (masjids) for some 223 years. However, the unamplified adhan has recently come under the legal and judicial spotlight when the volume of its rendering by human voice was restricted. In August 2020, after prior attempts at municipal level and mediation had been unsuccessful, a high court in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, ruled that the sound of the unamplified adhan emanating from a mosque located on the premises of an Islamic institution (madrassa) in the city of Durban should not be audible within the house situated on nearby property belonging to a Hindu neighbor. Wide media coverage reported that the ruling was publicly decried and met with criticism. The Madrassa lodged an appeal in September 2020 and the matter is ongoing. The High Court’s decision is binding in KwaZulu-Natal, a province where Hindus, as a religious minority, are concentrated. The article highlights that although the decision is not binding on similar courts in other provinces, its outcome may yet have far-reaching consequences for the adhan as a religious and cultural heritage symbol, and for religious symbols generally, because similar complaints have been lodged, albeit against amplified adhans, against several mosques located in major cities (Cape Town and Tshwane) of two other provinces where Muslims, as a religious minority, are largely concentrated. The article examines the adhan in the context of competing constitutional rights to religious freedom and property (neighbor law) in South Africa. The article proffers some recommendations for the way forward in South Africa based in some instances on the position of the adhan in several countries. It concludes that, ultimately, unamplified, unduly amplified and duly amplified adhans may all yet be found to constitute a noise nuisance in South Africa, if challenged and found to be unreasonable. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religious Freedom in the Global South)
Article
Teaching Global Citizenship in a Muslim-Majority Country: Perspectives of Teachers from the Religious, National, and International Education Sectors in Pakistan
Religions 2021, 12(5), 348; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel12050348 - 13 May 2021
Viewed by 864
Abstract
Pakistan is a Muslim-majority country, and religion plays a great role in the life of society. This study examines how teachers from the religious, national, and international education sectors realize the concept of global citizenship education (GCE) in Pakistan. Based on 24 semi-structured [...] Read more.
Pakistan is a Muslim-majority country, and religion plays a great role in the life of society. This study examines how teachers from the religious, national, and international education sectors realize the concept of global citizenship education (GCE) in Pakistan. Based on 24 semi-structured interviews, this study found differences among the teachers’ understandings of the concept of GCE and its characteristics. Teachers from the national and religious curriculum sectors viewed GCE as a threat to Islamic values, whereas those from the international curriculum sector regarded GCE as an opportunity for improving the economic development and image of Pakistan. Moreover, the teachers from the religious sector argued for the cultivation of Islamic identity instead of GCE. However, the teachers from the national curriculum sector noted the economic benefits of GCE and were keen on global citizenship principles that do not conflict with national and Islamic values. The different perceptions held by teachers from the three educational sectors indicate the need for more work on GCE to narrow the conflicting agendas and broaden the understandings within Pakistani society. Creating common ideas within these different sectors of education is significant for developing sustainable peace within the divided society. Full article
Article
A Compensatory Response to the Problem of Evil
Religions 2021, 12(5), 347; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel12050347 - 13 May 2021
Viewed by 543
Abstract
In this essay, I affirm the univocity thesis while discussing some alternative positions that avoid the problem of evil by rejecting the univocity thesis. I reject Sterba’s assumption that God’s governance of creation is adequately understood as an analogy to good governance of [...] Read more.
In this essay, I affirm the univocity thesis while discussing some alternative positions that avoid the problem of evil by rejecting the univocity thesis. I reject Sterba’s assumption that God’s governance of creation is adequately understood as an analogy to good governance of a politically liberal democracy. I suggest that Sterba’s commitment to the Pauline principle forces a dilemma between significant human freedom and meticulous divine intervention. Finally, I argue that the existence of horrendous evils is logically compatible with the existence of a good God, given a compensatory response to the problem of evil. Full article
Article
A Comparative Analysis of Berith and the Sacrament of Baptism and How They Contributed to the Inquisition
Religions 2021, 12(5), 346; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel12050346 - 13 May 2021
Viewed by 709
Abstract
In 1391 Spanish Jews were forcibly converted to Catholic Christianity, and Portuguese Jews suffered the same fate in 1497. Jewish law rendered involuntary converts as anusim and voluntary converts as meshumadim. Christians without Jewish ancestry called them by various names, New Christians, [...] Read more.
In 1391 Spanish Jews were forcibly converted to Catholic Christianity, and Portuguese Jews suffered the same fate in 1497. Jewish law rendered involuntary converts as anusim and voluntary converts as meshumadim. Christians without Jewish ancestry called them by various names, New Christians, alboraique, xuetas, and marranos, to name a few. In the fifteenth century, Catholic clerical authorities debated whether the New Christians were indeed Christians, albeit coerced. Canonic law rendered the sacrament of baptism as irrevocable. As such, any belief or practice not in accordance with Catholic doctrine was tantamount to heresy. Consequently, the Inquisition sought to rid the Church of the “Judaizing heresy.” On the one hand, the Sinaitic covenant (berith) considered anusim as Jews, even though there were Christians. This paper analyzes Jewish law and canonic law on respective religious identities. It includes an examination of rabbinic texts and rabbinic responsa, and an examination of the sacrament of Christian baptism. Both religious traditions fought for the souls of the anusim, characterizing what Victor Turner calls liminality and communitas. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religious Conversion)
Editorial
Introduction to Christianity and Science: Fresh Perspectives Special Issue
Religions 2021, 12(5), 345; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel12050345 - 13 May 2021
Viewed by 532
Abstract
In opening, I wish to express my great appreciation to the editors of the Religions journal for inviting me to serve as guest editor for this Special Issue on Christianity and Science [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Christianity and Science: Fresh Perspectives)
Article
Narrating a Sacred Universe. A Study of The Universe Story through the Hermeneutics of Paul Ricoeur
Religions 2021, 12(5), 344; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel12050344 - 13 May 2021
Viewed by 553
Abstract
This essay examines the use of language in narrating a sacred universe, focusing specifically on the text of The Universe Story by Thomas Berry and Brian Swimme. It applies the narrative hermeneutics of Paul Ricoeur, who argued for the role of narrative in [...] Read more.
This essay examines the use of language in narrating a sacred universe, focusing specifically on the text of The Universe Story by Thomas Berry and Brian Swimme. It applies the narrative hermeneutics of Paul Ricoeur, who argued for the role of narrative in influencing a life through its creation of a world, to the text. It focuses specifically on Ricoeur’s five traits of a phenomenology of the sacred. This step in Ricoeur’s hermeneutics is a reminder that religious language has been shaped by demythologisation, and this in turn impacts any attempt to articulate in language what is interpreted as an experience of the sacred. In designating the universe as sacred, The Universe Story is confronted with the task of narrating such an experience. In examining the language of the text, this essay analyses how this is preformed and the effectiveness of such an approach. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Literature and Eco-theology)
Article
Mariology, Anthropology, Synergy and Grace: Why Is Luther So Far Apart from Cabasilas?
Religions 2021, 12(5), 343; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel12050343 - 13 May 2021
Viewed by 578
Abstract
The issue of “Mariology” is one that divides the Eastern Orthodox and the Evangelical Christians. In this paper we are approaching the issue through the juxtaposition and comparison of the three Mariological sermons of Nicholas Cabasilas, on the one hand, with Martin Luther’s [...] Read more.
The issue of “Mariology” is one that divides the Eastern Orthodox and the Evangelical Christians. In this paper we are approaching the issue through the juxtaposition and comparison of the three Mariological sermons of Nicholas Cabasilas, on the one hand, with Martin Luther’s Commentary on the Magnificat, on the other. The study of the two works side by side will bring to surface the theological presuppositions which explain the differences between the Eastern Orthodox and the Evangelical views. It will also help us identify some key points that need further discussion and clarification but also ways to reach a point of mutual agreement and understanding. Full article
Article
Crisis and Continuation: The Digital Relocation of Jain Socio-Religious Praxis during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Religions 2021, 12(5), 342; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel12050342 - 13 May 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 786
Abstract
In early 2020, Jain diaspora communities and organizations that had been painstakingly built over the past decades were faced with the far-reaching consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic and its concomitant restrictions. With the possibility of regular face-to-face contact and participation in recurring events—praying, [...] Read more.
In early 2020, Jain diaspora communities and organizations that had been painstakingly built over the past decades were faced with the far-reaching consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic and its concomitant restrictions. With the possibility of regular face-to-face contact and participation in recurring events—praying, eating, learning, and meditating together—severely limited in most places, organizations were compelled to make a choice. They either had to suspend their activities, leaving members to organize their religious activities on an individual or household basis, or pursue the continuation of some of their habitual activities in an online format, relying on their members’ motivation and technical skills. This study will explore how many Jain organizations in London took to digital media in its different forms to continue to engage with their members throughout 2020. Looking at a selection of websites and social media channels, it will examine online discourses that reveal the social and mental impact of the pandemic on Jains and the broader community, explore the relocation of activities to the digital realm, and assess participation in these activities. In doing so, this article will open a discussion on the long-term effects of this crisis-induced digital turn in Jain religious praxis, and in socio-cultural life in general. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion Impacting Social Media)
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Article
Racializing the Religious during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Religions 2021, 12(5), 341; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel12050341 - 12 May 2021
Viewed by 730
Abstract
In this article, we propose more research attention to an important dimension of social life that bears considerably on the racial patterns of the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) pandemic: religion. Drawing from recent insights into the complex relationship between religious affiliation and other intersecting [...] Read more.
In this article, we propose more research attention to an important dimension of social life that bears considerably on the racial patterns of the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) pandemic: religion. Drawing from recent insights into the complex relationship between religious affiliation and other intersecting social identities (namely race, gender and class), we argue that understanding the racial inequities of COVID-19 requires consideration of the religious beliefs, participation and the collective resources of racial minorities. We suggest that religion can simultaneously offer a salve for vulnerable communities during this outbreak and can exacerbate the spread of the disease without solving the problem of insufficient access to care. We describe how religion helps and hurts during these turbulent times. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion and Politics among African Americans)
Article
Militant Liturgies: Practicing Christianity with Kierkegaard, Bonhoeffer, and Weil
Religions 2021, 12(5), 340; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel12050340 - 12 May 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 752
Abstract
Traditional philosophy of religion has tended to focus on the doxastic dimension of religious life, which although a vitally important area of research, has often come at the cost of philosophical engagements with religious practice. Focusing particularly on Christian traditions, this essay offers [...] Read more.
Traditional philosophy of religion has tended to focus on the doxastic dimension of religious life, which although a vitally important area of research, has often come at the cost of philosophical engagements with religious practice. Focusing particularly on Christian traditions, this essay offers a sustained reflection on one particular model of embodied Christian practice as presented in the work of Søren Kierkegaard. After a discussion of different notions of practice and perfection, the paper turns to Kierkegaard’s conception of the two churches: the Church Triumphant and the Church Militant. Then, in light of Kierkegaard’s defense of the latter and critique of the former, it is shown that Kierkegaard’s specific account gets appropriated and expanded in Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s account of “costly grace” and “religionless Christianity,” and Simone Weil’s conception of “afflicted love.” Ultimately, it is suggested that these three thinkers jointly present a notion of “militant liturgies” that offers critical and constructive resources for contemporary philosophy of religion. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue God, Ethics, and Christian Traditions)
Article
Collective Identity and Christianity: Europe between Nationalism and an Open Patriotism
Religions 2021, 12(5), 339; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel12050339 - 12 May 2021
Viewed by 858
Abstract
Times of crisis push human beings, a clannish creature, to retreat into closed societies. Anthropologically, this can be explained with concepts such as pseudospeciation, group narcissism, or parochial altruism. Politically, the preference for closed societies results in our modern world in nationalism or [...] Read more.
Times of crisis push human beings, a clannish creature, to retreat into closed societies. Anthropologically, this can be explained with concepts such as pseudospeciation, group narcissism, or parochial altruism. Politically, the preference for closed societies results in our modern world in nationalism or imperialism. Henri Bergson’s distinction between static and dynamic religion shows which type of religion promotes such tendencies of closure and which type can facilitate the path toward open society. Bergson rejected nationalism and imperialism and opted for an open patriotism with its special relation to dynamic religion. Dynamic religion relativizes political institutions such as the state and results today in an option for civil society as the proper space where religions can and must contribute to its ethical development. It aligns more easily with a counter-state nationhood than with a state-framed nationalism. Whereas Bergson saw in Christianity the culmination of dynamic religion, a closer look shows that it can be found in all post-Axial religions. Martin Buber, Mohandas Gandhi, Leo Tolstoy, Abul Kalam Azad, and Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan exemplify this claim. After World War II, Catholic thinkers such as Jacques Maritain or Robert Schuman by partly following Bergson chose patriotism over nationalism and helped to create the European Union. Today, however, a growing nationalism in Europe forces religious communities to strengthen dynamic religion in their own traditions to contribute to a social culture that helps to overcome nationalist closures. The final part provides a positive example by referring to the fraternal Catholic modernity as it culminates today in Pope Francis’ call for fraternity and his polyhedric model of globalization that connects local identity with universal concerns. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion, Nationalism and Populism across the North/South Divide)
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