• Convergence and Asymmetry: Observations on the Current State of Jewish-Christian Dialogue

      Vincent, Alana; University of Chester (Equinox, 2020-11-06)
      Drawing on a survey of forty-five statements on the status of Jewish- Christian dialogue, this article argues that the theme of convergence which underlies a substantial portion of this dialogue programme arises from an asymmetric power relationship, in which Christian institutions have been insufficiently attentive to the issue of Jewish self-understanding.
    • Reading Across the Human-Animal Boundary: The Animalising Affliction of Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 4

      Collins, Matthew A.; Atkins, Peter J. (University of Chester, 2020-10)
      A major aspect of the narrative in Daniel 4 is the imagery employed to describe the affliction received by Nebuchadnezzar when he is driven from his throne. It is plain that as part of his affliction he will live as an animal, however the degree to which he actually becomes an animal is less clear. This unusual depiction of the king’s affliction has intrigued numerous subsequent readers and has provoked two predominant lines of interpretation: either that Nebuchadnezzar undergoes a physical metamorphosis of some kind into an animal form; or diverse other ways of reading the text that specifically preclude or deny an animal transformation of the king. This thesis addresses such bifurcation of interpretative opinion about Nebuchadnezzar’s affliction, examining why such interpretation is so divided and demonstrating ultimately how neither of these traditional interpretations best reflect the narrative events in Daniel 4. Firstly, I survey the range of previous interpretations of Nebuchadnezzar’s affliction and how they can broadly be grouped into these two general trends. I examine in detail the various texts and forms of the narrative to show how metamorphic interpretations of Daniel 4 are largely reliant upon later developments within the textual tradition and are not present in the earliest edition of Nebuchadnezzar’s animalising affliction. However, while the various editions of Daniel 4 seem to contain no explicit evidence that a metamorphosis was ever intended, I also show that it is equally inadequate to state that the king does not undergo an animal transformation at all. Turning to the wider ancient Near Eastern context of the Danielic narrative, I examine a range of Mesopotamian texts which appear to conceive of the human-animal boundary as being indicated primarily in relation to possession or lack of the divine characteristic of wisdom. Demonstrating how various Hebrew Bible and Second Temple Jewish texts appear to reflect the same conceptual idea, I argue that the narrative in Daniel 4, through the king’s loss of reason, in fact represents a far more significant categorical change from human to animal than has hitherto been recognised. This thesis therefore demonstrates that both traditional readings of Nebuchadnezzar’s animalising affliction are inadequate. Read instead in the context of this the narrative of Daniel 4 describes a more subtle yet much more profound crossing of the human-animal boundary.
    • Towards a New Homiletic

      Shercliff, Liz (SAGE Publications, 2020-09-11)
      Feminism’s contribution to homiletics so far has arguably been restricted to exploring gender difference in preaching. In 2014, however, Jennifer Copeland identified a need not merely to ‘include women “in the company of preachers” but to craft a new register for the preaching event’. This article considers what that new register might be and how it might be taught in the academy. It defines preaching as ‘the art of engaging the people of God in their shared narrative by creatively and hospitably inviting them into an exploration of biblical text, by means of which, corporately and individually, they might encounter the divine’ and proposes that in both the Church and the Academy, women’s voices are suppressed by a rationalist hegemony. For the stories of women to be heard, a new homiletic is needed, in which would-be preachers first encounter themselves, then the Bible as themselves and finally their congregation in communality. Findings of researchers in practical preaching discover that women preachers are being influenced by feminist methodology, while the teaching of preaching is not. In order to achieve a hospitable preaching space, it is proposed that the Church and the Academy work together towards a new homiletic.
    • Pureland Buddhism and the Post-Secular: Dharmavidya’s Summary of Faith and Practice.

      Dossett, Wendy; Ollier, Richard J. (University of Chester, 2020-09-10)
      This thesis demonstrates that Summary of Faith and Practice by Dharmavidya David Brazier is used by its writer and readers to establish a ‘post-secular’ identity for the Pureland Buddhism of the Amida Order, in contrast to the self-proclaimed ‘secular’ identity of some other forms of Buddhism. This contemporary, British-centred and predominantly convert Pureland Buddhism has been largely overlooked in the analytical scholarship of British Buddhism. The thesis contributes to knowledge by focussing on a text which plays a significant part in the life of the Order. It relates the text to the broader context of an ongoing debate between ‘secular’ and ‘religious’ Buddhism as Buddhism continues to spread beyond Asia. Using my location as an ‘insider’ within the Amida Order, I adopt a research methodology borrowed from the discourse analysis of Michael Hoey, and from documentary theology. I employ this methodology to demonstrate how the text is constituted by its authorising tradition, its writer, its ideal readers, and its actual readers as a form of post-secular Buddhism. By emphasising Pureland’s ‘religious’ characteristics and how these are, in part, established with reference to Christianity, the thesis challenges any assumption that contemporary British convert Buddhism is exclusively ‘secular’.
    • Patterns of Power, Power of Patterns: Exploring Landscape Context in the Borderland of the Northern and Central Welsh Marches, AD 300-1100

      Gondek, Meggen; Williams, Howard; Ainsworth, Stewart; Duckers, Gary L. (University of Chester, 2020-09-10)
      Scholarship regarding the early medieval Welsh Marches is frequently disparate and disjointed. Studies have concentrated on the analysis of monuments, in part because of the paucity of early medieval archaeology upon which to create a tableau conducive to macro landscape-based research. Where syncretic works in the Welsh Marches have attempted to adopt an interdisciplinary approach, they are often dated, not embracing, or utilising new techniques or methods. This is exacerbated by approaches in archaeological remotes sensing that have focused on methods or only producing dots and lines on a map, rather than its application and integration into theoretical frameworks widening further the divide between theory and practice. Combined, these approaches also fail to integrate fully within discourses emerging in border studies, a critical field of study when analysing border regions. To tackle these challenges, this thesis examines the borderland landscape of the North and Central Marches using traditional geographical and archaeological techniques, combined with GIS and remote sensed methodologies such as lidar to offer new insight into processes of power and how that is reflected in the landscape. This research targets not only landscape morphology but embraces border theory on the expression and apparatus of power emphasising the ‘borderland’ as an active agent in territoriality and social processes. This study has analysed remote sensed data and data sets that have previously been underutilised and combined theoretical concepts into a holistic body of work. New or misinterpreted archaeological sites have been identified, adding to the archaeological knowledge of the region and facilitated an enhanced picture of the early medieval landscape. In addition, the interrelationship of boundaries and sites hitherto unrecognised in the Welsh Marches have collectively opened new avenues and concepts to underpin and augment further research on dyke systems and border formation processes.
    • Mission in Suburbia: Theological Resources to Empower Missional Practice Within Small, Suburban Congregations

      Wilson, Keith G. (University of Chester, 2020-09-10)
      The practice of mission within small, suburban congregations has been widely overlooked by academic and Church institutions. Marginalised by their cultural context and struggling to maintain an already weak position, such churches could be dismissed as having little to offer contemporary missiology. This research believes that small, suburban congregations have an important missional role that, once resourced, is of value to the wider Church. The aim of this research is to reflect upon theological resources which could empower missional practice within small, suburban congregations. This reflection adopted a cyclical process of theological reflection. This reflective cycle or ‘Doing Theology Spiral’ used experience, reflection, exploration and action to create an ongoing pattern for missional reflection. This research began with an analysis of the missional experiences of selected small, suburban congregations. The gathered data highlighted aspects of the missional experiences of these congregations such as varied understandings of mission and tensions regarding the context for missional practice. In addition, the perceived strengths of such congregations were not commonly regarded as missional assets. This data was compared to published research. In the literature review, the practice of mission has received sustained attention over a long period. However, the mission of small, suburban congregations in Britain was largely absent from contemporary missiological debates. A range of theological resources were considered. The resources were regarded as important to the missional practice of congregations but, frequently overlooked or undervalued. These included context, activism, social action, and a sense of belonging. The sense of missional crisis suggested a need for other theological resources, notably missio Dei and a focus on the mission of God. This research discovered that a radical re-interpretation of missional practice within small, suburban congregations is required to challenge widespread stagnation and decline. In this research, it emerged that congregations required greater clarity and confidence regarding the theological resources available to them which could empower their missional practice.
    • The Heirloom Factor Revisited: Curated Objects and Social Memory in Early Medieval Mortuary Practices

      Williams, Howard; Costello, Brian (University of Chester, 2020-09-10)
      In the early 20th century, Baldwin Brown’s investigation of early Anglo-Saxon burials stated that the low ratio of deposited swords was likely caused by the inheritance of the weapon by a family member. This became known as the heirloom factor and has been a generally accepted summary of early AngloSaxon curation ever since. Chronologically older material culture originating from the early medieval period, however, has been consistently noticed within burials but overall neglected. Instead, researchers have focused on the reuse and recycling of Roman and Iron Age artefacts in early medieval furnished inhumation graves. Heirlooms, however, are biographical objects, imbued with the stories and events in which they had been present. Heirlooms from the early medieval period would have a known biography to their owners, families and wider social networks, whereas the biographical history of Roman or Iron Age objects would have been lost and unknown. Furthermore, the mortuary deposition of older objects would likely have made them noticeable and significant effect as a mnemonic device of social remembrance by participants and audiences. This thesis implemented an original combination of methods to contextually identify curated objects, or heirlooms, within the early medieval burials of Kent. The study subsequently interprets their roles in terms of social remembrance during the funerary rituals. Evidence from both archaeological and historical sources have indicated that swords and brooches were socially significant and distinct objects, presenting them as likely candidates as possible heirloom status objects. Early medieval cemeteries of Kent (5th–7th centuries AD) were chosen for this study because of the higher ratios of the number of swords and types of brooches found within burials compared to other areas of early Anglo-Saxon England. Kent is also the region where the first written laws are recorded in the beginning of the 7th century AD, with certain codes directly involving the inheritance of property. The study also responds to recent work on Kent’s graves in terms of grave re-opening. This research has analysed 1743 graves from 20 cemeteries in Kent to identify curation characteristics of either swords or brooches. Graves containing these objects were analysed for a series of characteristics to decipher chronological disparities within the entire grave context. This thesis has discovered that the deposition of curated objects within early Anglo-Saxon Kentish burials was a rare but discernible practice in which known biographical objects were utilised for several different funerary reasons. Swords and brooches were significant objects chosen to continue their circulation within a family or kin group for a period prior to their inclusion within a grave. A number of swords, however, have provided evidence that pieces of their hilts were likely inherited and continued while the rest of the sword, such as the blade, was included within a burial. The thesis argues that these practices facilitated the social remembrance of the significant weapon to be present during the funeral, as well as continuing its biography through its hilt fittings within the community. It has also been interpreted that the deposition of older brooches within subadult burials provides evidence of the effort to bolster the idealised identity of the deceased during the funeral or negotiate the relations between familial or kin groups. As the 5th—7th centuries AD were a period of social stratification, the utilisation of heirlooms within furnished burials has been found as a strategy to significantly influence the social remembrance of the mourners present at a funeral.
    • Cosmopolitan Practical Theology and the Impact of the Norming of Whiteness on Chapel Cosmopolitanism

      Knowles, Steve; Graham, Elaine; Cameron, Helen D.; Marsh, Jill (University of Chester, 2020-09-10)
      In the context of increasing cosmopolitanism across the UK many church congregations are becoming increasingly ethnically diverse, creating what I am calling ‘chapel cosmopolitanism’. This lived experience of congregations calls for a Cosmopolitan Practical Theology. I use Nowicka and Rovisco’s definition (2009:2) of cosmopolitanism as “A practice which is apparent in things that people do and say to positively engage with the ‘otherness of the other’”. From my professional experience I outline the factors that make a Cosmopolitan Practical Theology and argue for a positive engagement with the ‘otherness of the other’ in order to live out the Gospel imperative to ‘Love your neighbour as yourself’. In an ethnographic study of the chapel cosmopolitanism of one particular church, I observed the complex layers of interpersonal dynamics within one congregation. In particular I engaged with the work of Marti (2010) on ‘havens’, and also the work of Jagessar (2015) on ‘intercultural habit’, observing the inter-play between the needs for both of these practices. Using a multi-method approach I began to notice the reluctance of older White participants who chose not to be interviewed. While recognizing the need for both ‘havens’ and ‘intercultural habit’ my fieldwork data showed me that, while all my participants had these two needs, yet the need for havens of their own was not recognized by many of my White participants. This White privileging of their own experience as the ‘norm’ prevented the ‘mutual inconveniencing’ that Jagessar considers to be an essential component of intercultural habit. After consideration of the impact of the invisibility of White privilege within this particular congregation, I conclude that the norming of Whiteness becomes an obstruction to the development of a Cosmopolitan Practical Theology. In my conclusion I spell out some of the implications of my research for church life, Practical Theology and my own practice.
    • Plants as persons: perceptions of the natural world in the North European Mesolithic

      Taylor, Barry; University of Chester (Taylor and Francis, 2020-09-08)
      Amongst many hunter-gatherer communities, plants, animals and other aspects of the ‘natural’ environment, are bound up in, and gain significance and meaning from, specific cultural traditions. These traditions intricately bind the natural world into broader ontological understandings, which include concepts of animacy, the origins of the world, its structure and composition, and the behaviour of supernatural beings. Through these traditions, elements of the environment are imbued with an ontological significance that informs the way people perceive them, and how they interact with them through economic or ritual practice. There is a growing body of evidence that comparable traditions also structured the ways that hunter-gatherers interacted with their environment during the European Mesolithic. Much of the research has focused on the significance of animals, but this paper argues that plants were perceived in a similar way. Through a series of case studies from the North European Mesolithic, it shows how trees in particular were understood as powerful forces, playing active roles in people’s lives, and how interactions with them were mediated through prescribed forms of social practice
    • The Anniversary Politics of 17 June 1953 since 1990

      Millington, Richard; University of Chester (Wiley, 2020-07-21)
      This article analyses the politics of anniversaries through examination of the role that the anniversary of the East German uprising of 17 June 1953 has played in German politics since 1990. Prior to reunification, West Germany commemorated the date as the ‘Tag der deutschen Einheit’. This annual public holiday was a chance for politicians to express their views on the possibility of German unification and to lambast the East German regime. After 3 October became the ‘Tag der Deutschen Einheit’ in 1990, German politicians all but ignored the anniversary of 17 June until political commemoration of the date enjoyed a revival in 2003. This article shows that the ‘genre memory’ (Olick) of a commemoration ensures that continuities in political commemoration of an anniversary persist, even after long periods in which an historical event is not commemorated. Significantly, the analysis demonstrates further that consideration of the drivers of political mnemonic activity in the twenty-first century must now take into account the technology-led ubiquity of the media in motivating politicians to act. Moreover, the article concludes that politicians’ internationalisation of anniversaries has enabled them to find new political capital in dates that may appear to be politically redundant.
    • State Power and 'Everyday Criminality' in the German Democratic Republic, 1961-1989

      Millington, Richard; University of Chester (OUP, 2020-06-20)
      Friedrich Engels claimed that communists would ‘take an axe to the root of crime’; the removal of the perceived causes of crime in a society - capitalist economic and societal conditions - would automatically lead to its eradication. This did not, however, prove to be the case in the German Democratic Republic (GDR), where instances of ‘everyday criminality’ such as theft, robbery and assault never fell below 100,000 throughout the period of the state’s existence from 1949 to 1989. This article examines the ruling Socialist Unity Party’s (SED) perceptions of the causes of ‘everyday criminality’ in the GDR. It shows that the SED concluded that crime persisted because citizens’ ‘socialist sense of legal right and wrong’ (sozialistisches Rechtsbewußtsein) was underdeveloped. The regime measured this by the extent to which citizens supported and participated in socialist society. Thus, crime could be eliminated by co-opting as many citizens as possible into the Party’s political project. The SED’s ideological tunnel vision on the causes of ‘everyday criminality meant that it dismissed hints about the real causes of crime, such as poor supply and living conditions, identified by its analysts. Its failure to address these issues meant that citizens continued to break the law. Thus, the Party’s exercise of power contributed to the creation of limits to that power. Moreover, analysis of opinion polls with GDR citizens about their attitudes to criminality shows that they accepted crime as a part of everyday life.
    • Hans Frei: beyond liberal and conservative

      Fulford, Ben; University of Chester (Wipf and Stock, 2020-04-30)
      At first glance, Hans W. Frei does not fit the profile of an ecumenical theologian, nor does he seem to have been considered in these terms before in scholarship. Unlike his colleague, George Lindbeck, he does not appear to have taken a close interest in the ecumenical movement or particular ecumenical dialogues or reconciliation, as Lindbeck did in his The Nature of Doctrine. Nor is his work seek to mediate between Anglican and Quaker beliefs. Yet he did seek a way forward, theologically, for what he called a ‘generous orthodoxy’ in an approach that would transcend and re-frame the conservative-liberal polarity and offer an approach to orthodoxy that was at once flexible, accountable to Scripture, resilient and progressive.
    • Archaeologies of rules and regulation: between text and practice

      Williams, Howard; orcid: 0000-0003-3510-6852 (Informa UK Limited, 2020-04-30)
    • ‘A Spectacle for the Cameras’: The survival of a Lakeland leisure tradition, 1930- c.1955

      Andrew, Rebecca; University of Chester (Taylor & Francis, 2020-04-27)
      This article examines the survival of rushbearing, a rural leisure tradition in the English Lake District. As a region popular with tourists throughout the 20th century, this case study offers important insights into how their presence shaped this ‘traditional’ leisure activity. Not only did annual rushbearing ceremonies offer opportunities for the region’s sense of place to be presented to outsiders, they were also an important way for local communities to reaffirm their connection to the Lake District and its past. These occasions were, however, increasingly influenced by an awareness of external influences and outside judgements, as the region’s popularity as a tourist destination boomed from the inter-war years. Although youth culture was increasingly standardised at a national level during this period, at a local level, young countrymen and women played an integral role in rushbearing’s survival, which promoted an idealised version of ‘traditional’ country life. This annual community event is therefore a useful example through which to examine the interplay between rural leisure traditions, tourism, and the role of young people in the countryside during this period.
    • Kleśas and Pretas: Therapy and Liberation in Buddhist Recovery from Addiction

      Dossett, Wendy; University of Chester (Equinox, 2020-04-24)
      This article offers an analysis of Buddhist approaches to addiction recovery in the terms of some of the key debates in addiction/recovery studies. Buddhist recovery teachings are analysed for the extent to which they embody models of addiction which construe the problem as a disease, as a moral problem, as a problem of powerlessness, as a problem of control, as a choice, as a social or a personal problem, and as continuous (or not) with putative saṃsāric experience. They are also analysed for the extent to which recovery is modelled as a change of identity or of practices, and how far “recovery ideals” align with Buddhist soteriology. The article exposes philosophical and epistemological diversity across Buddhist recovery pathways, and argues that the therapeutization of Buddhism (Metcalf 2002) is inadequate as a categorical frame.
    • The aura of facticity: the ideological power of hidden voices in news reports

      Davies, Matt; University of Chester (Bloomsbury Academic, 2020-04-16)
      This chapter explores the most significant stylistic features of and relationships between the two most ubiquitous genres in print news reporting – the editorial column (the anonymous official line of the newspaper on the issues of the day) and the so-called ‘straight’ or ‘hard’ news reports which typically constitute the front pages (and many of the first few inside pages) of the daily national (UK) newspapers. It provides a framework for identifying some of the most significant characteristic stylistic features of these genres, focussing specifically on how a defining distinction is the absence and presence of authorial voice in the news report and editorial column respectively. However, the claim, for instance by that “journalism derives a great deal of its legitimacy from the postulate that it is able to present true pictures of reality to objectivity in the news report” (Wien, 2005:3) is challenged. The chapter argues that the aura of facticity projected by the absence of often highly rhetorical features manifest in editorial columns, camouflages attitudes and values embedded within the equivalent news reports, and in doing so performs significant ideological work in hiding those values. Using news reports and editorials published in five UK national newspapers published on 13 July 2018, based around the visit of US President Donald Trump to the UK, the chapter demonstrates how the attitudes and values expressed in editorial columns are still in evidence in their equivalent front page news reports and that despite the best intentions of professional journalists to report events using standard techniques, objectivity is and can only be a myth.
    • The nature of youth ministry in Northern Ireland through the eyes of local practitioners

      Morris, Wayne; Warnock, Helen Jane (University of Chester, 2020-04-15)
      The purpose of this research was to uncover the nature of youth ministry in Northern Ireland. This inquiry was prompted by noting the confusion that exists with regard to the expressed frameworks and priorities of youth ministry across the academy and practice, alongside the lack of research into youth ministry within the Northern Irish context. These factors created the need to take time to excavate youth ministry practice in Northern Ireland through the perspective of the practitioner. Thus, this thesis aims to clarify what youth ministry is and how it is understood and expressed in the Northern Irish context today. Guided by the motifs of uncovering and honouring, I engaged in a qualitative research process of semi-structured interviewing and an iterative process of data analysis using a hermeneutical phenomenology approach. Twelve youth ministry professionals from across the evangelical Protestant sector created the backbone of this research. Findings revealed the significant influence of the practitioners themselves, alongside the distinctive nature of the Northern Irish context. First, I uncovered two dominant values held by practitioners: a personal and deeply held sense of vocation and a high regard for the Bible. Second, I discovered two significant markers with regard to context: church culture as a significantly embedded social institution in Northern Ireland and emerging social identities, as influenced by the backdrop of recent civil conflict. However, it is the interplay of values, context and ministry that further displays the cohesive nature of youth ministry in Northern Ireland. The values operate as core motivating characteristics, creating a paradigm for practice committed to young people. This subsequently reveals a redemptive quality reflected not just in a ministry message but also through a ministry way, seen in the dynamic nature of youth ministry practitioners as agents of change.
    • Archaeodeath as digital public mortuary archaeology

      Williams, Howard; University of Chester (Archaeopress, 2020-04-06)
      Since 2013, I have been writing an academic WordPress weblog (blog) – Archaeodeath: The Archaeology and Heritage of Death & Memory. In earlier publications, I have published preliminary reflections on the benefits of Archaeodeath as ‘digital public mortuary archaeology’ (DPMA), considering how it affords a mode of open-access public dissemination of mortuary archaeology, and a venue for debating and critiquing the archaeology and heritage of death and memory (Meyers and Williams 2014; Williams and Atkin 2015). Building on these discussions, this chapter reviews five-and-a-half years of the Archaeodeath blogging to the end of 2018, presenting the character of the blog’s content and its reception, identifying challenges and limitations of the medium, and (equally significantly in understanding its utility) considering key decisions regarding how I choose not to deploy this blog. I identify Archaeodeath as more than outreach or engagement, but as a digital platform increasingly both integral to, and transforming, my academic teaching and research practice.