• Book review: Jürgen Moltmann, Ethics of Hope

      Clough, David L.; University of Chester
      The review surveys the four parts of Moltmann's book. It concludes that the book leaves the reader in no doubt that an ethics of hope that attends to the significance of Moltmann’s eschatological and ecological insights would be a very valuable contribution to theological ethics, but in no less doubt that, in order to do justice to this task, more needs saying with more deliberative care than has been possible here. Moltmann’s clear continuing passion for Christian engagement with God’s transforming of a world in which so many of God’s creatures stand in need of release from injustice and oppression should be ample inspi- ration for such an endeavour.
    • A Christian Case for Farmed Animal Welfare

      Adam, Margaret B.; Clough, David L.; Grumett, David; University of Chester; University of Chester; University of Edinburgh (MDPI, 2019-12-11)
      It is now common to blame Christianity for broader society’s general inattention to the needs and comfort of animals in general, and farmed animals in particular. This critique of Christianity claims that certain biblical themes and biblical passages form the foundation for an anti- animal position that Christianity has imposed on Christians and on wider Western society. This article concedes that Christianity has often been used to justify exploitation of animals, but argues that it is a mistake to consider Christianity inevitably opposed to concern for animals. After reviewing the views of critics such as Lynn White Jr., Peter Singer, and Tom Regan, the article demonstrates the complexity of interpreting biblical passages and the possibility of readings that affirm the importance of treating animals well. It shows that Christians have indeed been advocates animals, notably in relation to the first legislation against animal cruelty in the early nineteenth century and the formation of the RSPCA. Finally, it proposes a constructive framework for a Christian ethics of farmed animal welfare that could provide the basis for Christian action to reduce consumption of animals and shift to higher welfare sources.
    • ‘Preconditions’: The Upanisā Sutta in Context

      Jones, Dhivan Thomas; University of Chester
      The Upanisā Sutta (Saṃyutta Nikāya 12: 23) has been interpreted as presenting an overarching account of conditionality, joining the twelve nidānas of paṭicca-samuppāda with a further series of positive factors (upanisās) leading to awakening. The discourse has a parallel preserved in Chinese translation. A close reading of these versions shows how the series of upanisās belongs to a ‘family’ of upanisā discourses. The connection of the series to the twelve nidānas appears rhetorical rather than doctrinal. The concept of upanisā in Pāli literature is related to the concept of upaniṣad in Vedic literature, and upanisā was also a topic of debate in the ascetic milieu of ancient India. The Buddhist concept of upanisā emerges as that of a supportive inner state that is a necessary condition for achieving the aim of liberation. I propose to translate upanisā as ‘precondition’.
    • Michael Gilmour, Animals in the Writings of C.S. Lewis

      Clough, David (Edinburgh University Press, 2019-10)
    • Rethinking our treatment of animals in light of Laudato Si’

      Clough, David L.; University of Chester (Routledge, 2019-09-19)
      The encyclical Laudato Si’ builds on and extends previous Roman Catholic church teaching on animals to affirm their value as beloved creatures of God and reject anthropocentric claims that they were created merely to provide for human needs. It draws on the Franciscan tradition to affirm other animals as our sisters and brothers, and notes that these relationships have implications for our treatment of animals. The encyclical fails to connect concern for other-than-human animals with critiques of industrial animal agriculture, however, which is an odd omission given its consideration of other practical issues such as the genetic manipulation of plant and animals, its express concern for biodiversity, and its call for an ecological conversion in the context of climate change. This chapter begins by surveying the valuable framework the encyclical sets up for understanding the place of animals in Christian theology and ethics. It then describes how we are using animals for food today. Finally, it makes the case that the encyclical’s framework demands obvious and urgent changes in the way we make use of other animals for food.
    • Salvation as Praxis

      Morris, Wayne; University of Chester (Bloomsbury Academic, 2014-01-02)
      Will people of other faiths be 'saved' and to what extent should the response to this question shape Christian engagements with people of other faiths? Historically, the predominant answer to these questions has been that the person of another faith will not be saved and is therefore in need of conversion to Christianity for their salvation to be possible. Consequently, it has been understood to be the obligation of Christian persons to convert people of other faiths. More recent theologies of religions for the past half century and more have sought to reconsider these approaches to soteriology. This has sometimes led to a reaffirmation of the status quo and at other times to an alternative soteriological understanding. In seeking to articulate soteriologies that make logical and doctrinal sense, too often these new approaches to salvation and people of other faiths have paid little attention to questions of practice. Drawing on alternative understandings of soteriology as deification, healing, and liberation, each perspective having ancient roots in the Christian tradition, it is argued that salvation can be understood as form of concrete earthly practice. Understood in this way, this book considers how these alternative theologies of salvation might shape Christian practices in a way that departs from a history in which the person of another faith has been perceived as a threat to Christianity and therefore in need of conversion. Further it asks how the complex multi-faith world of the twenty-first century might better inform and shape the way in which Christian theologies frame soteriological understandings.
    • ‘That bhikkhu lets go both the near and far shores’: meaning and metaphor in the refrain from the uraga verses

      Jones, Dhivan T.; University of Chester (Oxford Centre for Buddhist Studies, 2016-11)
      The uraga (‘serpent’) verses are some early Buddhist stanzas, preserved in different versions, each with the refrain (in Pāli at Sn vv.1–17) so bhikkhu jahāti orapāraṃ, urago jiṇṇam iva tacaṃ purāṇaṃ, ‘That bhikkhu lets go both the near and far shores, like a serpent its worn-out old skin’. The meaning of orapāra, ‘near and far shores’, has posed a problem for ancient and modern commentators, because according to the usual metaphor of ‘crossing the flood’ the bhikkhu lets go the ‘near shore’, which is saṃsāra, to reach the safety of the ‘far shore’, which is nirvāṇa. I discuss some commentarial and recent discussions of the refrain, before presenting two possible solutions to this problem: first in terms of the old binary cosmology, whereby the bhikkhu lets go the ‘near shore’ of this world and the ‘far shore’ of the other, and second in terms of the ‘stream of the Dharma’ metaphor, in which the bhikkhu lets go the ‘near shore’ of the subjective sense spheres and the ‘far shore’ of the objective sense spheres. I conclude with a consideration of metaphor in the uraga verses refrain, and how the refrain may be an example of early Buddhist non-dualism.
    • Living Paradoxes: On Agamben, Taylor and human subjectivity

      Leung, King-Ho (Telos, 2019-06-17)
      Over the last two decades, Giorgio Agamben and Charles Taylor have produced important and influential genealogical works on the philosophical and political conceptions of secularity. Yet in their recent work, both of these thinkers have respectively returned to a prominent theme in their earlier works: Human life. This essay offers a parallel reading of Agamben and Taylor as post-Heideggerian critics of the modern conception of human subjectivity. Through examining these their respective characterizations of modern subjectivity — namely Taylor’s account of the “disengaged self” and Agamben’s conception of the “excluded-included” bare life, this essay seeks to highlight not only the Heideggerian currents underlying the philosophical anthropologies of Agamben and Taylor, but also the ontological paradoxicalities they detect in the conception of human existence and subjectivity in politico-philosophical modernity. After reviewing the different aspects of Agamben’s and Taylor’s critiques of modern subjectivity as well as the traditional metaphysical conception of humans as “language animals”, this essay concludes by sketching a robust and affirmative “paradoxical” conception of human beings as “language animals” which simultaneously takes into account the insights from Taylor’s (post)analytic philosophical renewal of Aristotelianism and Agamben’s critical analysis of contemporary biopolitics in the continental philosophical tradition.
    • Mapping Shia Muslim Communities in Europe

      Shanneik, Yafa; Heinhold, Chris; Ali, Zahra (Brill, 2017-12-04)
      Abstract This article provides an introduction to the special issue on Mapping Shia Muslim Communities in Europe.1 With six empirically rich case studies on Shia Muslim communities in various European countries, this issue intends: first, to illustrate the historical developments and emergence of the Shia presence in Europe; second, to highlight the local particularities of the various Shia communities within each nation state and demonstrate their transnational links; and third, to provide for the first time an empirical comparative study on the increasingly visible presence of Shia communities in Europe that fills an important gap in research on Muslims in Europe.
    • Revelation

      Middleton, Paul; University of Chester (T & T Clark, 2020)
      A social identity commentary of the book of Revelation in a single volume commentary of the New Testament
    • Introduction

      Morris, Wayne; University of Chester (University of Chester Press, 2019-05-25)
      Fr Martin McAlinden was a Catholic priest from the Diocese of Dromore and Director of Pastoral Theology at St Patrick’s College Maynooth. Martin was studying for a doctorate at the University of Chester when, in 2016, he sadly died. His research had focussed on the spiritual malaise experienced by many priests in the Catholic Church in Ireland. In response, he developed a theology rooted in the ancient notion of Acedia and he used this as a way of talking about the spiritual crises many priests experience. The ancient response to Acedia, the command to stay in one’s cell and pray, provided Martin with a way of speaking about how this spiritual malaise might be transformed. This book brings together a major article that has emerged out of Martin’s research, together with a series of responses from many who accompanied him during his studies. It is offered to Martin’s brother priests, and to the whole Church, as a gift of love that might, it is hoped, contribute to the spiritual renewal of the Church.
    • The embodied Deaf God: a God just like us

      Morris, Wayne; University of Chester (Taylor & Francis, 2019-05-22)
      The body, whether understood positively or negatively, has always been a part of Christian thinking and practice. However, the body has often been viewed as a ‘prison’ from which humans should seek to escape. In this paper, I suggest that, despite dominant theological discourses that have sought to negate the human body – and especially bodies that do not conform to certain norms – we find in the Christian tradition extra-ordinary theologies and spiritualities of survival and resistance expressed through the body. Deaf perspectives on God provide one example of this. By giving attention to the ways in which Deaf people imagine God as embodied, I argue that we can imagine ourselves as just like God – concretely in God’s image in our embodied condition, and that in this discovery, we can learn to affirm our embodied states in all their diversity.
    • The Inalienable Alien: Giorgio Agamben and the Political Ontology of Hong Kong

      Leung, King-Ho (Taylor and Francis, 2017-04-03)
      Drawing on the work of Giorgio Agamben, this article offers a philosophical interpretation of Hong Kong’s recent Umbrella Movement and the city’s political identity since its 1997 handover to China. With the constitutional principle of ‘one country, two systems’ it has held since 1997, Hong Kong has existed as an ‘inalienable alien’ part of China not dissimilar to that of Agamben’s political ontology of the homo sacer’s ‘inclusive exclusion’ in the polis. In addition to highlighting how Agamben’s politico-ontological notions such as ‘exception’ and ‘inclusive exclusion’ can illuminate the events of the Umbrella Movement, this article focuses particularly on the figure of the student, which many have seen as the symbolic face of the protest campaign. Considering how the student may also be regarded as a figure of ‘exception’, this article argues that the ‘exceptional’ role of the student highlights the unique sociopolitical as well as pedagogical aspects of the Umbrella Movement. Finally, comparing Hong Kong’s 2014 protests to Agamben’s philosophical account of the 1989 Tiananmen protests, this article concludes by suggesting that the Umbrella Movement is not simply a one-off event but fundamentally a manifestation of Hong Kong’s continuing political existence since 1997.
    • Philosophy as an art of living/writing

      Leung, King-Ho (Taylor and Francis, 2015-06-23)
      Review essay of 'Philosophy, literature, and the dissolution of the subject: Nietzsche, Musil, Atay' by Zeynep Talay-Turner.
    • Univocity for Militants: Set-Theoretical Ontology and the Death of the One

      Leung, King-Ho (2017-09)
      Alain Badiou notes that he designates that mathematics as ontology—the thought of “being qua being”—because of its ability to express the “univocal” character of being. But in his critical and indeed controversial reading of Gilles Deleuze, Badiou accuses Deleuze’s univocal ontology as being fundamentally a metaphysics of “the One”. This essay offers a reading of Badiou’s univocity of being in relation to his understanding of ontological immanence and also his commitment or indeed “fidelity” to ontologically articulating the atheistic premise that “God is dead”—which for Badiou also means “the One is not”.
    • The Picture of Artificial Intelligence and the Secularization of Thought

      Leung, King-Ho; University of Chester (Taylor & Francis, 2019-04-17)
      This article offers a critical interpretation of Artificial Intelligence (AI) as a philosophical notion which exemplifies a secular conception of thinking. One way in which AI notably differs from the conventional understanding of “thinking” is that, according to AI, “intelligence” or “thinking” does not necessarily require “life” as a precondition: that it is possible to have “thinking without life.” Building on Charles Taylor’s critical account of secularity as well as Hubert Dreyfus’ influential critique of AI, this article offers a theological analysis of AI’s “lifeless” picture of thinking in relation to the Augustinian conception of God as “Life itself.” Following this critical theological analysis, this article argues that AI’s notion of thinking promotes a societal privilege of certain rationalistic or calculative ways of thought over more existential or spiritual ways of thinking, and thereby fosters a secularization or de-spiritualization of thinking as an ethical human practice.
    • Professors of Religion and their Strange Wives: Diluvian Discord in the Eyes of Matthew Henry

      Collins, Matthew A.; University of Chester (T&T Clark, 2019-05-30)
      The summer of 2014 marked the tercentenary of the death of Matthew Henry (1662–1714), a leading figure among early eighteenth-century Dissenters and author of the six-volume Exposition of the Old and New Testaments (1707–1714/25). This monumental work, which by 1855 had already been published in twenty-five different editions, attempted a peculiarly practical approach to the biblical text and continues to be widely used and readily accessible even today in both print and online versions. The theme of foreign (or ‘strange’) wives and Israelite intermarriage is one which occurs throughout the Hebrew Bible and, accordingly, throughout Matthew Henry’s commentary upon it. Where it appears, the practice of intermarriage is characterized by Henry as (at best) unwise and (at worst) a very real threat to both social and religious cohesion. This essay explores how Henry deals with the issue of ‘strange wives’, why he believes they continue to pose a threat, and (in view of the overall intention of his commentary) what ‘practical observations’ he offers to his reader as a result. In doing so it is argued that Henry’s commentary traces a thematic thread from the ante-diluvian age to the post-exilic period of calamities resulting from mixed marriages between ‘professors of religion’ and their ‘strange wives’.