• Temple, Sex, Gender and Society

      Graham, Elaine; University of Chester (Sage Publications, 2022-07-04)
      This article gives an overview of the main economic, legal and cultural changes around the role of women, debates about gender identity and patterns of marriage and the family that have taken place over the past 80 years since Christianity and Social Order was first published.
    • The Independent Schools Religious Studies Association Report Religion and Worldviews (Weltanschauung) June 2022 - A Personal Response

      Dossett, Wendy; University of Chester (Reforming RE, 2022-07-02)
      A personal reponse to the 2022 ISRSA statement on the 2018 proposals of the Commission for Religious Education.
    • Postliberal positions in public theology

      Fulford, Ben; University of Chester (T&T Clark, 2022-06-30)
      In this chapter, I seek to show that, contrary to widespread caricatures as fideists eschewing publicly intelligible critical scrutiny, or sectarians advocating Christian disengagement from the public realm, postliberal theologians have a deep commitment to publicness in both these senses, which arises from their commitment to the irreducible particularity of Christian beliefs, practices and the stories which norm them. It is, I argue first, because of this commitment to Christian particularity and the orientation to the public it entails, that they are critical of attempts to establish the public status of Christian belief and practice on a putatively universalist foundation or general theory of human existence or religion. They pursue this critique in order to preserve the public character of Christian faith. Second, to different degrees, they seek to mobilise what they take to be core resources of Christian tradition, not least its central scriptural narratives, in order to frame, orient and exemplify constructive Christian engagement with public issues and events. Third, they have sought to find ways to articulate the modes and terms of critical public accountability for Christian beliefs and practices without lapsing back into the very modes of theological and ethical argument against which they protest. These tend to liken the public intelligibility of Christian meanings to those of the culture of a community, to combine realist, coherentist and pragmatic understandings to describe what it means to call Christianity ‘true’, which admit of a range of public ways of assessing Christian discourse without subordinating it to a distorting set of criteria.
    • Giants, Gods and Goods: Toward a 'new Beveridge'

      Graham, Elaine; University of Chester (Hymns Ancient and Modern, 2022-06-29)
      Eighty years ago, on December 1 1942, the Beveridge Report, widely seen as the founding document of the post-1945 welfare state in the UK, was published. In grandiloquent terms, the report called for an attack on ‘Five Giant Evils’ – Disease, Idleness, Ignorance, Squalor and Want -- that needed to be combatted as Britain prepared for peace and post-war reconstruction. Beveridge’s recommendations captured the public mood perfectly. Having made so many sacrifices for a common cause of defeating Nazism, armed forces and civilians alike shared a determination that the peace which followed should be built for the benefit of all. That mood found expression in the post-war Labour government’s pledges to achieve full employment, universal education and a welfare state, free of the privations and anxieties of poverty, low pay or old age. Like the 1939-45 war, the global COVID-19 pandemic has exposed fundamental inadequacies in the economy, the National Health Service and social care provision. As society moves out of the worst of the pandemic, it may be time to contemplate, as did Beveridge and his contemporaries (including William Temple), what kind of future provision may be required for the future: both in redressing the longer-term stresses and shortcomings of the existing system and in ‘building back better’. Certainly, the political historian Peter Hennessey believes the ‘never again’ impulse that sprung from the 1939-45 conflict has resurfaced today, and may be harnessed to build consensus around new priorities (Hennessey). Even so, this will entail more than simple reform of the existing welfare system, for two key reasons. First, the political, economic, cultural and demographic landscape of the twenty-first century has changed. Second, any revision of welfare requires a rethinking not only of its fiscal and operational dimensions, but of the very values that underpin a ‘welfare society’ that is fit for purpose. What principles might inform any kind of reform? And in the midst of that, what is the role of faith-based social action? In this article I will approach this question by beginning with the ‘Five Giants’ of Beveridge’s report, before asking what might form the basis of a ‘new Beveridge’ for the twenty-first century. Sam Wells’ recent survey of church-related provision argues that reforms of welfare should proceed not from a ‘deficit’ model but from one of ‘assets’ and social goods. It is in their ability to articulate and embody social capital, motivated by religious and moral values, that faith-based organisations demonstrate a distinctive and decisive contribution to civil society. This calls for a renewed focus on the significance of the voluntary sector in a revitalised ‘welfare society’, alongside the State and the market, and a consideration of five new social ‘goods’ to inform policy and inspire change.
    • ‘‘Turning the Wheel of the Dharma’: A translation of Aśvaghoṣa’s Buddhacarita Canto 15 from a recently rediscovered Sanskrit manuscript

      Jones, Dhivan Thomas; University of Chester (Cardiff University Press, 2021-12-15)
      This article offers a first translation into English of the re-discovered Sanskrit text of Canto 15 of Aśvaghoṣa’s Buddhacarita. While Cantos 1–14 of Aśvaghoṣa’s kāvya, or long poem on the life of the Buddha, have survived in Sanskrit, it had been thought that Cantos 15–24 only survived in Tibetan and Chinese translations. But the Japanese scholar Kazunobu Matsuda, working with Jens-Üwe Hartmann, has recently identified the whole of Canto 15 embedded in a Sanskrit manuscript of the Tridaṇḍamālā, attributed to Aśvaghoṣa. While Matsuda has made a translation into Japanese, I offer a translation of the Sanskrit text of Buddhacarita Canto 15 into English. A distinctive feature of this translation is that I present a prose translation, conveying the Sanskrit syntax and vocabulary in an accurate form, alongside a verse translation, suggesting some of the poetic qualities of Ásvaghoṣa’s Sanskrit in the form of English blank verse and unrhymed ballad metre.
    • Are Alcohol and Drugs ever acceptable to Buddhists?

      Dossett, Wendy; University of Chester (Equinox Publishing, 2021-10-25)
      This short chapter explores the ways in which the fifth precept has been interpreted in different social locations, as well as Buddhist ritual use of entheogens, the association of spirituality and psychedelics, and Buddhist approaches to addiction recovery.
    • What is Pure Land Buddhism?

      Dossett, Wendy; University of Chester (Equinox Publishing, 2021-10-25)
      A short introductory essay on Pure Land Buddhism addressing its history, texts, teachings and internal diversity.
    • What do we know about the historical Buddha?

      Jones, Dhivan Thomas; University of Chester (Equinox Publishing, 2021-10-25)
      Answer to the question, What do we know about the historical Buddha?
    • What Kinds of Meditation Are There in Buddhism?

      Jones, Dhivan Jones; University of Chester (Equinox Publishing, 2021-10-25)
      Answer to the question, What Kinds of Meditation Are There in Buddhism?
    • What Is non-attachment in Buddhism?

      Jones, Dhivan Thomas; University of Chester (Equinox Publishing, 2021-10-25)
      Answer to the question, What Is Non-Attachment in Buddhism?
    • Are Buddhists Vegetarian?

      Jones, Dhivan Thomas; University of Chester (Equinox, 2021-10-25)
      Answer to the question, Are Buddhists vegetarian?
    • Peggy the Tutor, Mentor, Colleague and Friend.

      Dossett, Wendy; Burns, Andrew; Schmidt, Bettina; University of Chester; Alister Hardy Society; Religious Experience Research Centre, University of Wales Trinity St David (Religious Experience Research Centre, 2021-08-03)
      Introduction to the Festschrift - Essays in Honour of Peggy Morgan
    • Were the Early Christians Really Persecuted

      Middleton, Paul; University of Chester (Amsterdam University Press, 2021-06-30)
      In their writings, the Early Christians presented themselves as a suffering community, facing intolerance and misunderstanding from Jew and Gentile alike, to the extent that in Acts, the Jewish community in Rome are made to declare of early Christianity, ‘we know that people everywhere are talking against this sect’ (Acts 28.22). However, historians generally recognise that while members of the early Church undoubtedly did face some harassment, there was no empire-wide policy against Christianity until well into the third century, and even then, these were short lived. Where Christians experienced persecution, it tended to be localised, sporadic, and random, and resulted from pockets of prejudice rather than any official imperial interest in the Church. If we see those who take at face value the deutero-Pauline claim that ‘all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted’ (2 Tim 3.12) as representing a ‘maximalist’ view of persecution, then, in direct contrast, what might be termed a ‘minimalist’ account is gaining popularity among scholars. Minimalists go beyond the view that Christians faced ‘periodic persecution’, and conclude that in all significant respects, the Christian narrative of persecution is a constructed myth. Moreover, they tend to turn Christian charges against their pagan neighbour of intolerance back onto the early Church, arguing that in a Roman environment of general imperial tolerance towards varieties of beliefs and practices, it was Christian intolerance and intransigence that led to their appearances before magistrates. However, this was not persecution in any meaningful sense, but prosecution. Both maximalist and minimalist accounts of early Christian experiences of suffering construct a context in which a generally tolerant group encounter an intolerant ‘other’. Depending on which approach is adopted, either Christians or Romans were the ‘victims’ of intolerance. In light of this apparent scholarly paradigm shift, I return to the basic question: were the early Christians persecuted? First I outline the formerly dominant ‘persecution paradigm’, arguing that this way of presenting Christian experience is already promoted in New Testament texts. Next, I evaluate recent revisionist ‘minimalist’ accounts, noting that the idea Christians invented—or at least exaggerated—the extent of the persecution can be found as far back as the eighteenth century. These re-evaluations offer an important and valuable corrective to the maximalist approach. However, minimalists, I argue, tend to simply replace a one-sided Christian reading of history with an equally skewed Roman perspective. Instead, I offer a reading which might be categorised as ‘modified minimalism’, in which I sidestep the persecution/prosecution dichotomy, and conclude that while it is certainly the case that Romans would have understood their (albeit limited) actions against Christians as prosecutions designed to protect the integrity of the State, Christians experienced those actions, not without reason, as persecution. I argue that Christians and Romans were indeed ‘tolerant’ of the other—just not where it mattered!
    • The Gülen Movement: Between Turkey and international exile

      Tee, Caroline; University of Chester (Brill, 2021-06-24)
      This is a chapter introducing the Gülen Movement to a general scholarly readership, as part of a Handbook of Islamic Sects and Movements.
    • Jesus in an Age of Enlightenment: Radical Gospels from Thomas Hobbes to Thomas Jefferson. By Jonathan C.P Birch

      Greenaway, Jonathan; orcid: 0000-0001-5636-7707 (Oxford University Press (OUP), 2021-02-07)
    • Jesus in an age of enlightenment: Radical gospels from Thomas Hobbes to Thomas Jefferson. By Jonathan C.P Birch

      Greenaway, Jonathan; University of Chester (Oxford University Press, 2021-02-07)
      A review of Jesus in an Age of Enlightenment: Radical Gospels from Thomas Hobbes to Thomas Jefferson by Jonathan C.P Birch
    • Television and the Bible in American Popular Culture

      Collins, Matthew A.; University of Chester (Oxford University Press, 2021-01-20)
      This essay examines the Bible in American television, focusing in particular on the twenty-first century. It suggests that there are three broad categories which may helpfully illustrate and encompass the diverse ways in which the Bible appears and/or is utilized: (i) educating about the Bible (e.g., documentaries); (ii) dramatizing the Bible (renditions of biblical stories); and (iii) drawing on the Bible (the impact or use of the Bible in other television programs). Examining each of these in turn, this essay highlights the prevalence of the Bible within television and thus within American popular culture more generally, as well as considering some of the myriad ways in which it has been read, used, and interpreted. In particular, it endeavors to show how the medium can function as a tool for both reflecting and promoting levels of biblical literacy among its audience.
    • 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.
    • Pre-Pandemic Ethics: Triage and Discrimination

      Clough, David L.; Adam, Margaret B.; University of Chester (Hymns Ancient & Modern, 2020-10-12)
      UK COVID-19 death rates are disproportionately high among Black African, Black Caribbean, Bangladeshi, Pakistani, and Indian people in the UK, as well as among care home residents, carers, essential workers, and people living with disabilities and pre-existing conditions. The effects of the pandemic demonstrate the systemic social disparities of life and death in the UK. This is the context in which the authors consider Christian pandemic ethics, and this calls for a shift of focus away from pandemic ethics to what we term ‘pre-pandemic ethics’.
    • 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.