• The big sleep: Strategic ambiguity in Judges 4-5 and in classic film noir

      Christianson, Eric; University College Chester (Brill, 2007-01-01)
      This article discusses similaries between film noir and the book of Judges such as anxiety over constructs of masculinity and normality, interest in ritualized violence, fetishization of women, existential deliberation over character, resignation to the fate of the individual (and by extension the nation), withering acknowledgment of the façade of material progress — all expressed with indeterminate narrative modes that frustrate attempts at making meaning.
    • The category of “religion” in public classification: Charity registration of the Druid Network in England and Wales

      Owen, Suzanne; Taira, Teemu; University of Chester & Leeds Trinity University ; University of Turku (Brill, 2015-05-27)
      On 21 September 2010 the Druid Network was registered by the Charity Commission for England and Wales as a charity for the advancement of religion for public benefit. The decision document explores in detail whether it is possible to consider the Druid Network as ‘religious’ according to the charity law definition of religion. This chapter examines the decision itself as an example of how the category of ‘religion’ functions in public classification and extends it to the analysis of its significance for the field of Druidry in Britain. By extending the analysis to Druids themselves and to the media response, we investigate how the category of ‘religion’ functions in regulating, controlling and enabling different agencies.
    • Claiming Barth for ethics: The last two decades

      Clough, David; Leyden, Michael; University of Chester (Brill, 2010-01-01)
      This article discusses various studies of Karl Barth's ethics written since 1990.
    • Examining the Reception and Impact of the Dead Sea Scrolls: Some Possibilities for Future Investigation

      Collins, Matthew A.; University of Chester (Brill, 2011-01-01)
      The last sixty years afford us a remarkable, though largely unexplored, opportunity to examine the Dead Sea Scrolls from the perspective of “reception history.” This article first provides an overview of what has already been done with regard to this goal and highlights the importance and timeliness of such an approach, suggesting that it is furthermore a necessary endeavor if Qumran Studies is to keep pace with developments in the wider world of Biblical Studies. It continues by outlining some possible directions for future investigation, identifying academic reception, popular reception, and processes of knowledge transfer as three main areas or categories into which such examinations could helpfully be divided. The internal processes of scrolls scholarship, the relationship between Qumran Studies and Biblical Studies, gender issues, the scrolls in literature, film, music, and art, and the role of exhibitions, documentaries, and newspapers, are all highlighted as potential areas for future research.
    • A fistful of shekels: Scrutinizing Ehud's entertaining violence (Judges 3:12-30)

      Christianson, Eric; Chester College of Higher Education (Brill, 2003-01-01)
      In Judges violence is a typical means by which Yahweh orchestrates justice. It becomes the end for the good (such as, likely, Jephthah's daughter), the bad (such as enemy Sisera) and the ugly (such as the thoroughly unpleasant Abimelech). Just as Judges asks the question, 'Who is going to lead Israel?', it also implicitly questions the value of the means by which Israel shall be led. Likewise, the Western film genre creates a dialogue about violence; who may use it and when. It is also about access to the land and its governance. These mutual concerns are explored in a developed comparison between the Ehud narrative (Judg. 3:12-30) and some of the ambiguously virtuous violent heroes of Western films (particularly Clint Eastwood's Spaghetti Western creation, 'the Man with No Name').
    • Health, wealth or wisdom? Religion and the paradox of prosperity

      Graham, Elaine L.; University of Chester (Brill, 2009-01-01)
      This article discusses the role of religious values and participation in the 'happiness hypothesis'.
    • Ireland

      Scharbrodt, Oliver; Montgomery, Victoria; University of Chester ; Queen’s University, Belfast (Brill, 2014-10-30)
      This article discusses the Muslim presence in Ireland.
    • Legitimizing and necessitating inter-faith dialogue: The dynamics of inter-faith for individual faith communities

      Greggs, Tom; University of Chester (Brill, 2010)
      In an age in which religion is a burning issue in the geo-political sphere, the need for peoples of different religions to engage in inter-faith dialogue may seem clear; what is less clear is whether there is legitimacy for and imperative to members of individual faith communities to engage with the religious other on the exclusive grounds of their individual faith. This article thus seeks to advocate that theology done in the service of individual faiths needs as a priority to engage in legitimizing and necessitating dialogue with the religious other as the religious other. The article considers the grounds on which exclusivist religious people can undertake inter-faith dialogue. Looking to the need to attend to particularity and the genuine otherness of the religious other, the article advocates that faiths should begin to understand what it is internal to their traditions that makes inter-faith dialogue a necessity for intense and particular religious self-identity. Members of faith communities need to be legitimated on terms internal to their community and by leaders of their community to engage in dialogue with the other: they need to know not only how to engage with the other but also why to engage with the other. Considering the particular tradition of Christianity, the article attends to these themes by seeking hints from scripture and Christ regarding why a Christian should engage with the religious other in order to be more intensely Christian.
    • Love and Monsters: gender, Autonomy and Desire in Modern Golem Literature

      Vincent, Alana; University of Chester
      This chapter traces the development of the figure of the golem from its early appear- ance in Jewish text to its presentation in modern literature, as a test case for the bound- aries between human and non-human. Unlike the rabbinic literature in which the golem first appears and attracts questions of legal ramifications, modern literature in- vestigates questions of emotion and eros. In the literary treatments reviewed, the golem is narratively acknowledged as an autonomous being when it exhibits the ca- pacity for emotional attachment and agency.
    • Luther’s Legacy: Rethinking the Theology of Lay Discipleship 500 Years after the Reformation

      Graham, Elaine L.; University of Chester (Brill, 2017-09-23)
      The 500th anniversary of the Protestant reformation is significant in many respects, not least in providing an opportunity to revisit Luther's emphasis on the role of the laity. Yet such a positive and robust understanding of vocation as secular and worldly, as well as ecclesial, has informed understandings of lay ministry only sporadically, as they have often been submerged by clericalism and institutional inertia. By revisiting the hey-day of modern theologies of the laity from the mid-twentieth century, and in dialogue with a recent Church of England report, this article will suggest some ways in which contemporary theological reflection on lay ministry as the vanguard of the missio Dei and the work of the Church in the world might be promoted. A focus on a learning church, education for discernment and a worldly, missional ecclesiology will hold the Church to its essential vision of an empowered laity.
    • 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.
    • Maternal Silences: Motherhood and Voluntary Childlessness in Christianity

      Llewellyn, Dawn; University of Chester (Brill, 2016-02-19)
      In Christianity, there is an ideology of motherhood that pervades scripture, ritual, and doctrine, yet there is an academic silence that means relatively little space has been given to motherhood and mothering, and even less to voluntary childlessness, from a faith perspective. By drawing on qualitative in-depth interviews with Christian women living in Britain, narrating their experiences of motherhood and voluntary childlessness, I suggest there are also lived maternal silences encountered by women in contemporary Christianity. There is a maternal expectation produced through church teaching, liturgy and culture that constructs women as ‘maternal bodies’ (Gatrell 2008); this silences and marginalises women from articulating their complex relationship with religion, motherhood, and childlessness in ways that challenge their spiritual development. However, this article also introduces the everyday and intentional tactics women employ to disrupt the maternal expectation, and hereby interrupt the maternal silence.
    • The Plymouth Brethren Christian Church, Media Engagement and Public Benefit

      Knowles, Steve; University of Chester
      This article examines the recent engagement with media by the closed Christian sect, the Plymouth Brethren Christian Church (pbcc). Historically the pbcc have been reluctant to engage with mainstream media, preferring instead to keep their own council. However, the rejection by the Charity Commission for England and Wales of an application by a pbcc trust for charitable status proved to be a catalyst for significant and sustained media engagement. The concept of mediatization is utilised as a metaprocess to frame the way the pbcc engaged with media in order to demonstrate how they provide ‘public benefit’ to the wider community, which was crucial to the successful gaining of charitable status.
    • Reflexivity and Rapprochement: Explorations of a ‘Postsecular’ Public Theology

      Graham, Elaine L.; University of Chester (Brill, 2017-10-19)
      Accounts of secularization, decline and marginalization in relation to the public position of religion in Western society have failed to account for the continued vitality and relevance of religion in the global public square. It is important, however, to challenge simplistic accounts and think of the new visibility of religion (not least in Europe) in terms of complexity and multi-dimensionality. This article will ask how public theology might contribute constructively to repairing our fractured body politic and promoting new models of citizenship and civic engagement around visions of the common good.
    • Said Nursi’s Notion of ‘Sacred Science’: Its Function and Application in Hizmet High School Education

      Tee, Caroline; Shankland, David; University of Chester (Brill, 2014-04-30)
      This paper explores the teaching of natural science subjects in high schools associated with the Gülen-Hizmet movement in Turkey. It focuses on the apparent reconciliation of scientific learning in a pervasive, albeit unofficial, Sunni Islamic religious culture. The framework for such an accommodation is found in the teachings of Fethullah Gülen and his predecessor, Said Nursi. Following Nursi, Gülen encourages scientific pursuit, and intellectual knowledge in general, as a pious and spiritually meritorious act. Drawing on fieldwork conducted at two Hizmet-affiliated high schools in Turkey, this article explores the “sanctification” of science and learning in the Gülen Movement by highlighting the principle of fedakarlık (self-sacrifice), as the primary motivation of the teaching staff. Focusing also on the schools’ highly disciplined and competitive learning environments (as exemplified in preparations for the prestigious International Science Olympiads), the article suggests that although teacher commitment and prestigious competitive awards bolster the Hizmet schools’ market competitiveness, they fail in actually producing students who pursue careers in natural science fields. By contrast, this article concludes that the movement’s engagement with science, at least at present, is less interested in furthering scientific inquiry than it is in equipping what Gülen has called a ‘Golden Generation’ with the tools it needs to compete with secularist rivals in Turkey.
    • Text, Intertext, and Conceptual Identity: The Case of Ephraim and the Seekers of Smooth Things

      Collins, Matthew A.; University of Chester (Brill, 2017-05-12)
      This essay first highlights some ambiguities in the use of “Judah” and “Ephraim” (and to a lesser extent, “Manasseh”) in the Qumran sectarian Dead Sea Scrolls, which together problematize a straightforward reading of these typological labels in relation to distinct (let alone historical) groups. It then turns to focus on “Ephraim” and its seemingly unprompted employment as an identifying label for “the Seekers of Smooth Things.” Proposing an alternative sectarian provenance for this conceptual identification, it suggests that the explicit association of “Ephraim” with “the Seekers of Smooth Things” (and indeed the community of the Liar) in the pesharim both derives from and builds upon implicit scriptural allusions present in the Damascus Document.