• Being, making and imagining: Toward a practical theology of technology

      Graham, Elaine L.; University of Manchester (Routledge, 2009-07-29)
      This article discusses how theological reflections upon the relationship between 'earth, sky, gods, and morals' - or nature, transcendence, divinity and humanity - might enable new framings of what it means to be human in the context of advanced technological societies.
    • Devotion and affliction in the time of cholera: ritual healing, identity and resistance among Bengali Muslims

      Ferrari, Fabrizio M.; University of Chester (Routledge, 2014-12-05)
      The chapter examines the worship of the cholera goddess Olā Bibi among Muslims of Bengal. Moving from an analysis of iconographic, mythical and ritual material, I investigate how Bengali Muslims have responded to the threat of cholera from early eighteenth century. The goddess has served as a catalyst to inform local identity and to challenge external agency in matter of disorder and social control. Yet while Bengali culture has facilitated a convergence of visions and programs in time of crisis (cholera epidemics and colonialism), the recent affirmation of militant Islamism has aggressively confronted indigenous healing practices thus causing major internal collisions in matter of community ethos, and a consequential loss of vernacular knowledge.
    • Feeding and forming the People of God: the Lord, his Supper and the Church in Calvin and 1 Corinthians 11:17-34

      Fulford, Ben; University of Chester (Routledge, 2009-11-23)
      In this chapter I seek to identify the specific value of the Lord's Supper in distinction from hearing the Word, by reading Calvin’s commentary on 1 Corinthians 11:17-34, and by seeking to supplement his account through fresh theological engagement with the biblical text. Reading Scripture leads Calvin to identify the Supper, in answer to Cocksworth’s question, as an intensified moment of covenant with God in soul-nourishing union with Christ and one another, intensified because of the instrumental role of physical signs. Yet he pays relatively little attention to the importance of the life of the visible church community in the meaning of the Supper in Paul’s argument. By exploring this ecclesial dimension further, I argue, we see the practical, ethical and missional implications of the Supper’s meaning for the church.
    • Interrogating the Post-Secular

      Graham, Elaine L.; University of Chester (Routledge, 2018-11-21)
      This chapter seeks to engage in some detail with the conceptual underpinning of the post-secular. It seeks both to clarify, and defend, the relevance and value of what remains, for some, a relatively controversial conceptual term. However the idea of the postsecular is con-ceived —“post” as either against, beyond, or after; “secular” as denoting institutional decline, loss of personal belief or the effacement of the sacred—I will argue that it still has consider-able potential. It can illuminate the changing tensions between newly-visible religious actors with¬in local and global civil society and those who contest such incursions into the supposed neutrality of the public square. Above all, the unprecedented nature of the post¬secular serves to signal the contradictions inherent in the renewed presence of faith, especially in public life, alongside continuing opposition to religion as a source of legitimate public discourse. Such a juxtaposition of belief and non-belief within postsecularity infuses all our consciousness, even the most religiously devout. It follows that any attempt to speak of faith in public re¬quires a greater sophistication and sensitivity than ever.
    • Invitation to Research in Practical Theology

      Bennett, Zoe; Graham, Elaine L.; Pattison, Stephen; Walton, Heather; Anglia Ruskin University; University of Chester; University of Birmingham; University of Glasgow (Routledge, 2018-05-29)
      Practical theology as a subject area has grown and become more sophisticated in its methods and self-understanding over the last few decades. In doing so, it has become increasingly methodologically sophisticated and theoretically self-aware. This book provides a complete and original research primer in the major theories, approaches and methods at the cutting-edge of research in contemporary practical theology. It represents a reflection on the very practice of the discipline itself, its foundational questions and epistemological claims. Each chapter examines different aspects of the research process: starting with experience and practice, aspects of research design and epistemology, communities of learning, the influence of theological norms and tradition on the practice of research, and ethical considerations about what constitutes ‘the good’ in advanced research. It offers worked examples from the authors, their colleagues and research students that serve to illustrate key ideas and approaches in practical theological research.
    • Martyrdom

      Middleton, Paul; University of Chester (Routledge, 2017-05-23)
      An overview of martyrdom in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam
    • An Ongoing Tradition: Aronofsky’s Noah as 21st-Century Rewritten Scripture

      Collins, Matthew A.; University of Chester (Routledge, 2017-05-09)
      Described by its director, Darren Aronofsky, as “the least biblical biblical film ever made,” Noah (2014) generated a huge amount of controversy among some Christian groups for its perceived radical departure from the biblical text. This article argues (i) that the departure is not in fact so great as some have claimed (with many apparent innovations grounded in pseudepigraphal and rabbinic literature), and (ii) that the strategies employed by the filmmakers reflect a retelling of the story which is in fact very much in line with the motivation and literary techniques of an expanded ancient tradition. It begins by noting the origins and development of the Israelite flood narrative, from its ancient Near Eastern roots through to the biblical account, before examining its continuing evolution through extrabiblical Second Temple and rabbinic literature (e.g., Jubilees, the Genesis Apocryphon, Genesis Rabbah, etc.) as part of an ongoing process of elaboration, clarification, interpretation, explanation, and harmonization. Through a close examination of the “innovative” material in Aronofsky’s film, the aims, techniques, and execution of the biblical epic in general, and Noah in particular, are shown to be thoroughly in line with those of so-called rewritten scripture, such that the film sits comfortably on a spectrum/continuum of “rewriting” the flood narrative that stretches back to the biblical text itself and beyond. Accordingly, this article considers what it means for a film to be “biblical”, arguing with regard to Noah that instances of departure from the text are in fact anticipated in, and/or entirely consistent with, an expanded “biblical” tradition, effectively rendering the film an example of 21st-century rewritten scripture.
    • Religion, Equalities and Inequalities

      Llewellyn, Dawn; Sharma, Sonya; University of Chester; University of Kingston (Routledge, 2016-08-03)
      Presenting cutting edge research on how religion can confront and obscure social inequalities in everyday life, Religion, Equalities and Inequalities argues that when religion is left out of social scientific analyses, it can result in incomplete analyses that conceal pathways to social inclusion and exclusion. Bringing together an international and interdisciplinary group of contributors who operate at the vanguard of theoretical and empirical work on how social structures of power, institutions and bodies can generate equalities and inequalities in religion, the collection shows how religion can enable and challenge the inequities that affect people’s everyday lives.
    • Religious education in the secondary school: An introduction to teaching, learning and the world religions

      Holt, James D.; University of Chester (Routledge, 2014-12-01)
      Religious Education in the Secondary School is a comprehensive, straightforward introduction to the effective teaching of Religious Education in the secondary classroom. Acknowledging the highly valuable yet often misunderstood contribution of RE, this text shows how the subject can be taught in a way that explores the impact of religion on the lives of people and society, engaging pupils and preparing them to become individuals who celebrate and respect diversity. It is illustrated throughout with ideas for teaching at different key stages and offers expert chapters introducing you to both the World Religions and the core aspects of effective teaching and learning. With an emphasis on developing an understanding of the importance - and different ways - of meeting the learning needs of all pupils, key chapters cover: -Understanding different pedagogies of RE -Spirituality and RE -Tips on effective planning and assessment -An approach to teaching across the Key Stages -Core subject knowledge in Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism and Sikhism Written by an experienced teacher, teacher educator and examiner, Religious Education in the Secondary School is a succinct compendium and has a real classroom applicability offering all trainee RE teachers, as well as those teaching Religious Education as specialists or non-specialists a wealth of support and inspiration.
    • 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.
    • The Sacred Alternative

      Owen, Suzanne; University of Chester/Leeds Trinity University (Routledge, 2016-02-29)
      The term ‘sacred’ broadens research to include groups and activities that cut across boundaries maintained by the WRP. Also, while some reject the term ‘religion’ to describe what they do, they still regard certain things and places as ‘sacred’. The limitations of Durkheim’s and Eliade’s ‘sacred’ and ‘profane’ binary as an analytical framework become apparent when applied to cases where ‘religion’ is ambiguous, as an example from a Pagan festival shows. Despite this, a focus on ‘making sacred’ as a human activity that highlights a group’s interests is a useful alternative to the World Religions approach in Religious Studies.
    • Twelve Step Mutual Aid: Spirituality, Vulnerability and Recovery

      Dossett, Wendy; University of Chester (Routledge, 2017-12-27)
      This chapter considers whether the lenses of counselling and New Religious Movements help to understand the phenomenon of Twelve Step recovery from addiction.
    • Tzedakah, Tikkun: Jewish Approaches to Social Justice

      Vincent, Alana M.; University of Chester (Routledge, 2017-10-30)
      This chapter will present a historicised phenomenological account of the two dominant forms of social justice within Judaism: tzedakah (justice) and tikkun (advocacy, or, literally, “mending”). Tzedakah is a core principle of religious Judaism, and also has profound resonances within secular Judaism; the history of the Anglo-Jewish community is illustrative of the manner and extent to which tzedakah has shaped Jewish identity. The concept of tikkun is conceptually more ambiguous, and even now is understood very differently by different Jewish communities. Liberal Jews understand tikkun to be both the action of social justice advocacy (of which charitable giving is only a single component) and, simultaneously, a meta-principle which governs the interpretation of halakah (Jewish law) even to the point of over-riding particular halakhic restrictions which may otherwise impede advocacy activity. Ultra-Orthodox Jews are, conversely, likely to view strict adherence to halakah, including the practice of tzedakah, as the primary means of tikkun ha-olam (the mending of creation). In addition to the key distinction between Liberal and Orthodox social justice activity which emerges when tzedakah and tikkun are considered as modes of action, this chapter will also explore distinctions between ethnic and religious Judaism which emerge when consideration is given to the particular targets of social justice activity: which causes are self-evidently worthy of either charitable or activist intervention? What language is deployed in attempts to promote a cause through appeals to common (Jewish) values? Through a close examination of these issues, the ways in which different traditions of Judaism construct and enact concepts of social justice within both religious and ethnic frameworks will be discursively explored.
    • Understanding UFO religions and abduction spiritualities

      Partridge, Christopher; University College Chester (Routledge, 2003-07-03)
      This book chapter discusses the emergence of contemporary ufology, ufoism as theosophical religion, ufoism as physicalist religion, and abduction spiritualities.
    • The 'virtuous circle': Religion and the practices of happiness

      Graham, Elaine L.; University of Chester (Routledge, 2011)
      This book chapter discusses the role of religion in happiness and wellbeing.
    • What is martyrdom?

      Middleton, Paul; University of Chester (Routledge, 2014-03-12)
      In the aftermath of 9/11, and the increase of the phenomenon of ‘suicide bombing’, it has become important for politicians, academics, and religious leaders to distinguish between ‘true’ and ‘false’ manifestations of martyrdom. In order to do so, and to counter those who argue for the legitimacy of the suicide-attack, they must appeal to an objective and shared definition of martyrdom. However, as this article demonstrates, such a definition is elusive. Moreover, the quest to find one is doomed to failure; martyrdom has always been a contested phenomenon. Even excluding those who kill themselves or others from martyr-status is problematic, as examples of those remembered as martyrs are found in Christian, Jewish, and Islamic traditions. Official ecclesiastical canonisation processes are vulnerable to popular acclamation of ‘unofficial’ martyrs, and in any case churches often break their own rules. While mining the earliest Christian usage of the term ‘martus’ might appear promising, martyrdom was no less controversial in the early church, and functioned primarily as a means of creating and maintaining group identity, especially in the context of intra-Christian conflict. By examining martyrological narratives from the early, Reformation, and modern periods–where I show that martyrologies can be created quite separately from their martyr’s actual convictions–I argue that attempts to distinguish between true and false ideologies of martyrdom are simply replaying historical disputes, and should be read as contributions to the martyrological process of creating or maintaining religious or political group identity.