• 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.
    • Sacred chemicals: Psychedelic drugs and mystical experience

      Partridge, Christopher; University College Chester (Paternoster Press, 2003-06-01)
      This book chapter discusses the use of hallucinogens in inducing mystical experiences.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • The Scarecrow Christ: The Murder of Matthew Shepard and the Making of an American Culture Wars Martyr

      Middleton, Paul; University of Chester (Amsterdam University Press, 2019)
      In this essay, I examine the popular martyr-making process in respect of Matthew Shepard, arguing that both the making of the martyr and the reaction it provoked reflects American ‘culture wars’. Martyrology is conflict literature. However, as I have argued before, the most significant conflict in a martyrdom story is not necessarily between the martyr and the agents of execution, but the story-tellers and their opponents.9 Yet, martyrological narratives are difficult to control, as I will demonstrate from the contested nature of Shepard’s secular canonisation process. For at least some in the LGBT community, the dominant hagiography of Matthew Shepard, the gay martyr, is seen as unhelpful. Ironically, both LGBT activists and right-wing religious groups have in some ways sought to undermine Shepard’s martyr status, by focusing on his life rather than his death. Nonetheless, I argue, such efforts continue to have limited effect because in martyrologies any interest in the lives of their heroes is incidental, merely setting the scene for a significant death.
    • Scholarly and Popular Reception

      Collins, Matthew A.; University of Chester (Bloomsbury / T&T Clark, 2018-09-20)
      For more than two-thirds of a century, the Dead Sea Scrolls have left a trail of intrigue and controversy in their wake. They have had an immeasurable impact, not only within the realms of academia and scholarship, but also upon the wider world, thanks to the widespread permeation of the scrolls into popular culture. On the one hand, they have provided scholars with a previously unimaginable wealth of textual material from the Second Temple period (shedding light, for instance, on the literature and social, political and religious world of the intertestamental era, as well as the transmission history of the scriptural texts), while on the other, the infamy resulting from years of restricted access and the consequent perceived secrecy surrounding their content has made them attractive to a fascinated public, for whom ‘the Dead Sea Scrolls’ constitutes ‘a cultural “buzz-phrase” signifying mystery, conspiracy, and ancient or hidden knowledge’ (Collins, 2011, p. 227). How have the Dead Sea Scrolls come to occupy this conceptual space in the public consciousness, and how might we begin to examine and explain the impact they continue to have upon both the academic and popular spheres?
    • Scriptural reasoning

      Greggs, Tom; University of Chester (2008-11)
    • Secularization and its discontents

      Warner, Rob; University of Chester (Continuum, 2010-10-21)
      This book discusses classical secularisation theory and modified versions that allow for difference between national and social context, within the context of changing pattersn of religious practice in the West over the past 150 years.
    • Shaping the tools: Study skills in theology

      Ackroyd, Ruth; Major, David; Chester College of Higher Education (Darton, Longman & Todd, 1999-09-01)
      This book discusses how to develop effective reading, effective writing, assessment, and critical skills to assist with theological study.
    • The significance of recent research on 1 Corinthains for hermeneutical appropriation of this Epistle today

      Thiselton, Anthony; University of Chester (New Testament Society of South Africa / Nuwe-Testamentiese Werkgemeenskap van Suid-Afrika, 2006-01-01)
      This article discusses 1 Corinthians.
    • Signs of Salvation: Insecurity, Risk and the End of the World in Late Modernity

      Knowles, Steve; University of Chester (Bloomsbury, 2017-06-29)
      This chapter is divided into three parts. First, an outline of Ulrich Beck’s world risk society thesis will provide an important part of the sociological context within which fundamentalism has flourished, particularly in the last 50 years. Second, an introduction to one specific aspect of Christian fundamentalism—namely ‘rapture culture’ (Frykholm 2004) provides the theological context for the discussion. Third, examples of contemporary ‘rapture culture’ are examined which demonstrates the influence of risk and the concomitant insecurity that serves such a theological perspective. Within this culture signs of the end of the world provide succour and point to the possibility that salvation is close at hand.
    • SOTS, SBL, and WWI: Anglo-American Scholarly Societies and the Great War

      Collins, Matthew A.; University of Chester (T&T Clark, 2019-03-07)
      In January 1917, in the midst of the First World War, a small group of biblical scholars gathered at King’s College London for the inaugural meeting of the newly-formed Society for Old Testament Study (SOTS). The decision to create such a society had been taken the previous summer at Queens’ College, Cambridge, on 29 June 1916, just two days before the commencement of the Battle of the Somme. Thus the origins of this British-based society are to be found firmly (and somewhat peculiarly) planted in the context and conflict of the Great War. As a result, the records and history of the early years of the society afford us a valuable window through which to view the landscape of biblical scholarship of the period. Likewise, the detailed minutes and papers of the wartime meetings of the larger and already established US-based Society of Biblical Literature (SBL; founded in 1880) offer a similar (yet distinct) insight into academic attitudes on the other side of the Atlantic and especially the challenges to biblical scholarship (both ideological and practical) posed by the outbreak of war. Accordingly, in thinking about the wartime mobilization of biblical studies, this essay takes as its focus the effect of the war upon British and American scholarly societies (epitomized here by SOTS and SBL) and the response(s) of those societies as indicative of shifts and trends in both wartime and post-war biblical scholarship. Although predominantly a historical survey, drawing upon the records and minutes of the two groups in order to reconstruct events, it is argued that, in both their rhetoric and the practical steps taken towards scholarly reconciliation, these societies may be seen as having actively resisted the idea of 'the enemy' prevalent in propaganda material of the time. In doing so, they were subsequently well positioned to play a significant role in the swift re-establishment of international scholarly relations after the First (and indeed later, the Second) World War. Thus, it is argued that, during wartime, these scholarly societies performed a potentially unintentional yet vital regulatory function as tools enabling and encouraging the maintenance, preservation, recovery, and continuity of international biblical scholarship.
    • Speakers for the Dead: digital memory and the construction of identity

      Vincent, Alana M.; University of Chester (Berghahn Books, 2018-06-19)
      In the wake of the killing of twelve people at the offices of the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, thousands of individuals—many of whom had never before seen a copy of the paper—changed their Facebook statuses, profile pictures, or Twitter updates to “Je suis Charlie.” A month previously, a similar outpouring of digital sentiment took place in response to a New York grand jury’s decision not to indict police officers who had been filmed choking Eric Garner to death: #icantbreathe. These two events are, of course, not unique—one might also note Le Monde’s editorial headline on 12 September 2001, “Nous sommes tous Americains”, or even John F. Kennedy’s 1963 declaration “Ich bin ein Berliner”—but they are exemplary of an increasing tendency towards the appropriation of another’s identity as a ritual of public mourning. This paper considers these appropriative rituals in a wider historical context of memorialisation as constitutive of collective identity, arguing that, while the internet did not originate this ritual of remembrance via appropriation, its increasing dominance is a consequence of the immediacy and international nature of digital culture. It then presents an analysis of the politics of the “us” which results from these commemorative rituals, making some suggestions about whether, and how, the problematic notion of collective identity is transforming in the digital age.
    • Spiritus Contra Spiritum: Spirituality, Belief and Discipline in Alcoholics Anonymous.

      Dossett, Wendy; University of Chester (Equinox, 2020-03-15)
      The Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) suggest that the solution to alcohol addiction may be found in ‘a power greater than the self’. Carl Jung, who engaged in a correspondence with one of AA’s founders, asserted that medicine, even analytical psychology, could be of limited use to a sufferer. He agreed with AA that the problem was of a spiritual nature and a solution was to be found in a spiritual awakening. This chapter explores the ways in which members of Alcoholics Anonymous identify their recovery as ‘spiritual’. It demonstrates that much contemporary AA engagement deviates considerably from its Christian theistic roots and sits more comfortably within the holistic milieu. However, the practice of ‘spiritual discipline’ central to the Twelve Step programme captures an easily overlooked feature of AA, and one which also sets it apart from self-soothing and happiness-seeking features of contemporary well-being spirituality.
    • Studies on II Corinthians

      Greggs, Tom; University of Cambridge (Reel Life, 2005)
    • Studies on II Timothy

      Greggs, Tom; Price, Charles; University of Cambridge (Reel Life, 2006)
    • "Suffer Little Children": Child Sacrifice, Martyrdom, and Identity Formation in Judaism and Christianity

      Middleton, Paul; University of Chester (2016-12-31)
      This essay examines the contrasting ways in which the sacrifice of children is portrayed in Jewish and Christian martyrologies. In these narratives of extreme persecution and suffering, death was often seen to be the way in which religious integrity and identity was preserved. It is argued that Jewish martyr narratives—for example, the First Crusade, Masada, and the Maccabees—reflect a developed notion of collective martyrdom, such that the deaths of children, even at the hands of their parents, are a necessary component in Jewish identity formation. By contrast, early Christianity martyr texts reflect an ambivalence towards children, to the extent that they are viewed as a potential hindrance to the successful martyrdom of their Christian mothers. Children have to be abandoned for women to retain their Christian identity.
    • Suffering and the Creation of Christian Identity in the Gospel of Mark

      Middleton, Paul; University of Chester (T & T Clark, 2014-01-02)
      This essay applies insights from Social Identity Theory on the Gospel of Mark, arguing that suffering is the primary identity marker for Christians in Mark.