Now showing items 41-60 of 362

    • Divine Imaginaries: The Turn to Literature in the Feminist Theology and Spirituality

      Llewellyn, Dawn; University of Chester
      At least since beginnings of the second wave of the women’s movement, feminist theologies and spiritualities have turned to the literary world, particularly women’s writing, as a resource. The novels, poetry, prose, and drama authored by women have been used by feminist scholarship to critique the patriarchal and androcentric language, teachings, doctrine, and scriptures of religious traditions, and to reimagine the sacred in ways that validate, recognize, and speak to women’s spiritual lives. In this chapter, I discuss religious feminism’s very literary disposition, and the ways it has harnessed women’s creative written worlds. First, I highlight two connected reasons for the ‘turn to literature’ - the dissatisfaction with Christian scripture and the desire for an alternative set of ‘sacred texts’ to inspire and generate new theological and spiritual insights – drawing on feminists whose work draws together religion and women’s literature. Second, the chapter highlights that while the use of literature has been vital in the development of feminist religious thinking, the reading strategies adopted have tended to rely on the often problematic categories of women’s experience and authorship. This can mean that feminist literary spiritualities have been guilty of essentializing women’s religious identities, and by preferring women’s writing as its sacred texts has limited literature. Finally, the chapter suggests that despite the prevalence of literature in feminist theology, actual, embodied women readers are a neglected but important part of the turn to literature.
    • 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.
    • Going Off the Map: 'Transcendental Dependent Arising' in the Nettippakaraṇa

      Jones, Dhivan Thomas; University of Chester
      The early Buddhist exegetical text, the Nettippakaraṇa, apparently uniquely, describes the stages of the path as ‘transcendental dependent arising’ (lokuttara paṭicca-samuppāda), in contrast with the twelve nidānas, called ‘worldly dependent arising’ (lokiya paṭicca-samuppāda). A close reading of the Nettippakaraṇa in relation to another, related, exegetical text, the Peṭakopadesa, reveals that the latter interprets the same stages of the path in a different way. More broadly, while the Peṭakopadesa takes paṭicca-samuppāda to refer only to the twelve nidānas, the Nettippakaraṇa’s exegetical strategy takes paṭicca-samuppāda to refer to an over-arching principle of conditionality, both ‘worldly’ and ‘transcendental’. This exegesis has proved popular with modern western Buddhist exegetes.
    • The human face of God: notes on a journey through practical theology

      Graham, Elaine; orcid: 0000-0002-0358-0624 (Informa UK Limited, 2020-02-23)
    • Micah, Pesher of (ESTJ)

      Collins, Matthew A.; University of Chester
      Encyclopaedia article on the Pesher of Micah.
    • 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.
    • Barth and Hans W. Frei

      Fulford, Ben; University of Chester
      In this chapter, I will summarise the development of Hans Frei’s reading of Karl Barth in order to contextualise his own Christology as an attempt to learn from Barth yet think beyond him on the locus central to all his theology. While we can trace significant lines of continuity between Frei’s Identity of Jesus Christ and Karl Barth as Frei understood him, we can also see it as a bold, risky essay in pursuit of an even more focused attention to the concreteness of God’s presence in Jesus Christ given us in the text of Scripture.
    • A Teleological Mode of Conditionality in Early Buddhism

      Jones, Dhivan Thomas; University of Chester
      In addition to the twelve links (nidānas) of dependent arising (paṭicca-samuppāda), early Buddhist texts record a series of stages of the path to awakening, called “preconditions” (upanisās), which in the Pāli Upanisā Sutta (S 12: 23; pts ii.29–31) are joined in one series. Modern western Buddhists take this one series to imply that nidānas and upanisās exemplify an over-arching principle of conditionality. In this article I argue that the upanisās exemplify a distinctively teleological mode of conditionality. I investigate (i) the images of a tree coming to full growth and rain flowing to the seas used to illustrate the upanisās, (ii) the distinctly goal-directed language used in relation to the stages of the path, and finally (iii), I propose, via a discussion of Aristotle on teleology, that the upanisās represent a teleological mode of conditionality, such that each stage of the path becomes the condition for the next, in relation to an aim or goal of awakening. I argue that the series of upanisās has a normative, rather than phenomenological, character, and I compare the series to a recipe. I conclude with the suggestion that the similarity between upanisās and nidānas lies in their being necessary conditions, and that this similarity constitutes a “family resemblance” (in Wittgenstein’s phrase). The over-arching principle of conditionality is not a feature of reality over and above such a family resemblance.
    • 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’.
    • 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, 2016-11-31)
      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, 2020-02-20)
      A social identity commentary of the book of Revelation in a single volume commentary of the New Testament