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It is known that various members of Constantine's family, of his own generation and the generation before, were Christian. It is often taken for granted that Constantine encouraged or required their Christian faith. However, in fact there is only evidence for Constantine's influence on the faith of his mother Helena. This paper examines the evidence for Christianity in the imperial family before Constantine became publicly Christian, and suggests that some of these women may even have been Christian independently of Constantine's influence.
This chapter highlights an important but neglected type of evidence for Christianity: the content of the Christian revelatory claim. This content consists, at its core, of scriptures and definitive statements of doctrine; these are structured, vivified, and interpreted through various media. Though evidence of this sort is neglected by natural theologians, it has substantial evidential value in the minds of ordinary believers, underwriting both God’s existence and Christianity itself. The chapter offers beginning defenses of three theses: (1) The content of a revelatory claim may provide evidence enabling an inquirer to assent simultaneously to the revelatory claim and the embedded proposition that God exists; (2) Aquinas’s systematic unfolding of Christian revelatory content can enhance the plausibility, both for agnostic inquirers and for believers, of the claim the content was revealed; and (3) An argument from revelatory content can reasonably persuade agnostic inquirers that assent to theism and Christianity is personally obligatory.
The chapter analyzes how frequent- and infrequent-churchgoing youth understand their citizenship identities and obligations at the local and national levels. Both frequent and infrequent churchgoers highlight communal aspects of citizenship, but frequent churchgoers stress citizenship as faith-inspired actions such as prayer and reciprocal ties in church communities. Frequent churchgoers view citizenship as acts that build the nation, though this citizen goal often has a distinctly Christian tenor. Frequent churchgoers use more legalistic language than infrequent churchgoers and display more political efficacy. Afrobarometer findings confirm that more religious involvement relates to higher political activism, but our respondents illustrate that youth agents at times contest religious leaders’ political messaging and question those leaders’ integrity. Case studies from a renewalist church in Ghana and a mainline Protestant South African leadership program illustrate how youth adapt political messaging as they craft their own citizen identities.
In this book, Steven Fraade explores the practice and conception of multilingualism and translation in ancient Judaism. Interrogating the deep and dialectical relationship between them, he situates representative scriptural and other texts within their broader synchronic - Greco-Roman context, as well as diachronic context - the history of Judaism and beyond. Neither systematic nor comprehensive, his selection of Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek primary sources, here fluently translated into clear English, best illustrate the fundamental issues and the performative aspects relating to translation and multilingualism. Fraade scrutinizes and analyzes the texts to reveal the inner dynamics and the pedagogical-social implications that are implicit when multilingualism and translation are paired. His book demonstrates the need for a more thorough and integrated treatment of these topics, and their relevance to the study of ancient Judaism, than has been heretofore recognized.
The Holy Places of Jerusalem's Old City are among the most contested sites in the world and the 'ground zero' of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Tensions regarding control are rooted in misperceptions over the status of the sites, the role of external bodies such as religious organizations and civil society, and misunderstanding regarding the political roles of the many actors associated with the sites. In this volume, Marshall J. Breger and Leonard M. Hammer clarify a complex and fraught situation by providing insight into the laws and rules pertaining to Jerusalem's holy sites. Providing a compendium of important legal sources and broad-form policy analysis, they show how laws pertaining to Holy Places have been implemented and engaged. The book weaves aspects of history, politics, and religion that have played a role in creation and identification of the 'law.' It also offers solutions for solving some of the central challenges related to the creation, control, and use of Holy Places in Jerusalem.
Disagreements over a religion’s interpretation can cause a schism – a formal division into variants with their own officials, doctrines, and rituals. Islam’s Sunni–Shii split over succession disputes came early in its history. One might expect either Muslim modernizers or liberal Muslims to have split Islam further. They have done so only informally, in that the global Muslim community is divided between practicing and nominal Muslims. But nowhere in the Middle East is discontent lacking among practicing Muslims over state-approved interpretations. This is evident in the popularity of unregulated fatwa services. Substantial constituencies consider rituals outdated, clerics unprincipled, and gender discrimination unacceptable. But widespread discontent within a religious community need not generate a disunion. If the risk of joining the leavers is grave enough, disaffected members will stick with the status quo. A successful schism requires, at some stage, open collective action on the part of a constituency with a shared religious vision, possibly under leaders able to strategize, represent the membership, and coordinate moves. Also necessary is that supporters of the religious status quo lack the organizational capacity to erect roadblocks. At present, any group trying to develop an alternative to Sunnism or Shiism would face major resistance.
Chapter 4 provides a rich ethnographic analysis of everyday transnational practices of relatedness, including calling, texting, visiting, and sending remittances. It begins by considering power and affect in moral economies of transnational kinship, along with various communicative means of staying in touch across space, to illuminate the factors, contexts, and modes that inform the ways in which kinship dilemmas are experienced. What follows is a look at interactions and exchanges in which kin draw on the discourses and logics of ‘tradition’ and born-again Christianity to negotiate what being related means and entails. In considering specific familial dilemmas, I show how they call into question ideas of migrant personhood and who is materially responsible for whom, illuminating the moral, affective, material, and existential stakes of these transnational practices.
In the Conclusion, I reflect on the importance of adopting a generational, life-stage, and gendered lens to the study of transnational families. Close consideration of the interplay between physical, social, and phenomenological distance in transnational families demonstrates that the experience of distance is affectively mediated and inevitably relative, just as the meaning of relatedness is negotiated over time and across space. Since economic and social processes are always made sense of from particular social locations, the Conclusion underscores how attention to familial transformations is productive for understanding wider social change.
Devoted to issues of change and continuity, Chapter 6 considers the social reproduction of families, particularly the ways in which ‘change’ and ‘continuity’ (understood as tradition) are drawn upon as tropes in moral economies of transnational kinship. In examining each generation of migrants in turn, I suggest that younger migrants assert ‘continuity through change’, a moral claim with important historical resonances, while older women generate ‘change through continuity’ in familial practices. ‘Change’ emerges as a form of social betrayal, complicating ideas of change as understood in narratives of modernity and in Christianity, particularly its presumed desirability. What is at stake in ‘having changed’, an accusation non-migrants level at migrant kin, are existential questions of personhood and belonging, along with potential access to symbolic and material resources.
Anxiety about the threat of atheism was rampant in the early modern period, yet fully documented examples of openly expressed irreligious opinion are surprisingly rare. England and Scotland saw only a handful of such cases before 1750, and this book oﬀers a detailed analysis of three of them. Thomas Aikenhead was executed for his atheistic opinions at Edinburgh in 1697; Tinkler Ducket was convicted of atheism by the Vice-Chancellor's court at the University of Cambridge in 1739; whereas Archibald Pitcairne's overtly atheist tract, Pitcairneana, though evidently compiled very early in the eighteenth century, was ﬁrst published only in 2016. Drawing on these, and on the better-known apostacy of Christopher Marlowe and the Earl of Rochester, Michael Hunter argues that such atheists showed real 'assurance' in publicly promoting their views. This contrasts with the private doubts of Christian believers, and this book demonstrates that the two phenomena are quite distinct, even though they have sometimes been wrongly conﬂated.
In this article, I offer a response to Joanna Leidenhag's book Mind Creation: Theological Panpsychism and the Doctrine of Creation. Whereas Leidenhag argues that the panpsychist's demands for explanation of the mind lead naturally to demands for an explanation of the whole universe, I counter that (i) the panpsychist's explanatory demands are not necessarily quite as general as Leidenhag presumes, and (ii) demands for an explanation of the whole universe can in any case be satisfying via the postulation of a self-explaining universe. I agree with Leidenhag that panpsychism is potentially a helpful way for Christians to think about the relationship between God and the universe, while disagreeing concerning how well suited process theism is to making sense of such a relationship. Finally, in terms of eco-philosophy, I agree with Leidenhag that panpsychism is conducive to a healthier relationship between humans and the natural world, while expressing reservations that a specifically Christian form of panpsychist eco-philosophy is preferable.
For centuries, Christians have understood some of the texts included in the New Testament as ‘Jewish,’ in the sense of them being written by (converted) Jews for other Jews. From a historical perspective, a new development in the academy suggests that such approaches do not do justice to the nature of these texts. Indeed, even more recent attempts at understanding the New Testament against the background of Judaism are also found wanting. Instead, placing these texts within the broader context of the diverse ways of embodying Jewish ancestral customs in the pre-rabbinic Second Temple period, this interpretive trajectory, involving scholars from a wide array of backgrounds, insists that Paul, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Revelation etc., should be understood as expressions of Judaism. This article highlights key issues involved in such re-readings of New Testament texts, including ways in which they may or may not relate to normative-theological positions among Christians and Jews today. First, the study looks at how the question is asked in our contemporary setting. Then, moving down historical layers, issues related to history and categorisation are addressed before we, finally, return to the present to consider possible implications of our findings.
In this book, Rachel Teubner offers an exploration of humility in Dante's Divine Comedy, arguing that the poem is an ascetical exercise concerned with training its author gradually in the practice of humility, rather than being a reflection of authorial hubris. A contribution to recent scholarship that considers the poem to be a work of self-examination, her volume investigates its scriptural, literary, and liturgical sources, also offering fresh feminist perspectives on its theological challenges. Teubner demonstrates how the poetry of the Comedy is theologically significant, focusing especially on the poem's definition of humility as ethically and artistically meaningful. Interrogating the text canto by canto, she also reveals how contemporary tools of literary analysis can offer new insights into its meaning. Undergraduate and novice readers will benefit from this companion, just as theologians and scholars of medieval religion will be introduced to a growing body of scholarship exploring Dante's religious thought.
This Element concerns itself with a particular aspect of the problem posed to monotheistic religious thought by suffering, namely the suffering of non-human creatures in nature. It makes some comparisons between Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, and then explores the problem in depth within Christian thought. After clarification of the nature of the problem, the Element considers a range of possible responses, including those based on a fall-event, those based on freedom of process, and those hypothesising a constraint on the possibilities for God as creator. Proposals based on the motif of self-emptying are evaluated. Two other aspects of the question concern God's providential relationship to the evolving creation, and the possibility of resurrection lives for animals. After consideration of the possibility of combining different explanations, the Element ends its discussion by looking at two innovative proposals at the cutting-edge of the debate.
The socio-economic and political uncertainties of Kenya in the 1990s jeopardised what many saw as the promises of modernity. An increasing number of Kenyans migrated, many to Britain, a country that felt familiar from Kenyan history. Based on extensive ﬁeldwork in Kenya and the United Kingdom, Leslie Fesenmyer's work provides a rich, historically nuanced study of the kinship dilemmas that underlie transnational migration and explores the dynamic relationship between those who migrate and those who stay behind. Challenging a focus on changing modes of economic production, 'push-pull' factors, and globalisation as drivers of familial change, she analyses everyday trans-national family life. Relative Distance shows how quotidian interactions, exchanges, and practices transform kinship on a local and global scale. Through the prism of intergenerational care, Fesenmyer reveals that the question of who is responsible for whom is not only a familial matter but is at the heart of relations between individuals, societies, and states.
Pancreatic cancer is a major site of gastrointestinal tumors and remains a leading cause of cancer death in adults in the United States. There is also a strong association between pancreatic cancer and depression. When struggling with cancer, along the different phases of illness, a human being is confronted with manifold issues, which might profoundly interfere with their sense of meaning and purpose.
From this standpoint, several different therapeutic techniques have been designed to manage the psychological needs of the patients. Here we provide 2 clinical scenarios, where there was a strong religious correlation to the therapeutic techniques employed with patients suffering from pancreatic cancer.
The 2 cases described showed some improvement in their overall life view and could recalibrate their expectations based on a strong religious foundation.
Significance of results
The role of religion and spirituality in health has also received increasing attention in literature. Religion and spirituality can help patients with cancer find meaning in their illness, provide comfort in the face of existential fears, and receive support from a community of like-minded individuals. In effect, they also provide evidence toward the scope of and integrating the domain of spirituality into holistic cancer care.
It is argued that Tertullian's relatively lengthy description of a chameleon in his De pallio serves as a metaphor not so much for the convert to a philosophical way of life in general but for the convert to Christianity in particular. The argument rests on the unusual emphases within this description which recall different features of Christianity or popular beliefs about the same.
Despite the thousands of pages written and words said about the Holocaust, I still am at a loss in trying to understand it. How a European people with a rich cultural tradition that produced some of the world's greatest composers, philosophers and poets could invent, enforce and docilely follow the first industrial genocide in human history remains, for me, an enigma. This essay focuses on the Jews, both numerically and ideologically the principal, but not the only, victims, the Roma being the other principal victims.
we have a moral code that meshes with Christianity, why then are we so often non-social and why do we so blatantly disobey the dictates of Jesus Christ? “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you” (Matthew 5:43–4). Think about it. The Great War (later called the First World War), 1914–1918, between (depending how you count) 20 and 40 million dead. The Second World War, 1939–1945, 60 to 80 million dead. The Russian Civil War, 1917–1922, 5 to 10 million dead. The Chinese Civil War, 1927–1949, 10 million dead. And so it goes. We are not yet at the pogroms, from the Turks killing Armenians, Stalin and the Kulaks, Hitler and the Jews, down to Rwanda and the killing of the Tutsis, not to mention half a million women raped as a preliminary to grotesque mutilation of genitals.