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While examining the theological, ideological and sociological dimensions of the Sabbatean messianic movement, and sketching its major figures, the chapter is aimed at uncovering less famous kabbalistic schools and movements in the seventeenth century. These go beyond the continued editing, formulation and influence of Safedian Kabbalah, with the philosophically oriented interpreters of Kabbalah in Italy being of special interest. Against the backdrop of the general crisis of the century and particularly the growing insecurity of European Jewry, the development of nationalistic Kabbalah, especially in Prague, especially its focus on the Land of Israel, is examined. The role played by Musar (self-perfection) literature and magic in popularizing Kabbalah, the reception of Christianized Kabbalah amongst elites in several Protestant countries complement the picture of the growing sway of this lore during the course of the century. However, the very success of Kabbalah also generated a range of critical responses, expanding from Italy into northern Europe (including non-Jews). Tellingly, these included cautions against its early study found in central legal codes.
The chapter follows the transformation of kabbalistic life that took place in the sixteenth century, especially in Safed. The Ottoman context (including Sufi influences) is addressed. The main circles covered here are those of R. Yosef Karo, R. Moshe Cordovero and (most extensively) R. Itzhak Luria. The examination of theurgical-mythical themes continues here, alongside new psychological theories of the soul and messianic visions of both history and cosmos. Views of femininity and sexuality are explored, as well as the psychology of the mystical fellowship as a new social form and accompanying techniques and experiences, forming what the chapter's conclusion describes as a mystical culture. In the literary domain, particular emphasis is placed on the roles of print and exegesis (especially around the Zohar), as well as poetics. The interrelationship of all these innovations accounts for the staggering complexity of the Safedian doctrine (accounting for the intensive commentary it received in later generations). One of the main contributions of the chapter is that of familiarizing readers with the unique terminology of this system.
Peterson focuses on some theoretical and practical matters regarding the experience of evil and suffering in Christianity, Islam, and Hinduism, with attention to their providing resources for responding to evil and suffering. Noting that different interpretive categories produce different directives for responding, he finds that the responses across religious traditions are significant for engaging with human experience while increasing awareness of our shared humanity.
Dunn identifies two foundational types of motivating experiences in earliest Christianity: postmortem appearances of Jesus and the first disciples’ Pentecost experiences. He regards the experiences of the apostle Paul as particularly illustrative of early Christianity, featuring the liberating power of the Spirit and of being “in Christ,” experiencing the Spirit of God as the Spirit of Jesus, and the shared experience of believers as members of the body of Christ.
The chapter traces the incorporation of the ideal of frugality in its sense of material sobriety, as devised especially by Cicero drawing upon the middle Stoa, into Christian thought and its subsequent ‘demoralisation’ by David Hume and Adam Smith on the grounds that luxury or opulence would enhance the overall material well-being of society. It argues that the two Scottish philosophers nevertheless partially re-incorporated ‘frugality’ in their system of thought as economic prudence directed to the acquisition of fortune as a way of sacrificing present advantage for greater return in future.
The V&A is home to a painted crucifix that has been attributed to the Sicilian master, Antonio de Saliba (c 1466/7–c 1535), who was active in Venice and eastern Sicily during the Renaissance. This paper takes a fresh look at the documentary sources that were published before the devastating earthquake that struck Messina, in the north west of Sicily, in 1908. In re-examining these sources, this paper reveals new insights into Antonio de Saliba’s oeuvre and enables a possible identification of the V&A’s painted crucifix with a specific contractual agreement that links this crucifix’s commission to the artist – specifically with a commission de Saliba received in 1508 from Limina, a small town in the province of Messina. The roots of this provincial commission would explain the persistence of a retardataire production visible in this early sixteenth-century painted crucifix. This paper also challenges the preconceived idea that such painted crucifixes were destined to be displayed high up in a church, on a tramezzo or beam.
In the Islamic Ecumene shared religious principles intertwined with other foundational beliefs, which harkened back to the Turkic-Mongol tradition of the Islamic empires, providing cultural unity. The Islamic World constituted an international society despite the absence of a clear hegemonic power. Institutions, laws, and collective beliefs embodied in everyday practices, rituals, and even the design of buildings and cities provided unity in a heterogeneous and diverse Islamic ecumene.
The role played by Christianity and Christian churches in the demonization of the Jews by the German National Socialist and Italian Fascist regimes remains a subject of intense controversy. The historiography at the base of this debate has been largely rooted in research on either Germany or Italy, yet comparative empirical study is particularly well-suited to allow broader generalizations. Such work is especially valuable given the very different relationships the two regimes maintained with the churches. This article identifies similarities and differences in the Nazi and Italian Fascist uses of Christianity in their efforts to turn their populations against the Jews through examination of two of their most influential popular anti-Semitic propaganda vehicles: La difesa della razza in Italy and Der Stürmer in Germany. Both mixed pseudoscientific racial theories with arguments based on Christian religious authority, and both presented themselves as defenders of Christianity against the Jewish threat. Yet while the Italian publication, reflecting the Fascist regime's close relationship with the Roman Catholic Church, took care to present itself as in harmony with the Church, the German publication adopted a much more critical attitude toward contemporary German churches and churchmen, casting them as having strayed from the true teachings of Jesus.
When idols lost their sense of agency, they effectively died. While this could happen at any time, this chapter focuses on the end of idols in the late third century AD through to the early medieval period. It examines three main agents of cult image destruction: Germanic barbarians, Christian iconoclasts, and ‘rituals of closure’ conducted by pagans themselves. For the Germanic tribes who raided Roman territory for plunder starting in the third century AD, the destruction of cult images could intimidate prisoners intended to become slaves. Numerous Christian hagiographies describe the destruction of idols from the fourth to seventh centuries AD. At some sites, destructive attention was focused on specific images and parts of images, affirming a distinction between idols and other cult images. The careful burial of certain monuments, statues, and statue fragments suggest that some cult images were intentionally disposed of by those who venerated them. Similar rituals of closure in other world cultures prevent ritually charged material from being occupied by dangerous spirits, as well as being a fitting way of disposing of holy objects. In each instance, these actions only makes sense if idols are perceived of as possessing real power.
Iona was a major European intellectual and artistic centre during the seventh to ninth centuries, with outstanding illustrated manuscripts, sculpture and religious writings produced there, despite its apparently peripheral location ‘at the ends of the earth’. Recent theological discourse has emphasised the leading role of Iona, and particularly its ninth abbot, Adomnán, in developing the metaphor of the earthly monastery as a mirror of heavenly Jerusalem, allowing us to suggest a new appreciation of the innovative monastic layout at Iona and its influence on other monasteries in northern Britain. The authors contend that the unique paved roadway and the schematic layout of the early church, shrine chapel and free-standing crosses were intended to evoke Jerusalem, and that the journey to the sacred heart of the site mirrored a pilgrim’s journey to the tomb of Christ. The key to this transformative understanding is Charles Thomas’s 1956–63 campaign of excavations on Iona, which this article is publishing for the first time. These excavations were influential in the history of early Christian archaeology in Britain as they helped to form many of Thomas’s ideas, later expressed in a series of influential books. They also revealed important new information on the layout and function of the monastic complex, and produced some unique metalwork and glass artefacts that considerably expand our knowledge of activities on the site. This article collates this new information with a re-assessment of the evidence from a large series of other excavations on Iona, and relates the results to recent explorations at other Insular monastic sites.
This article explores the literary relationship between the Matthean tradition and the Ascension of Isaiah, a second-century pseudepigraphon detailing Isaiah's visions of the ‘Beloved’ and his polemical (and fatal) engagement with the ‘false prophet’ Belkira. While the lexical affiliation between these texts has been a point of interest, the discussion has oscillated between types of sources utilised, whether gospel material mutually shared with Matthew or Matthew itself. Though this paper details lexical contact, it pushes beyond philological similarity and posits narrative imitations as well as shared polemical strategies. The result is that Isaiah is more readily seen as a figure fashioned after the Matthean Jesus, and the ‘martyred prophet’ motif that ripples throughout the Gospel of Matthew as appropriated and narrativised by the Ascension of Isaiah for a second-century conflict over prophetic practices.
This article uses the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in post-independence Nigeria to examine the transition from individuated agents of religious exchange to integration into global corporate religiosity. Early Latter-day Saint adherents saw Mormonism as a mechanism by which they could acquire access to monetary resources from a financially stable Western patronage, despite political animosity due to Mormonism's racist policies and sectional tumult during the Nigeria-Biafra war. Drawing on oral and archival records, this article highlights how Mormonism as an American-based faith was able to be "translated" to meet the exigencies of indigenous adherents.
Kant’s concept of religion is recognizing all duties as divine commands. The concept of God employed in religion is an analogical or symbolic concept. Kant’s relation to Christianity was characterized by a tension between Pietism and Enlightenment rationalism. Religion within the Boundaries of Mere Reason aims to test a hypothesis: that there is such a thing as a religion of pure reason and that its relation to revealed (Christian) religion need not be one of conflict but can and should be harmonious. The publication of Kant’s book involved conflict with the Prussian authorities, in which Kant adopted a position of principled obedience while resisting unjust repression and conforming to the rule of law.
Justifying grace is for Kant the way religion symbolizes, in terms of our relation to God, our hope to overcome the propensity to evil through the change of heart. Divine forgiveness does not abolish or transcend morality but occurs in accordance with morality. The Son of God symbolizes as vicarious atonement our moral receptivity to God’s mercy. The sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross is the way Christianity symbolizes it in revealed religion. For Kant rational religion includes faith in God’s justifying grace. It does not include prevenient or sanctifying grace but does not exclude these either. They are religiously acceptable parts of revealed Christianity, but their reality and our need for them lie beyond what pure reason can know. Some critics claim that Kant’s account of divine grace is inconsistent with itself. But closer examination shows that it is self-consistent, and for Kant rational religion is even consistent with Augustinianism about grace, while neither affirming nor denying it.
An examination of historical traditions of informal life politics in Japan, and their links to similar traditions internationally. Though political life in East Asia is often viewed as highly state-centric, I argue that there is a long tradition of East Asian thought – evident in some forms of Daoism, Buddhism and even Confucianism – which emphasises the importance of non-state everyday action in creating the good society. One practical manifestation of these ideas in pre-Meiji Japan was the emergence of mutual aid groups. The chapter also examines how modern Japanese informal life politics drew on various European traditions, many of which had links to non-conformist Christianity or to the late nineteenth century upsurge of interest in Asian religions. The final sections of the chapter discusses the impact on Japan’s informal life politics of the early twentieth century Heiminsha movement, the Ashio pollution incident and the High Treason Incident of 1911.
The New Testament Letter to the Ephesians hypostatizes the church’s qualities of unity into those of a bounded, ideal human body and building. As both a temple and a heavenly Colossus, the church has a vast architectural interior equal to divine grandeur reaching up to the same dominating heights of Christ’s own enthronement in heaven. This chapter examines how this architectural ekphrasis participated in aesthetics shared by many authors in Roman literary culture to turn buildings into stories in the final decades of the first century. In this period of cultural change, narratives about buildings shifted from an architecture of tyranny to encomiastic memorials of divine benefaction, unity and power associating grand architecture and the ideal human body. Attention to Roman architectural ekphrasis in Ephesians thus makes the mixed metaphor in Ephesians intelligible. It also offers a solution to an interpretative crux in the text previously considered insoluble. In these ways, therefore, this chapter rethinks the question of early Christian intertextuality as one of connectivity, examining the parallels as products of shared responses among discrete reading communities to Roman cityscapes.
The mushrooming bureaucracy of the Roman empire made much of documents. These written records – rescripts, inscriptions, edicts, among other things – became a gold standard of authority within a certain ideological schema. But the system was also open to ruffling. This chapter looks at how two seemingly unrelated authors – Justin Martyr and Suetonius – lodged their respective challenges to the authority of the imperial document. First, it examines how Justin manages to be parasitic on the fidelity of the document to find an authorised imperial home for Christianity, at the same time as he devalues the cold culture of official writing against the hot Christian culture of orality and immediacy. Second, it explores how Suetonius stages a movement in his Caesars from faith in the imperial written bureaucracy to disenchantment with documents, and to a concomitant investment in oral forms of knowledge. Most importantly, this epistemological drift actually explains the infamous ‘decline’ of the Caesars from dutifully documented, bureaucratically robust biography to glorified gossip column. The discourse of the document provides a new language of interaction to conduct this meeting of disparate texts.
Justin Martyr’s Apologies cite an imperial letter. Scholarly debate has usually focused on whether this letter is real. This chapter argues instead that the rescript associated with Justin’s Apologies, and the Apologies themselves, evoked known cultural and adminstrative practices – practices of hanging papyrus libelli and their subscriptiones in Rome at the Temple of Apollo or the Baths of Trajan, practices also known from the ‘publication’ of rescripts epigraphically in cities far from Rome. Justin’s rescript was thus made real in part through engagement with broader practices of documents in the built environment of cities. The reference to an imperial letter shows Christian citation and/or imitation of imperial documents, a practice that fits within a larger, shared culture of composition, collation, and publication of local complaint and imperial response. An investigation of the rescript associated with Justin provides a focal point to consider larger issues: how minoritized groups in antiquity responded to Roman imperial power, how political power was experienced in urban spaces, and how legal(ish) documents, whether real or invented, could be used to assert rights and resistance.
The events of life are present in all forms of depression. The major cause of the events who determine depression is the behavior of the others, whether or not it is a reaction to the subject's behavior. In parallel with biological cures and psychotherapy interventions, the author uses a form of re-socialization by religious education, with three objectives: 1) the initiation in the study of human behavior, insisting on the instincts and their actions; 2) The Decalogue- the first step of the greatest importance towards the education of the instincts 3) The Christian belief- the human aspiration to perfection, a maximum of (re)socialization of the human being. Human ontogenesis repeats the evolution of Humanity, but not everyone becomes an adult. Immaturity with moral retardation affects millions of ours contemporary.
This essay aims to show that baseball's time-honored emphases on physical and spiritual discipline follow from its metaphysical imaginary. In turn, it will reason that Christian life and thought are capable of illuminating baseball—and vice versa. The argument will proceed as follows: First, both Christianity and baseball frame their worlds in terms of emanation (exitus) and return (reditus): “players” leave home and aim to return home; second, though players belong to a team or community (ecclesia), the task of returning home is ultimately a solitary one; it has to be done by the individual player, even if the team, too, benefits from the individual's undertaking; and third, the spiritual or attitudinal development of the individual is thus crucial: players have to attend to how they approach the “game,” particularly in terms of their internal comportment. This last point will receive special attention: it will be reasoned that Søren Kierkegaard's spiritual writings, tendered for the existential “upbuilding” (Opbyggelse) of “the single individual” (den Enkelte), might likewise offer upbuilding insights for the individuals who play baseball—a sport that John Updike once called “an essentially lonely game.”