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Starting from a cognitive point of view, this paper provides an entirely new reading of the dances and chants of the Salian priests. By focusing on their dances and chants in the perspective of embodied cognition and by putting a diligent analysis of (a) the reports and (b) the prayer texts into historical comparisons with other ‘prophetic’ practices of that time, this study is able to elucidate the Salian performances as body techniques that go beyond a mere facilitation of sociality. These techniques alter the practitioners’ states of mind and thereby elicit an experience that one may call religious experience, divine experience, or ‘possession’.
Anger was a topic of significant reflection in antiquity, and it was taken up in new ways in early Christianity. As contemporary historians explore the myriad ways in which emotions were not only described but also presented, scripted, and made normative in historical sources, greater clarity is needed to understand the ways in which institutions were involved in shaping emotions. This essay argues that Augustine of Hippo's catechetical instruction on the Lord's Prayer constituted a critical institution for the transposition of classical discourses on anger and its healing into Christian education. Augustine understood the catechumenate itself as an institution for teaching patience and forbearance as antidotes to anger, and in these settings, he provided a variety of cognitive and spiritual exercises for diagnosing and treating anger. By articulating baptismal education as an emotion-shaping institution, we can better appreciate the ways in which Christian communities developed and expanded the inherited institutions of antiquity for ordering the emotions. In addition, such reflection allows us to evaluate the subtle interplays between emotions as felt subjective experiences and as reflective of social organizations that instilled and prescribed emotional norms.
American Protestants have expressed diverse views of how “faith” and “medicine” relate to health. Certain Protestants consider God the source of both illness and healing, while others attribute sickness to demons and wholeness to God. Some rely exclusively on either faith or medicine for healing, while others combine them. Over time, perceived tensions between faith and medicine have diminished, but not disappeared. There are numerous examples of Protestants praying in faith for healing and trusting God to heal through medical means. American Protestants have sometimes conflated rejection of medicine with “faith” and acceptance of medicine with “unbelief” – rather than following a line of logic that one may reject medicine and still lack faith, or accept medicine without wavering in faith.
Chapter 4 synthesizes the concerns of the first three chapters. It is about four topics that underlie the Anthropocene: gradients (the way qualities vary in their intensity over space and time, and the ways such variations relate to causal processes); grading (the ways agents assess and alter such intensities and experience and intervene in causal processes); degradation (the ways highly valuable variations in qualitative intensities are lowered or lost); and grace (the way agents work to maintain gradients, care for those whose lives have been degraded, and value those agents who work and care in such ways). It reframes a few universal thermodynamic variables as (soon to be, if not already) global sociocultural values: energy, entropy, work, and temperature. In addition, it details some of the key features of one important nineteenth-century cosmology in regard to the origins of the Anthropocene (and the discipline of anthropology).
1 Th. 5:17 tells us to pray without ceasing. Many have worried that praying without ceasing seems impossible. Most address the problem by giving an account of the true nature of prayer. Unexplored are strategies for dealing with the problem that are neutral on the nature of prayer, strategies consistent, for example, with the view that only petition is prayer. In this article, after clarifying the nature of the problem for praying without ceasing, I identify and explore the prospects of five different strategies that are neutral in this sense. I also raise problems for each strategy.
Chapter 10 shows how what began with philosophy’s rendering God superfluous ended in a war against the God of Abraham. Here we have the singularity of the Holocaust, which lies in a singular assault on the Jewish people as the perennial witnesses to that God the God of Abraham. Drawing on the testimony of the Holocaust diaries, written within the whirlwind of the assault on God, this chapter demonstrates that this defining feature of the Holocaust can be seen, for example, in the Nazis’ use of the holy calendar in the execution of their actions, in the prohibitions against prayer and Sabbath observance, in the destruction of synagogues and Hebrew Bibles, and in the targeting of children, elders, and mothers. What the diaries reveal about the essence of Holocaust that the historians cannot, it is argued, is this: The Holocaust was the systematic annihilation of not just of the bodies but of the souls of the Jews as a means of annihilating the God of the Jews. It is unprecedented and unparalleled.
Not all inhabitants of Saint-Louis embrace the history of colonialism. The descendants of the colonial subjects remember colonialism very differently from the elites who celebrate the Fanal. They remember that the founder of the Muridiyya Sufi order, Cheikh Ahmadou Bamba, was tried by the privy council in Saint-Louis in 1895 and sent into exile. On 5 September of each year, the disciples of the Sufi marabout commemorate a prayer of emergency said by their saint at that trial. This chapter analyses the history of that prayer and examines it as a palimpsest performance that accumulates many different histories and remembers them at once. It analyses the commemoration as a hybrid of different temporalities aligned to repair the legacy of colonial domination for the disciples of a Muslim marabout whose resistance is remembered as the foundation moment of the independent nation. In an interpretation inflected by Afro-nationalism and Sufi spirituality, the disciples credit the prayer with bringing about national independence through occult means. They remember it as a miracle performed by the Sufi leader that established Senegal’s political independence.
Are there good reasons for offering petitionary prayers to God, if God exists? Could such prayers make a difference in the world? Could we ever have good reason to think that such prayers had been answered? In this Element, the author will carefully explore these questions with special attention to recent philosophical discussions.
The surprising absence of violent language from classical Athenian curses is best understood as a rhetorical strategy appropriate for getting the divine powers to enact the curser's desire to harm his or her enemies and to gain an advantage in the particular agonistic context. A contrast with the extravagantly violent language of other contemporary curses, which call for unmitigated catastrophe to befall their targets, shows that the fundamental difference between these curses is the audience that they primarily address, which shapes the nature of the request that is made in the imprecation. Whereas contingent curses primarily address the human community with highly intense rhetoric to deter potential violation, these agonistic curses against rivals request assistance in the rivalry from some power beyond the human community, limiting the extravagance of the request to improve the chance of fulfilment.
From the invocation to Aphrodite in fr. 1, the gods are a constant force in the world evoked in Sappho’s poetry. Chapter 15 of The Cambridge Companion to Sappho examines cultic and religious presences from a literary point of view.
This article traces the evolution of a kabbalistic prayer supplication that was designed to purify male Jews from pollution caused by improper seminal emission. In doing so, it focuses on the metaphysical rationale behind it, its function, and its metamorphosis from a highly technical practice into a mainstream devotional practice. It addresses how notions of sexual pollution (qeri) were contextualized in Lurianic Kabbalah and how they were later embedded in kabbalistic manuals and prayer books. Furthermore, the article examines Jewish-Christian and inner- Jewish debates that emerged in connection with the effects of spilling semen in vain. Special attention is paid to possible social factors that may have impacted the increased anxiety about male bodily fluids and “misguided” desires. In addition to the available research on the theological and general historical background of the prohibition of wasting seed, the following analysis offers a microhistory of this short yet highly influential text.
This chapter considers how the English Reformation was, or, mostly, was not recalled in official liturgical documents. The first section surveys the evolution of calendars of saints from the 1530s to the version that became fixed in the Book of Common Prayer from 1562 onwards, which included a great many ancient and medieval commemorations but none from later than the thirteenth century, and cites alternative commemorative models which Tudor regimes could have embraced but chose not to. It then discusses why the Book of Common Prayer so pointedly ignored the upheavals of the Reformation, unlike the Scottish Book of Common Order, arguing that this reflects the need to unite a bitterly divided nation through ‘common prayer’ which was also an act of oblivion. The final section traces how a new myth of the English Reformation was created by occasional services of national prayer during Elizabeth I’s reign, a myth in which the Reformation’s central event was Elizabeth’s own accession, providentially delivering her people from Mary Tudor’s tyranny. This myth faded from the liturgy with the queen’s death, to be replaced by a new liturgical emphasis on popish cruelty based around a new commemoration.
This chapter asks where and how Rome (and, by extension, polemics self-consciously characterized as reactions against Rome) figures in efforts to determine what the living owe to the dead, and what the dead can do for the living. Latin occupies a controlling position within this inquiry; so, too, do texts that cast the world of the living as the home of the dead; so, finally, do Reformation-era debates about the soteriological stakes of praying for the dead. These topics span a period of time in which Rome is the gravitational centre of a sequence of massive upheavals in vernacular piety and attendant debates about the relationship between the living and the dead. The chapter argues that interpreting these debates as facets of the fact of Rome alerts us to the role that the human voice plays in probing the limits of mortality and the nature of the human as such.
Religious concerns, manifested in thought and behaviour, have a complex, bidirectional and sometimes conceptually overlapping relationship with mental health and mental disorder. Psychiatry, concerning itself with what is measurable in research, and with the relief of distress in clinical practice, has a different perspective on these complex interrelationships than does theology or religion. That which is transcendent, and therefore not measurable, is often important to patients, and sometimes distress may (theologically) be a sign of human well-being. The giving of careful attention to transcendence and distress may variously be conceived of as prayer, religious coping or clinical care. Applications of research to clinical practice, addressing as they do a sensitive and controversial boundary between psychiatry and religion, must therefore be patient centred and culturally sensitive.
Kant is critical of many of the practices of Christianity in his time. But when we appreciate the dynamic relation between rational and revealed religion as Kant conceives them, the apparent opposition becomes more questionable and raises more questions than it answers. Kant’s project in the Religion bears important affinities with the religious philosophy of Moses Mendelssohn. Mendelssohn’s philosophy of church and state and their relation involve a number of radical proposals expressive of Enlightenment religious consciousness. Mendelssohn’s concept of enlightened Judaism bears interesting comparison to Kant’s enlightened reflections on Christianity. Mendelssohn defends a form of evidentialism even more radical that Clifford’s. He also defends a conception of the freedom of religious conscience that inspires Kant’s treatment of that topic in part four of the Religion. Conscience is an important theme in Kant’s moral philosophy, which has special application to religious conscience and the freedom of conscience Kant and Mendelssohn both defend.
In an earlier article we reviewed the latest research on the relationship between religious involvement and mental health, the effects of religiosity on mental health and well-being over time and the impact of religious interventions. Here we focus on clinical applications that may be useful to psychiatrists and other mental health professionals. We discuss general clinical applications relevant to all patients (e.g. taking a spiritual history, supporting/encouraging religious beliefs, referring to clergy), violations of clinician–patient boundaries and the need to ensure that religious/spiritual interventions are patient-centred. We describe evidence-based religious interventions and how to identify appropriate patients for this approach. Finally, we explore situations in which religious beliefs and practices may be a problem, not a resource, and make recommendations on how to address such cases. Case vignettes illustrate clinical situations that mental health professionals are likely to encounter. Although the focus is on the North American context, we note how practice and culture in the UK may differ.
All religions describe spiritual experience as pleasant, and the goal of the religious pursuit as profoundly joyful. But many religions also condemn sensory pleasures and the desire for objects of pleasure. In this book, Ariel Glucklich resolves this apparent contradiction by showing how religious practices that instill self-control and discipline transform one type of pleasure into the pleasures of mastery and play. Using historical data and psychological analysis, he details how the rituals, mystical practices, moral teachings, and sacred texts of the world's religions act as psychological instruments that induce well-being. Glucklich also shows that in promoting joy and pleasure, religion also strengthens social bonds and enhances an individual's pursuit of meaning.
This chapter explores when the government’s religious speech violates the EstablishmentClause, which commands that the government “shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.” It examines how courts and commentators have identified at least three different approaches to this question. Under the noncoercion principle, we focus on the effects of the government’s religious, specifically asking whether it coerces listeners’ religious belief or practice. Under the nonendorsement principle, we ask whether the government’s speech endorses religion in ways that communicate a message of exclusion to nonadherents. Finally, under the neutrality principle, we turn to the government’s purposes, asking whether the government seeks to advance religion through its speech. The chapter then applies these approaches to a range of problems involving the government’s prayers, religious displays, and its statements that reflect religious animus. It closes by briefly considering when constitutional challenges to the government’s speech are justiciable—that is, when the federal courts have the constitutional power to decide them—a question to which later chapters will return.
This chapter examines to what extent the personality and teaching of Jesus influenced his disciples to continue his cause post Easter. Jesus was a man of compassion and authority. In contrast to the prophet John, he was a healer, and a highly successful one. His championing of the ‘love command’, the second commandment, was a legacy inherited by the early church as evidenced by both Paul and James’ teaching. He is remembered for ministering to the marginalized, the less favoured in Judean society, which included the physically and mentally infirm, and the poor, and sat down at table with them. Jesus’ prayer life underpinned his mission. He encouraged his disciples to pray to God as their Father, just as he did, and with absolute trust. The Gospel portrayal of Jesus’ inner life is reinforced by the fact that both Acts and the canonical Epistle of James bear witness to his emphasis on prayer. Moreover, James demonstrates the reality, importance, and individuality of Jesus’ wisdom teaching, something to be treasured and emulated. Vitally, this teaching on wisdom and especially prayer primed the disciples for the resurrection appearances, and sustained them in the establishment of the early church.