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Chapter 2 introduces Hegel’s Lectures on the Philosophy of Religion and offers an analysis of his account of the story of the Fall from Genesis. Here Hegel develops his discussion of alienation, since the Fall is a story about how humans are alienated from themselves. It shows that alienation is a fundamental fact of human existence and not just something contingent. The chapter also introduces Hegel’s Lectures on the Philosophy of History and presents his analysis of the alienation that was characteristic of the Roman Empire. Hegel points out that the schools of Roman philosophy—Stoicism, Epicureanism, and Skepticism—can all be seen as reactions to this. An account is given of Hegel’s analysis of Christianity, which he sees as overcoming this alienation. At the end of his lectures, Hegel claims that his own time in the 1820s has certain elements in common with the Roman Empire, when the world of culture had lost its meaning and people fell into a state of alienation and despair. Later thinkers were generally dissatisfied with Hegel’s view that it was sufficient simply to understand the nature of the contemporary crisis. They demanded a more active approach to the world.
This paper discusses the significance of a fragment of stone sculpture built into the north wall of the churchyard at Carisbrooke, Isle of Wight. The sculpture depicts an open right hand that is larger than life-sized and is probably of late Anglo-Saxon date. The size and character of the sculpture favours a manus dei (hand of God), forming the upper element of a large rood assemblage. The authors consider allied sculpture in which such a hand appears on Anglo-Saxon grave markers and in similar low relief depictions where Christ is figured on the Cross. At Carisbrooke, this architectural sculpture would have formed a significant feature of an Anglo-Saxon minster church that was rebuilt in the early Norman period. The siting of this building and the extent of its parochia is briefly considered. Supplementary material reviews the probable significance of the sculptural use of Quarr stone at Carisbrooke and elsewhere.
This chapter examines Gwendolyn Brooks’s representation of everyday African American lives in what was at midcentury affectionately known as “Bronzeville.” Her literature elevates the ways these people – especially Black women – found meaning and value in their regular lives, even as they lived in the shadow of a disinterested and segregated city. With a focus on Brooks’s first collection of poetry, A Street in Bronzeville, and her novel, Maud Martha, this chapter explores how Brooks’s writing exemplifies humanism and places it in the same populist Chicago tradition of Carl Sandburg, while also maintaining ties to the sociologically informed neighborhood writing of Richard Wright, James T. Farrell, and Nelson Algren. Even though Brooks did not define herself as an African American humanist, she engages with some of its core concepts. Namely, she shows how Black people challenge Christian ideals and how they process death and loss without relying on religious doctrines. Instead, Brooks’s characters look inward and toward their community for aid and redemption.
This focus on the senators and the clergy is important because, in my view, too much of the discussion of Rome in late antiquity has focused on either the catastrophic impact of barbarian invasions or the baleful influence of weak emperors and strident generals. Although I am not the first to recognize the vital role played by senatorial aristocrats nor to show the limited influence of the bishops in Rome, new information about the city in late antiquity, new scholarly work on its history, and a new appreciation of the role of the bishops of the city require a new perspective on the very old topic of the “Fall of Rome.”
With the death of Antony and Cleopatra after the battle of Actium in 30 BC, the Roman general Octavian, soon to be called Augustus, took control of Egypt. Roman rule brought a standing garrison of some 20,000 troops and began the long process of making the administration of Egypt more like that used elsewhere in the Romans’ diverse empire. Although no longer a royal capital, Alexandria remained a center of commerce and culture. Much of Egypt’s wheat surplus was shipped to Rome to feed its population, and Egypt was partly integrated into regional economic networks. Roman taxation policies favored the concentration of wealth in private hands and the development of an urban elite that could take on many of the tasks of governance. The cult of the emperors was introduced into Egyptian temples, which continued as vital cultural centers during the first two centuries of Roman rule. The Jewish community of Egypt was destroyed during a revolt in the early second century.
This chapter explores Elizabeth Bishop’s animal poems within an ecofeminist framework, referencing her subversion of traditional religious teachings when engaging with animal otherness. Bishop’s incarnations of female animals in “Brazil, January 1, 1502,” “The Moose” and “Pink Dog” are discussed in contention with her more typical casting of animals and nature as male. With a focus on “Rainy Season; Sub-Tropics,” her use of anthropomorphism and her manipulation of boundaries is suggested as a means of traversing the expectation of what is human and what is animal. Her encounters with animal otherness are considered as reaffirmations of human selfhood and, at the same time, as gestures toward an idea of spiritual otherness. The chapter culminates with an in-depth analysis of “Roosters,” drawing together the ideas of female and animal otherness, while examining the suggestion of transcendence through nature.
What is the most virtuous form of Christian life and the best path to perfection? And what is the best form of social organization and context to achieve this? This chapter addresses these questions by bringing together three different sets of sources for Egypt and Palestine in the fourth to seventh centuries: normative monastic treatises on the desirable and undesirable ways to achieve spiritual perfection, hagiographical narratives that praise the “hidden sanctity” of laypeople, and descriptive historical sources (including papyri) regarding the activities of pious lay groups (spoudaioi, philoponoi). Taken together, these sources reveal that the charitable activities of laypeople played a sufficiently large role in late antique society to challenge the sense of spiritual superiority that began to prevail in monastic circles.
The inspiration for this volume comes from the work of its dedicatee, Brent D. Shaw, who is one of the most original and wide-ranging historians of the ancient world of the last half-century and continues to open up exciting new fields for exploration. Each of the distinguished contributors has produced a cutting-edge exploration of a topic in the history and culture of the Roman Empire dealing with a subject on which Professor Shaw has contributed valuable work. Three major themes extend across the volume as a whole. First, the ways in which the Roman world represented an intricate web of connections even while many people's lives remained fragmented and local. Second, the ways in which the peculiar Roman space promoted religious competition in a sophisticated marketplace for practices and beliefs, with Christianity being a major benefactor. Finally, the varying forms of violence which were endemic within and between communities.
This chapter considers the third great turning point in the development of hermeneutics in Western culture. The first hermeneutics was a hermeneutics of consent. This was developed in early Christianity and by Augustine. The second turning point was in the modern Enlightenment with its classic expression by Spinoza. This is the hermeneutics of suspicion. The third turning point was inaugurated by Barth and Heidegger. Gadamer provides its fundamental book, Truth and Method. This hermeneutics may be called integral hermeneutics, which incorporates the first two turning points. This chapter considers the hermeneutics of Heidegger in its relation to Aristotle. This is followed by a consideration of Gadamer’s hermeneutics with a focus on the central role of phronesis, which shows the relevance of Aristotle. Conversation is also central to Gadamer’s hermeneutics. The chapter finally shows the relevance of Gadamer’s hermeneutics to Christian theology.
Byzantium continued traditions of slaveholding it inherited from the Roman Empire, but these were transformed significantly from the fourth century onward as slavery came to play a diminished role in the generation of economic surplus. Laws governing slaveholding gradually diminished the power of slaveholders and improved the rights of slaves by restricting a master’s right to abuse, prostitute, expose, and murder slaves and their children. Legal norms also eliminated penal servitude, opened the door wider to manumission, and created new structures for freeing enslaved war captives through the agency of the Christian church. Simultaneously, new forms of semi-servility arose with the fourth-century invention of forms of bound tenancy, which largely replaced the need for slaves. Byzantine society commonly used slaves in household and industrial contexts but only sporadically for agriculture, although slave prices remained constant through the eleventh century and even increased beginning in the thirteenth century as Italian traders turned Constantinople and Crete into conduits for slave commerce from the Black Sea. From the fourth century onward, Christian discourse began questioning slavery as contrary to natural and divine law, a tradition that continued throughout Byzantine history without ever leading to a call for abolition.
Excavations at Brandon House, Southwark, uncovered a fragment of Roman pottery with a graffito identified as the Chi-Rho symbol, only the second example to be found in London. This note describes the find itself and its context, presents an overview of similar finds from Roman Britain and offers a glimpse into the significance of the sherd as evidence for Christianity in Roman Britain and its place in the dynamic religious landscape of Roman Southwark.
There is a resurgence of national controversies that are birthed by religious beliefs and shielded under the enclave of theocratic identities. While these groups have an ultimate desire to control the sociocultural and socioeconomic life of the country, they have in the process enhanced internal divisions because of their competition for recognition and relevance. Consequently, the activities of the various religious identities in the country have attracted travails and encouraged conflicts and violence. Under the current system and sociopolitical arrangements, it appears that religious identities have come to occupy a comfortable position in the Nigerian environment where they continue to dictate the social and economic trajectories of the country. To therefore understand the future of Nigeria in relation to religious identities, the chapter argues that the country's different religious groups have contributed significantly to the challenges and development situation of the country.
Many people describe themselves as secular rather than religious, but they often qualify this statement by claiming an interest in spirituality. But what kind of spirituality is possible in the absence of religion? In this book, Michael McGhee shows how religious traditions and secular humanism function as 'schools of wisdom' whose aim is to expose and overcome the forces that obstruct justice. He examines the ancient conception of philosophy as a form of ethical self-inquiry and spiritual practice conducted by a community, showing how it helps us to reconceive the philosophy of religion in terms of philosophy as a way of life. McGhee discusses the idea of a dialogue between religion and atheism in terms of Buddhist practice and demonstrates how a non-theistic Buddhism can address itself to theistic traditions as well as to secular humanism. His book also explores how to shift the centre of gravity from religious belief towards states of mind and conduct.
In the Second World War years, the long-dreamed-of idea of a politically united Europe finally began to be realized, if only in Western Europe. At the heart of this project for a united Europe was the principle of “unity in diversity,” with the diversity lying in the distinct national cultures across Europe. Chapter 8 focuses first on the various reflections on the idea of a “European spirit” discussed at major international conference in Geneva in 1947, before considering the ways in which the notion of “unity in diversity” served to provide an ideological underpinning for this new Europe. Among the many writers and thinkers discussed in this chapter are T. S. Eliot, Denis de Rougemont, Georg Lukács, Stephen Spender, Georges Bernanos, and Karl Jaspers. The chapter highlights just how challenging it is to break with Eurocentric, Euro-supremacist, and Euro-universalist agendas even when the emphasis is placed on diversity. The case of Oswald Mosley, the leader of the British Fascists in the interwar years, is particularly instructive. As this chapter shows, he was among the most ardent advocates of a united Europe, his arguments having profound implications for any progressive idea of Europe.
Much of the history of the idea of Europe has played out in Western Europe, with the important exception of Russia in the nineteenth century. However, in the twentieth century, there were a number of influential reflections on the idea of Europe in both Central and Eastern Europe, notably by writers and thinkers including Czesław Miłosz, Milan Kundera, and Julia Kristeva. Chapter 9 focuses on these reflections from Central and Eastern Europe, as well as the complex view of Europe from Turkey, particularly through the work of the pro-European Turkish writer Ahmet Hamdi Tanpınar and the Nobel Prize-winning novelist Orhan Pamuk, as well as those from former European colonies in North Africa and South America, with key figures in this regard including the violently anti-European Frantz Fanon as well as the philosopher Jacques Derrida and the writer Jorge Luis Borges. This chapter considers some of the ways in which the traditional center/periphery conception of Europe might be rethought, while also revealing the extent to which Eurocentric and Euro-supremacist assumptions are far from being limited to the Western European discourse on the idea of Europe. It also reflects on the abiding idea of Europe as essential a Christian culture.
Are humans superior to all other animals? People of religion – Christianity and Buddhism – say yes. People of science – those for and those against Darwinian evolutionary theory – say yes. People of philosophy – the existentialists in particular –say yes. Why? People of religion think it is God’s intention (Christians) or simply the way the world is (Buddhists). People of science, both those for and those against Darwin, think it is simply a fact of nature. People of philosophy, existentialists, argue that meaning must come from within. Are humans superior? That is for us to decide and demonstrate. Natural (science) and unnatural (religion) facts tell us nothing.
This chapter provides an introduction to the book, sketching the fundamental approach to sociological theory and narrative methodology that I deploy. I offer an intuitive summary for the Weberian theory of property that underlies my basic understanding about how intellectual property emerged and how it functions sociologically. I discuss the audience and disciplinary context for the book, and summarize five bodies of scholarly literature that are relevant to the arguments underlying the narrative offered in the book. The chapter concludes with a narrative summary and map, which is offered to help orient the reader.
This chapter traces the deveopment of Christianity within the late Roman empire, opening with an imperial decree that institutionalized Christianity as the official law of the empire. We examine the close counterparts to intellectual property that existed in the Roman law of late antiquity. With Christianization, however, we also see how semantic formalities and substantive rationalities in Roman law were culturally transformed. Empirical formalities from Roman law persisted, but these were sacramentalized in accordance with Christian understandings. The emphasis on God's creation within Christianity was combined with Hellenistic Roman traditions celebrating wondrous discoveries. Instruments of legal power from the Roman empire were carried forward, but the transformations that took place with Christianization would mean that these instruments of legal power could be deployed in newly intentional ways. In this chapter, we witness the rise of a distinctive order of obligation, one involving faith in legality. This is an order of obligation that combines a deep confidence in the ordering powers of law with tendencies toward acquisitiveness in matters of property and wealth.
The interplay between Christianity and international law … The terms “Christianity” and “international law,” as well as their relationship to each other, are not easy to understand – at least where there might be consensus. The aim here is to diagnose the elusiveness of these phenomena, to explain why this is important to understand, and to set the stage for further investigations.
So why is it that we cannot come to a consensus about this issue of “Christianity and international law”? If you are inclined, pause a moment with this text and build a list of possible reasons … Some contrarians might answer that we actually do have a relative consensus, that most reasonable people, at least with the opportunity to learn, find common agreement over most things and whatever differences simply reflect the diversity, the spice, the irreducible uniqueness of individual personalities and cultures.
This chapter traces the arc of Heaney’s progression from faithful and engaged Catholic in the 1940s, 191950s and even 60s to a more sceptical stance in the years following Vatican Council II. It sees Station Island (1984) as the axial moment where disbelief is fully acknowledged. Still, the 'Troubles' in Northern Ireland make a cultural departure from Roman Catholicism moot, while the poet’s respect for a believing Czesław Miłosz and others cautions against total rejection. Heaney’s tortured conflict with Philip Larkin’s 'Aubade' points to the attraction of the latter’s post-religious stance even as the narrowness of its focus is achingly condemned. A consciously unorthodox Heaney exits with most of the rites of a more liberal but declining Irish Catholic Church that celebrates his passing without rigorously scrutinizing his creedal beliefs.