EISSN : 20771444
Current Publisher: MDPI (10.3390)
Total articles ≅ 1,631
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Latest articles in this journal
Religions, Volume 10; doi:10.3390/rel10080462
Abstract:John Rawls’ well-known device of representation (his terminology) that he names the “original position” is put into play by the veil of ignorance. This imaginative device, found in both his early and late works, is often dismissed because it is misunderstood as an exercise in moral geometry. This essay discusses in more detail the subjective mechanics of the original position; while sympathetic of Rawls’ application of the veil of ignorance, I distinguish between a thick and thin veil, whereby I promote the latter. The final section makes a connection between the simulation of the original position and the religious practice of asceticism.
Religions, Volume 10; doi:10.3390/rel10080463
Abstract:Over the last decade, many scholars have explored the thesis of the mediatization of religion proposed by Hjarvard and how mediatization has impacted religious authority. While some scholars have underlined the increasing opportunities for marginalized religious actors to make their voices heard, others have explored how mediatization can also result in the enhancement of traditional religious authority or change the logic of religious authority. Against this background, in this paper, I focus on Christian LGBT+ digital voices in Italy to explore how they discursively engage with the official religious authority of the Catholic Church. The analysis adopts Campbell typology of religious authority. It highlights the complex balance between challenging and reaffirming traditional religious authority, and points out the role of the type of digital community in exploring the effects of the mediatization of religion.
Religions, Volume 10; doi:10.3390/rel10080459
Abstract:This essay explores the rise of Protestant Christianity at the contemporary stage of China’s globalization as a unique social and cultural phenomenon. Globalization can be seen as not only a homogenization process in political and economic terms, but also a process in which religious ideas and moral principles spread around the world. While in an earlier phase of globalization lack of Christianity was once constructed as a moral argument to ban Chinese migration to the Christian West, in the current context of China’s aggressive business outreach and mass emigration Christianity has become a vital social force and moral resource in binding Chinese merchants and traders in diaspora. By linking the rise of a sinicized version of Christianity in secular Europe with China’s present-day business globalization, I hope to suggest a new transnational framework for studying Chinese Christianity, which has often been examined in the nation-based political context of church-state relations, and for rethinking it beyond the static, decontextualized system of world religions.
Religions, Volume 10; doi:10.3390/rel10080460
Abstract:The main purpose of this paper is to explore and understand the relationships between secularism, pluralism, and the post-secular public sphere in the thought of Jürgen Habermas, Charles Taylor, and William Connolly. The three authors develop a thorough critique of secularism which implies a radical break with the dogmatic idea of removing religion from the public sphere. My main objective is to show that this critique is related to a normative understanding of our post-secular situation and requires a rethinking of the boundaries of the public sphere in relation to the predicament of pluralism. Arguing against the post-metaphysical conception of secularism, Taylor develops a critique of Habermas’s “institutional translation proviso”, and Connolly stresses the agonistic dimension of the post-secular public sphere. I take these criticisms into account, while arguing that Taylor and Connolly are unable to provide a sound basis for the legitimacy of our institutional settings. In contrast to Taylor and Connolly, I propose a reading of Habermas’s theory based on the internal relationship between universal justification and the everyday contexts of pre-political solidarity. I conclude with a focus on the need to take into account the agonistic dimension of the post-secular public sphere.
Religions, Volume 10; doi:10.3390/rel10080461
Abstract:This essay focuses on the Iranian woman’s veil from various perspectives including cultural, social, religious, aesthetic, as well as political to better understand this object of clothing with multiple interpretive meanings. The veil and veiling are uniquely imbued with layers of meanings serving multiple agendas. Sometimes the function of veiling is contradictory in that it can serve equally opposing political agendas.
Religions, Volume 10; doi:10.3390/rel10080457
Abstract:Affect theory has made important contributions recently to the study of religion, particularly drawing our attention away from ideas and practices to the emotional or affectual experience of religion. However, there is a danger that affect theory may become yet another “protective strategy” (to use a term from philosopher of religion Wayne Proudfoot) in academic wars about the nature of religion. As a consequence, there is a danger that affect theory will become too restrictive in its scope, limiting our ability to use it effectively in investigating “religious” or “spiritual” affects in otherwise secular practices and institutions (such as sport). If we can avoid turning affect theory into a protective strategy, it can become a useful tool to provide insights into the “spirituality” of sport.
Religions, Volume 10; doi:10.3390/rel10080458
Abstract:Charity turns out to be the virtue which is both the root and the fruit of salvation in Langland’s Piers Plowman, a late fourteenth-century poem, the greatest theological poem in English. It takes time, suffering and error upon error for Wille, the central protagonist in Piers Plowman, to grasp Charity. Wille is both a figure of the poet and a power of the soul, voluntas, the subject of charity. Langland’s poem offers a profound and beautiful exploration of Charity and the impediments to Charity, one in which individual and collective life is inextricably bound together. This exploration is characteristic of late medieval Christianity. As such it is also an illuminating work in helping one identify and understand what happened to this virtue in the Reformation. Only through diachronic studies which engage seriously with medieval writing and culture can we hope to develop an adequate grasp of the outcomes of the Reformation in theology, ethics and politics, and, I should add, the remakings of what we understand by “person” in these outcomes. Although this essay concentrates on one long and extremely complex medieval work, it actually belongs to a diachronic inquiry. This will only be explicit in some observations on Calvin when I consider Langland’s treatment of Christ’s crucifixion and in some concluding suggestions about the history of this virtue.
Religions, Volume 10; doi:10.3390/rel10080456
Abstract:The ending to Shakespeare’s Tragedy of King Lear has generated much debate. Performance history and critical interpretations of the conclusion of the Folio version of Lear have been pronouncedly divided into readings intimating the tragic hero’s redemption and readings averring his ultimately bleak condition, whether of delusion or despair. Recent attempts to describe Shakespeare’s use of scripture in this play have offered more nuance, acknowledging the play’s blending of pagan and Christian elements. While King Lear has extensively been compared to the book of Job and to apocalyptic passages in Revelation and Daniel, allusions to the gospel narratives and to Luke in particular raise the thorny question of Cordelia’s role as a Christ-figure. This essay argues that the ambiguous and suggestive nature of Lear’s final words (“Look there, look there!”) is both preserved and illuminated when read as an allusion to Jesus’ words in Luke 17:21. This previously unexplored allusion not only offers guidance for responding to Lear’s exhortation to “Look there” but also resonates within Shakespeare’s play through shared themes of apocalypse, kingdom, sight/insight, and the importance of the heart.
Religions, Volume 10; doi:10.3390/rel10080453
Abstract:This paper focuses on the contemporary controversy in the Orthodox Church regarding the non-existence of the monasteries, where monks and nuns cohabit (so-called “double-monasteries”), which were prohibited by the Byzantine legislation and the Seventh Ecumenical Council (Nicea 787). The article attempts to demonstrate that, in spite of the centuries-old prohibition, the Orthodox Monastery of St. John the Baptist is an exceptional contemporary case of such cohabitation: monks and nuns live under the roof of the same monastery, sharing common places and certain activities. Furthermore, the paper envisions a possible accommodation in the monastic vision and practice regarding gender cohabitation in Orthodox monasticism. The research employs the historical-critical method, which is based on literary, archeological, and documentary sources, as well as interviews.
Religions, Volume 10; doi:10.3390/rel10080454
Abstract:In South Asia, cobras are the animals most dangerous to humans—as humans are to cobras. Paradoxically, one threat to cobras is their worship by feeding them milk, which is harmful to them, but religiously prescribed as an act of love and tenderness towards a deity. Across cultural and religious contexts, the Nāgas, mostly cobra-shaped beings, are prominent among Hindu and Buddhist deities. Are they seen as animals? Doing ethnographic fieldwork on a Himalayan female Nāga Goddess, this question has long accompanied me during my participant observation and interviews, and I have found at least as many possible answers as I have had interview partners. In this article, I trace the ambiguous relationship between humans, serpents and serpent deities through the classical Sanskrit literature, Hindu and Buddhist iconographies and the retelling of myths in modern movies, short stories, and fantasy novels. In these narrations and portrayals, Nāgas are often “real” snakes, i.e., members of the animal kingdom—only bigger, shape-shifting or multi-headed and, curiously, thirsty for milk. The article focuses on those traits of Nāgas which set them apart from animals, and on those traits that characterize them as snakes.