The leaders of the Oxford Movement were supported by a cast of friends and disciples who made important contributions to the ideas and initiatives associated with the Movement. Most of them, until recently, have been given little attention by historians. However, recent studies of these personalities and their active involvement in Tractarian ventures have offered a more complete and complex perspective of the range of the Movement’s programmes and activities. Among those activities, of particular relevance was the work of the London Tractarians in the field of education, where they played a vital role in the extraordinary development of the National Society for the Education of the Poor in the late 1830s and 1840s.
The modern concept of the Abrahamic religions has roots in Christian theology, the academic study of the Near East, and the study of Islam. In the nineteenth century, Protestant theologians built on the idea of the ‘Abrahamic covenant’ in developing the idea of a spiritual connection among Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. At the same time, students of the Near East understood the three religious traditions as sharing a common genealogical bond. Such recognition was enhanced by Islam’s own sense of the religion of Abraham, which was communicated to a broader public by western Islamicists. Although the concept of the Abrahamic religions does not preclude the privileging of one religion over the others, it has provided both scholars and laypeople with a useful way of exploring the common ground of the three faiths.
This chapter is a critical literature review of recent social science research describing and analyzing the participation of Christian churches in various phases of the human rights movement in Latin America. Spanning the period from 1964 to the present, such human rights activism took place in the contexts of authoritarian rule, civil war, democratic transitions, and the consolidation of democracy. The chapter focuses on the influence of Christian church leaders, laity, organizations, and resources on the origins, growth, and maturation of human rights-oriented social movement organizations (SMOs). Drawing on Douglas McAdam, Sidney Tarrow, and Charles Tilly’s work on political process theory, this literature emphasizes the invaluable role of religious organizations in providing space, resources, protection, and framing to nascent human rights movements in the region during the 1960s-70s. Even so, the literature also grapples with the diverse range of political stances taken by Christian church leaders and activists, both within and across national-level cases. With the maturation of the movement and the transition to democracy, political process theory remained relevant, but failed to capture some of the key challenges and opportunities experienced by Christian activists, as opposed to social activists in general. Thus, scholarship shifted focus to organized religion’s capacity to build social capital and sustain meaningful Christian social and human rights activism.
Rubén René Dupertuis
The Acts of the Apostles offers a kind of sequel to Gospel of Luke, telling the story of the spread of the Jesus movement through the activities of key leaders, beginning in Jerusalem, moving westward into the Aegean region, and finally to Rome, the imperial center. Narrative approaches have been instrumental in turning attention to how the author tells the story using the tools of narrative—plot, characterization, and so on—as well as to how the author’s use of linguistic and cultural codes would have been heard by ancient readers. This chapter explores the importance of this westward geographical movement in Acts and, through a reading of the story of Paul’s visit to Philippi (Acts 16:11–40), looks at the ways in which the author of Acts adapts narrative conventions to highlight particular moments in the progression.
Peter C. Bouteneff
Adam and Eve, who barely appear in the Bible after they are introduced in the book of Genesis, serve a short but important list of functions within early Christian writing. They represent Christ and Mary, respectively, among other typological readings of the Paradise narrative. They also stand for all of humanity, partly by virtue of their location at the top of the human genealogy, and partly because their acts in the garden are commonly universalized to represent the sins of each and all. The understanding of their sin as resulting in an original guilt passed on through the generations is by no means a common one in early Christian writing. The question of their historical existence is not foreign to some of the ancient authors—nor does it really preoccupy any of them—but it does not receive a straightforward or consistent answer.
The narrative(s) in Genesis 1–3 is a foundational text for Western discourse on gender and sexuality. To date, studies of biblical masculinities have virtually ignored the biblical first male subject; feminist scholarship has long focused on Eve; and queer readings that render Genesis 1–3 alien to modern discourses are promising but small in number. This chapter takes some tentative first steps toward a more focused reception history of Adam as a gendered subject. In light of the current (and still relatively new) state of scholarship on biblical masculinities, the chapter then proposes that reception history and cultural-historical approaches to biblical “afterlives” offer a promising path for future work. Particular attention is paid to Adam’s gender in Genesis 1–3 itself and in the writings of Paul, as well as in later theological, literary, and artistic texts.
Dirk J. Smit
Since the birth of the ecumenical movement in Edinburgh a century ago, much has changed ecumenically regarding the African continent. This chapter briefly tells the story of official ecumenism on African soil, including the history of the ecumenical movement and the presence of international confessional bodies and traditions. It then describes some of the complex stories of regional, national, and local ecumenism in Africa, including the history of the All Africa Conference of Churches and of the Circle of Concerned African Women Theologians. Drawing on these stories, the chapter then lists five of the most important ecumenical challenges facing the continent—cultural, political, economic, peacemaking, and survival—which often give rise to informal ecumenism. It concludes with an overview of several well-known ecumenical initiatives and documents in Africa.
African American liberation theology emerged in the 1960s as a genuinely Christian discourse. Black theology arose in response to divisive questions about the leadership of African American churches in issues such as state violence, civil disobedience and protest against formal apartheid, and extralegal terror. As a result, African American theology has been profoundly shaped by the Christian tradition. This article examines how the Christian tradition influenced the identity, form, and content of African American liberation theology. It first looks at civil rights and how African American liberation theology emerged quintessentially as a struggle over the public meaning of Christianity. It then considers the emergence of the black church and how African American Christians embraced Black Power. It also analyzes the impact of the Christian tradition on the experience of African Americans before concluding with a discussion of womanist theology and the link between black women’s experience and liberation theology.
Stan Chu Ilo
This chapter examines the key issues in scholarship on the identity and mission of the Christian church in Africa, while also exploring in depth the identity of the Roman Catholic Church in Africa. First, the chapter discusses the methodological questions in scholarship in this area, while highlighting the types and models of African ecclesiology in general. Second, it historicizes the narrative of the church in Africa, showing the theological trajectories of scholarship on ecclesia in Africa in the Roman Catholic tradition. Finally, it briefly surveys the key themes being developed in African Catholic ecclesiology from the Second Vatican Council (1962–5) to the Second African Synod (2009). It concludes with a thematic account of how the priorities and practices of the church of Christ are being enacted in the mission of the church in Africa with regard to the challenges facing the Christian faith there.
Marthinus L. Daneel
In the post-chimurenga years of independent Zimbabwe, the African Initiated Churches (AICs) heeded the prophetic call to earth-keeping. They joined forces with practitioners of traditional religion—the chiefs, headmen, spirit mediums, and ex-combatants of the country's liberation struggle—and formed their own wing of the green army. Thus, under the auspices of the Zimbabwean Institute of Religious Research and Ecological Conservation, two religiously distinct movements—the Association of Zimbabwean Traditionalist Ecologists and the Association of African Earthkeeping Churches—joined forces to wage a new chimurenga, a struggle for the liberation of creation, particularly the rehabilitation of the degraded environment of Zimbabwe's overcrowded communal lands, under the banner “war of the trees.” In Zimbabwe and much of southern Africa today, the AICs total between 50 percent and 60 percent of African Christianity. This article focuses on Africa's green movement and ecotheology as well as earth-keeping initiatives such as tree planting.
William B. Gravely
The eighteenth-century evangelical revival in the American colonies gave Africans settings to claim some free space in their lives. Evangelists were delighted that their converts responded so powerfully to the Christian gospel. Such a reaction confirmed their capacity for spiritual experience and contradicted the racist cynics who denied that Africans had souls. Africans in North America became active participants in the Methodist system as members and leaders of classes. They earned tickets to love feasts, welcomed the itinerants on their rounds, and contributed to support the preachers. When quarterly conferences came around they attended in large numbers, despite the practice of racial separation during services. This article discusses the following: African Methodism in Methodist studies and Black Church research, the African Methodist counterculture (1786–1881), host environments and counter-racism on a world Methodist stage (1881–1931); and African-American Methodists, civil rights, and South African apartheid.
The primary legacy of the Oxford Movement was the Catholic Movement within the Church of England. Between 1900 and 1960 that Movement grew and diversified, but remained undivided. However, the upheavals of the 1960s proved destabilizing, and from the 1970s debates over the ordination of women caused division. Some heirs of the Oxford Movement rejected the ecclesiological principles that had brought the Movement into being, but continued to identify with Anglo-Catholicism’s liturgical, spiritual, and theological traditions. Others became Roman Catholic or Orthodox or joined Continuing Anglican churches. However, within the Church of England (and to an extent in the Church in Wales), a strong and well-organized Catholic Movement continues.
Although the Society of Jesus was no stranger to local suppressions and banishments that had studded its history from the beginning, the Jesuit crises that broke out between the 1750s and 1768—the expulsion from Portugal and the Bourbon States (France, Spain, King of Naples, and Duchy of Parma)—culminated in a dramatic event of far more enduring global impact: the suppression of the order by Pope Clement XIV with a specific brief (Dominus ac Redemptor, 1773). During the age of suppression (1773–1814), many Jesuits managed to maintain a memory of their former identity while carving out successful new careers or continued, relatively untroubled, with their existing intellectual and religious endeavors. Some of these gave a crucial contribution to Europe’s intellectual and cultural life between the 1770s and 1820s. The worldwide restoration of the Society took place on August 7, 1814, when Pius VII signed the bull Sollicitudo omnium ecclesiarum.
Ronald Lawson, Kenneth Xydias, and Ryan T. Cragun
This chapter provides a clear but concise history of three of the more prominent proselytizing religious groups in Latin America: Mormons, Seventh-day Adventists, and Jehovah’s Witnesses. All three were founded in the United States in the nineteenth century, but for varying reasons began a global expansion that included efforts in Latin America. The different motivations behind their global expansion are detailed in the chapter. The groups have different dates of origin, and different dates at which their international expansion into Latin America began. The chapter discusses these dates and the reasons why the groups entered Latin America when and where they did. Once full-fledged proselytizing efforts began, the three groups adjusted their messages and approaches in different ways, reflecting the broader approaches employed by them as well as their different theologies. As a result, rates of growth for these groups have differed, as have retention rates. The chapter provides current membership data for each country in Latin America, illustrating differences in retention rates and proselytizing practices. The chapter explains why Mormon membership numbers are particularly overstated, why Seventh-day Adventist numbers are relatively accurate, but also slightly overstated, and why Jehovah’s Witnesses numbers are understated. Finally, it examines growth rates over time to better understand the likely future of these groups in Latin America.
The Catholic Church in Latin America has played far-reaching and diverse roles in the political sphere. In the 1970s and 1980s, Catholic leaders used the Church’s prestige and its considerable resources to defend human rights and promote democratic transitions in several countries; in the modern democratic context the Church has facilitated action on social justice issues such as land reform, inequality, and the rights of the indigenous. Yet it has also defended authoritarian regimes and thwarted laws lessening restrictions on abortion and gay rights. This chapter surveys divergent Catholic responses to the challenges of authoritarianism and modernization and synthesizes the explanations for these distinctive political paths into three categories of causal variables: ideology, organizational interests, and institutional arrangements. Interests and ideology strongly influence political agendas, but their content and meaning depend on the specific institutional relations among the Church, state, and society.
This chapter offers an overview of the history and historiography of some of the nonverbal aspects of American Bibles, focusing on format, bindings, and paper. These features of Bibles have evolved both materially and symbolically, owing to changing technologies, economic considerations, aesthetic preferences, and, crucially, a tension between two opposed ideals regarding the Bible’s physical presence. Americans with various stakes in Bible production have shared a sense that Bibles should be both materially impressive and widely accessible. The changing forms of Bibles make particularly legible the push and pull between transcendence and immanence, a contest ongoing in the digital age.
Russell W. Dalton
Children’s Bibles have been among the most popular and influential types of religious publications in the United States, providing many Americans with their first formative experiences of the Bible and its stories. This chapter explores the variety of ways in which children’s Bibles have adapted, illustrated, and retold Bible stories for children throughout US history. Children’s Bibles served a variety of ends, such as teaching biblical literacy, instilling a fear and respect for God’s power and judgment, calling children to salvation in Jesus Christ, modeling moral virtues, and reframing Bible stories as fun and engaging stories that portray a friendly God who cares for children.
This chapter explores a plurivocity in the meaning(s) of reason and analogy, and suggests a vocation for analogy if it is to redeem its plurivocal promise. Reason is understood differently depending on which sense of being is in the ascendant. If univocity is in the ascendant, as in modern rationalism, a philosophical and theological feel for what analogy means tends to be weakened. If equivocity comes back, reason goes to school with finesse and is more attentive to figurations of being that elude precise determinations and is more hospitable to the analogical way. Analogy is explored in modern rationalism and empiricism, in Kant’s critical reason, in Hegel’s speculative reason, and in a number of post-dialectical forms. Finally, the chapter suggests there is something metaxological about analogy in trying to be true to the between-space of communication between the finite and the divine.
James D. Tabor
This article focuses on ancient Jewish and early Christian millennialism, which are found to be intrinsically inconsistent—there are no specific pointers towards marking the end of time; messianic figures appear in some texts and not in others; and God is humanized in some while others are exclusively emphatic on the transcendental paradigm. It makes the whole millennialist gamut essentially subjective. The groundwork was laid by the pre-Hellenic invasions of Israel and the context for the emergence of Jewish millennialism was provided by the widespread suppression under Greek emperor Antiochus. This article demonstrates that from the second and third centuries onwards, the trend increasingly tended from literal expressions towards symbolic subjective millennialism, to the extent that the former was considered inferior.
This chapter is concerned with ancient sanctuaries and their spaces as places where rituals were performed. It discusses various aspects of sanctuaries and their materiality, and the ways in which reconstructing ritual practice and performance may be approached through archaeological and written sources, which give an insight into sanctuaries and their use. Different types of sanctuaries, primarily from the Roman imperial period (the late first century bce to the fourth century ce) from a variety of locations across the Roman Empire are considered. Furthermore, a number of cults that had specific types of sanctuaries connected to them are presented, such as those of the so-called Mystery cults of, for example, Mithras and Isis. Architectural layouts as well as embellishments, such as decorations and ritual objects, are discussed in brief also, in order to explain ancient sanctuaries as places where ritual experiences occurred. Furthermore, theoretical approaches, among those, the ‘lived ancient religion’ approach, are addressed in order to situate the ways in which such approaches may further our understanding of ancient ritual spaces.