J. Rebecca Lyman
Although the teachings of Arius of Alexandria sparked a series of theological debates and church councils in the fourth century concerning the nature and redemptive activity of God, scholars share a slim consensus as to the origins and content of his teaching. In 325, for the first time, the adjudication of Christian controversy took the form of a council including the Roman emperor Constantine at the lake-side town of Nicaea. Arius, the theologian condemned at Nicaea, became the archetypal heretic; ‘Arianism’ thus became the archetypal heresy, which denied the saving divinity of Christ, and therefore essential Christian identity. The broadening of the study of ‘Arianism’ to examine questions of asceticism, spirituality, and liturgy reflects different historiographical concerns. This article reviews recent studies of Arius and non-Nicenes from the outbreak of the controversy to the conversions of the tribal peoples in the western empire.
This article explores an abstract concept, ‘asceticism’. Two obstacles immediately present themselves to an overview of the role of asceticism in shaping early Christian studies: the lack of a clear definition of asceticism and the ubiquity of the topic in both ancient sources and modern scholarship, especially in the past 35 years. Letters, hagiographies, homilies, even acts of councils all participate in the construction of an asceticism that was a central concern of Christians in late antiquity. To chart the shifts in the study of asceticism is to follow as well the major changes in the field from ‘patristics’ to ‘early Christian studies’. Asceticism is the means by which historians of early Christianity confront central methodological issues in investigating discourses, power, social relations, the body, and all the attendant current concerns of the construction of the self and society.
Globalization has brought with it many benefits “from above” with respect to opening up employment and trade opportunities on a massive scale, and has facilitated, in some cases, a generation of wealth that has trickled down to ordinary citizens, thereby enabling greater freedom of choice with respect to raising the standard of living. However, by and large, such small gains have come at a tremendous cost to those who do not constitute the elite, especially in developing countries (often termed countries at the periphery). At the same time, globalization has facilitated, “from below,” nativist resistance movements, often couched and presented in religious terms, which turn to identity politics and greater control over women's morality, comportment, and role in society, ostensibly to address broader social inequities, but which concomitantly exercise a restrictive effect on the attainment of gender justice. This chapter presents a brief discussion of Muslim hermeneutics on gender in order to understand how nativist resistance movements have been able to draw upon women's comportment and dress as symbols for the authenticity and integrity of the Islamic tradition in an attempt to withstand what they perceive as Western hegemonic practices. It then discusses Muslim feminist hermeneutics, economic privation and gender violence, and capitalist practices and women's bodies.
Lorne L. Dawson
This article deals with aspects of charismatic leadership, one of the core elements of any mass-based movement. A Weberian concept of charisma informs the deliberations of this study. Various objective measures help construct and maintain charismatic leadership. A possible crisis preceding the rise of the leader compiles the initial groundwork. The constitution of the movement allots a central role to the leader while routing the consciousness of the members towards the group, making it an endogamous affair. Internal fabrications of the system constantly lend acceptance to this milieu. The members' initiation into a new identity at the hands of the leader further boosts cult worship. Acknowledgement from established quarters of other relevant fields is constantly sought for greater validation. A stark awareness of the constant need to validate constantly informs the deliberations of a charismatic leader. Voluntary isolation further boosts the intrigue factor of the leader.
Erin M. Cline
This article discusses Confucian views on childhood moral development, focusing especially on accounts of moral cultivation in the classical and Han periods. Beginning very early, Confucians exhibited an understanding of the unique influence that parent–child relationships have on children’s moral development during the earliest stages of development, which led them to argue for the importance of moral cultivation and moral education not only during infancy and childhood, but even during the prenatal period. Through an examination of texts, including the Analects, Mengzi, Discourse on the States, Record of Ritual, Collected Biographies of Women and Protecting and Tutoring, as well as secondary literature on this topic, this article focuses on how we should understand Confucian accounts of the roles of parents, the family, ritual, and filial piety in the moral development of children.
Patrick S. Cheng
This chapter provides an overview of what Christian theologians need to know about queer theory, which is a critical approach to sexuality and gender that challenges the ‘naturalness’ of identities. Based upon developments in queer theory since the early 1990s, the chapter proposes the following four marks of queer theory: (1) identity without essence; (2) transgression; (3) resisting binaries; and (4) social construction. The chapter then discusses four strands of queer theology that correspond with each of the four marks of queer theory. The chapter concludes by suggesting six issues for future queer theological reflection: (1) queer of colour critique; (2) queer post-colonial theory; (3) queer psychoanalytical discourse; (4) queer temporality; (5) queer disability studies; and (6) queer interfaith dialogue.
Creeds, councils, and canons are interrelated topics. Disputes over beliefs and practices prompted the meeting of church councils, which defined acceptable statements of belief (creeds) and drew up rules (canons) governing conduct, discipline, organization, and worship. The two most widely used and ecumenically acceptable creeds are also historically the most problematic: the Apostles' Creed in the western churches and the Nicene Creed, originating in the East and accepted in the West. The classic work of J. N. D. Kelly was the nodal point in twentieth-century study of the creeds. The second section of this article discusses the work of H. J. Sieben, local and regional councils, and ecumenical councils. The third section considers the contributions of Jean Gaudemet, other sources in the East, and the disciplinary work of the ecumenical councils.
Eugene F. Rogers Jr.
This essay will show how Christian doctrine can reinvigorate the theology of sexuality, now dominated by distinctively modern categories (e.g., the appeal to experience). Here traditional doctrines such as those of Scripture, God, Christ, Trinity, liturgy, analogy, and asceticism recover neglected resources for making arguments on topics of sexuality and marriage.
If there is one image that presents itself as unique and fundamental in contemporary religious experience, it is that of the earth as sacrament. This is a central feature of the sacramental ethos of the Orthodox church. This article explores the understanding of sacrament as including and embracing creation. It describes a theology of creation in light of our dilemma before and response to the current environmental crisis. It also discusses history and heaven, wholeness and holiness, sacraments and symbols, the transcendence and immanence of God, the mystery of incarnation, logos and logoi, the mystery of the cross and the resurrection, and asceticism in Orthodox Christianity.
Christians living in modern industrial or post-industrial societies live differently from almost all Christians over the previous millennia. Most Christians participate in the capitalistic, or market, economies in which they live. Churches often borrow business models in administering and marketing the church. Christian publishing houses, radio stations, and products are significant entities in the economy. Some Christians wonder whether the material success of modern Christians who live in the wealthy nations is something about which to be concerned. The concern over the condition of affluence that exists today also includes concern over the economic system that exists today—capitalism or market systems. This article examines the differences between the economic systems that prevailed in ancient Israel, including Palestine at the time of Christ, with modern market systems. It also discusses some of the traditional Christian views of wealth and poverty in light of the economic conditions that prevailed then as compared to today. It then looks at the problem of poverty, both global and within the wealthy nations. Finally, it considers ethics as well as greed and materialism.
Robin Globus and Bron Taylor
This article offers a description of the phenomenon of environmental millennialism. Environmentalism synthesises hard science and religion to formulate millennial themes. Although relevant ecological awareness dawned only in the middle of the twentieth century, man's mastery and manipulation over and of nature, have been inspiring Romantics with apocalyptic millennial visions ever since the nineteenth century. George Perkins Marsh's Man and Nature traces the decline of the Roman Empire to indiscreet use of natural resources and predicted a similar fate at the hands of the Americans. The Romantics asserted hubris and arrogance as the roots of environmental degradation. In a postmodern era, new age environmentalism reflects both pessimism and hope in the environmental degradation induced by imminent catastrophe, and a makes a call to reverse the process. Its ultimate conclusions are indeterminate yet versatile. Environmentalism is activist in nature and secular in approach and critique.
Stephen H. Webb
No theologian has done more to show the political significance of eschatology than Jürgen Moltmann. For Moltmann, the subject matter of all theology should be focused on hope, and eschatology is the doctrine where Christian hope is most explicitly formulated. Moreover, Moltmann thinks that hope, more than love, is the Christian virtue most relevant for politics. If God intervenes at the end of history in order to silence all of our struggles and passions, then history is rendered meaningless. Moltmann identifies this catastrophic version of eschatology with apocalypticism. Moltmann did not repudiate liberation theology's advocacy of socialism as the primary means for advancing the kingdom agenda. In The Coming of God, Moltmann clarified his distinction between eschatology and apocalypticism by addressing the issue of millennialism. This article examines eschatology and politics, focusing on the views of Moltmann and the alternative views of George Weigel, Wolfhart Pannenberg, and Oliver O'Donovan. It also discusses providence versus eschatology and Whittaker Chambers's views on the eschatological challenge of Communism, as well as the politics of progressive premillennialism.
Robert Jewett and John Shelton Lawrence
Popular culture embraces diverse arenas of expression, such as mythic narratives, news story archetypes, advertising, songs, games, political campaigns, public rituals, toys, comic books, films, television series, sports, celebrities, sermons, web sites, music, and biblical commentaries for lay readers. The label “popular” carries no pejorative flavor—as it did in mid-twentieth-century discussions of “mass culture”—nor does it imply consensus about popular culture's valuation by those who experience it. Compared to more mature fields, the scholarly study of religion and popular culture lacks a single disciplinary home. Inspiration for academic study with interdisciplinary texts and courses came from the Popular Culture Association, which originated at Bowling Green State University in Ohio. This article deals with eschatology in popular culture, focusing on early forms of popular eschatology, Bible-influenced popular culture in the United States, postmillennialism in civil religion, millennialism in superheroic fictions, the millennial vision and the video game, and premillennial fictions at the turn of the century.
This chapter offers a comparative analysis of the application of justice in Near Eastern Jewish, Christian, and Muslim communities in the first few centuries after the Islamic conquest. The analysis is offered from the perspective of social history with particular emphasis on the interplay between law and society. It unfolds some of the social aspects of judicial authority and institutions by reviewing their diverse forms and modes of practice within the lives of communities that belonged to the three monotheistic traditions under discussion. An underlying premise is that the application of justice was perceived as a form of mediation between God and believers, carried out through the central role of the judge. It is argued that claims for judicial authority and attempts to achieve central and exclusive judicial power mirror not only the common agendas of different communal elites, but also a social diversity that overrode formal institutional arrangements.
Bruce H. Kirmmse
Robert Pearson Flaherty
This article examines some of the main contributors to millennialism in a Korean context. The Korean millennial legacy is a synthesis of diverse influences such as Buddhism, Christianity, and various new-age religions based on pre-Christian Korean myths. These, coupled with various movements of discontent emerging from confusion in the society, have found expression in millennialist movements. This article states that Korean Buddhism believes the Maitreya to have been born to a Brahmin in Varanasi and a disciple of the first Buddha, Shakyamuni. The Donghak revolution (1894) was based on certain millennial assumptions. This article discusses the words of its founder Choe Je-u about the arrival of the “SangJe”, the Jade ruler of the universe to salvage the world. The religion finally revolted against Japanese imperialists and the Korean royalty. Korean Christianity drew heavily from the concept of the pre-tribulation rapture of the chosen ones.
Luther’s continuity with his past appears in an unbroken line in von Staupitz’s pastoral counsel, his use of exegetical resources, his use of church history for support of his arguments; parallels with medieval thought and practice occurred in his concept of the two realms and justification; his view of the universal priesthood represents a transformation of elements in mystical steams of thought and Ockham; his distinction of law and gospel parallels certain mystical expressions. Luther’s concept of grace arose in a complex recombination of elements in these same sources. Luther creatively adopted, adapted, and transformed components of various medieval ways of thought.
Initiated by the Roman church, the ‘rupture of the system’ that separated Luther and that church flowed from his rejection of scholastic theology and his modification and transformation of popular piety and ecclesiastical practice, especially in pastoral care. The system ruptured as church officials rejected Luther’s appeals. In treatises composed in 1520 he criticized papal power and called for reform of cloisters, the priesthood, and countless pious usages. He rejected specific provisions of medieval conciliar decisions. Luther’s congruity with and separation from the medieval church requires more study.