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Revelation, History, and Truth

A Hermeneutics of Dogma

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Eduardo J. Echeverria

The general topic of this book concerns the ontology, epistemology, and teleology of the hermeneutics of dogma. In particular, the author addresses contemporary challenges faced by the necessity of maintaining the integrity of dogmatic truth of the Christian faith, of divine revelation and its transmission through tradition, particularly with respect to the relationship between history and doctrinal truth. The author integrates a theological hermeneutics, namely, the Lérinian hermeneutics of Vatican II, with a historically conscious hermeneutics. His aim is to show how we can consider the historical and contextual nature of dogmas, creeds and confessions while at the same time honoring their assertions of dogmatic truth that are permanent, valid and binding for all times.

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Old Paths and New Ways

Negotiating Tradition and Relevance in Liturgy

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Robert Lilleaasen

The relationship between tradition and relevance is a core feature in religious practice in general and public worship in particular. On the one hand, worship is a bearer of religious traditions, i.e. traditions are maintained in the practice of public worship, and the worship enables individuals to connect with these traditions. On the other hand, it is a quest for relevance in public worship. In order to maintain existing worshippers and attract new participants, congregations have to consider their ability to connect their core values to the needs and expectations of existing and potential participants. This dual purpose of the worship causes a need for negotiation, and it is this negotiation between tradition and relevance that this book investigates. Old Paths and New Ways is a case study of the negotiation between tradition and the quest for relevance in liturgy.

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Myth, Mind and Religion

The Apocalyptic Narrative

Abraham Rotstein

The French anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss scoured the Amazon forest for the myths of its primitive peoples. He found that a certain logic governed the construction of these myths—his mythologique; he regarded this logic as innate in the human mind and thus universal. Despite this claim of universality, Lévi-Strauss deliberately sidestepped the myths of the biblical religions as well as the myths of modern societies. This proved to be a missed opportunity since these myths lend themselves very well to his mode of analysis.

The apocalyptic narrative is the ongoing myth of Western society. It makes its first appearance in the Bible in the story of the Exodus and in the Passion of Christ. Its characteristic feature is its opening scenario of one or another form of unendurable oppression— whether the Pharaoh in Egypt for the Jews or the bondage of the body for Christians. “Lord and servant” is the binary pair that prevails and through a process of inversion leads to the Kingdom of Heaven (celestial or terrestrial). The work of Augustine and Luther follow suit as surprisingly enough, do the Lutheran Hegel and the Hegelian Marx. In every case, the initial oppression is inverted and a sublime destination ensues.

A demonic version of the same apocalyptic narrative appears in the 1930s. The Nazis point to their own tale of “oppression” of the German people and in the same fashion proclaim the Dritte Tausendjährige Reich. It is a terrible irony but perhaps Lévi-Strauss’s mythologique may help us to see through the “glass” a little less darkly.

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Paniel Reyes Cárdenas

The aim of this work is to respond to the following question: how did Charles S. Peirce find unity for his pragmatist philosophy through the formulation of Scholastic Realism? The author proposes the said doctrine to be a reading guide, leading us through the different stages of Peirce’s work as a philosopher. By understanding his realist doctrine, we can see why he believed it was a viable theory for understanding the problem of Universals. This book demonstrates why, in Peirce’s mind, such a problem has pervaded the history of philosophy. The author’s line of argument reveals that Scholastic Realism is crucial to the understanding of his philosophy, which is a new approach in Peirce scholarship. It provides a useful framework for asking questions about reality in the same way that Peirce himself did. As a result, the author shows that Peirce’s realism addresses different yet related philosophical problems, leading Peirce to brand the final version of his philosophy as «Scientific Metaphysics». The conclusion offers an interpretation of the Scholastic Realism principle as a solution to Peirce’s concerns – a useful idea to achieve a better theory of reality in his struggle to realize metaphysics a posteriori. Peirce’s doctrine is presented alongside some of its uses, especially in the fields of abstraction theory, and also in the fundamental principles of mathematics. This work should advance our comprehension of the problems related to Peirce’s philosophy as well as shedding light on pragmatism and its origins as well as the battle between realism and nominalism.

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On Mysticism, Ontology, and Modernity

A Theological Engagement with Secularity

Christopher Shaw

This new study offers a serious and long-overdue examination of the unstable bifurcation between theology and secularity. Rather than understanding these two formative elements of culture to be in a constant state of opposition, the author chooses an alternative path toward their reconciliation. In this way, a constructive relationship is developed between secular and theological ideas wherein they symbiotically challenge one another in such a way as to create new and/or re-examined opportunities for thinking about God, the world, and, indeed, the self.

The book first of all embarks upon a hermeneutical reading of Meister Eckhart’s defining statement that «Being is God» and ultimately arrives (via Kant, Hegel, Gadamer, Henry, and others) at a mystically informed understanding of God’s presence both in the world and in the «heart and mind» of the human experience – an understanding that defies conventional categories and static cultural identities. It is an important study of the history, the present, and the future of religious thought, presenting a hopeful image of unity and love in a world that has been for too long divided by difference.

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The Pilgrimage and Conversion of Thomas Chalmers

Following His Journey from Anstruther to Glasgow

David C Jackson

This book follows the life and work of Thomas Chalmers (1780–1847) from his childhood in Anstruther to the end of his ministerial career in Glasgow in 1823. He became a theologian, minister and Scottish reformer and is best remembered for his involvement in the Disruption of 1843. Following Chalmers’ career up to the end of his Glasgow period offers a range of valuable insights into the human, spiritual and theological dimensions of a man who was once described by Thomas Carlyle as «the chief Scotsman of his age». It has been decades since Chalmers and his work have received any notable scholarly attention and this book attempts to unravel his complicated nature by pursuing a forensic investigation into his communitarian ideology and attitude towards social reform. New facts have come to light, not least the apparent reversion of Chalmers’ conversion, recognised and discussed here for the first time, allowing the reader to form a more accurate picture of his legacy within Scottish religious history. As the author meticulously unravels his subject’s disturbing psychological mindset, he provides a compelling critique of the Church of Scotland and examines the role of John Bunyan’s Mr Christian as Chalmers’ model and mentor.

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Formung und Umwendung der Seele

Eine Rechtfertigung ambivalenter Darstellungen in der Literatur im Rahmen von Platons «Politeia»

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Jana Schultz

Die Autorin eröffnet mit ihrer Untersuchung zu Platons «Politeia» einen Weg, ambivalente Darstellungen in die Literatur des idealen Staates zu integrieren. Sie bezieht hierbei auch den Rahmen von Platons Psychologie, Epistemologie und Kunstkritik mit ein. Platon bewertet Literatur im Hinblick auf ihren erzieherischen Nutzen. Die Charakterformung verlangt eine Lenkung durch eindeutige Beispiele. Ambivalenzen sind ein Risiko, da sie die nicht-rationalen Seelenteile zu falschem Streben anleiten. Eine paradoxe Verknüpfung von Gegensätzen zeigt der Vernunft, dass sie Eigenschaften nur in den Ideen adäquat erfassen kann. Der Band hält fest, dass die Integration von Ambivalenzen sinnvoll sein kann, sofern Stilmittel eine negative Beeinflussung verhindern.

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Nihilismo y verdad

Nietzsche en América Latina

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Alejandro Sánchez Lopera

Las relaciones entre Nietzsche y América Latina están marcadas por el desencuentro. Lo cual no implica que Nietzsche no haya sido leído en Latinoamérica; pero es diferente aludir a Nietzsche, a asumir una perspectiva nietzscheana. Por eso, en vez de usar a Nietzsche para analizar su moral, para desplazar el punto de vista, en América Latina se moraliza a Nietzsche al ponerlo al servicio de esa moral, dejándola indemne. El caso de la filosofía latinoamericana es síntoma de ese desencuentro: en tanto pensamiento de lo uno, no puede servirse del pensamiento nietzscheano, ya que es imposible construir un pensamiento del origen y la unidad desde un pensamiento de lo múltiple, como el de Nietzsche. Explorar y explotar al máximo ese desencuentro, sin intentar subsanarlo, permite construir la relación entre Nietzsche y América Latina en términos nietzscheanos, lo que implicaría deshacerse de la idea misma de América Latina en tanto sujeto, para concentrarse en la disección de sus fuerzas y en la potencia y miseria de sus pasiones.

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Sacred Science

Ritual and Miracle in Modern Medicine

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Gregory Loewen

Sacred Science is an analysis of post-war discourses concerning health and illness. These discourses are an attempt to grasp the meaning of health in our modern human condition, and as such they provide both new insights into the genealogy of conceptualizations of both health and illness, but also serve as a viable hermeneutic summary of many important textual moments in the recent history of health studies, including Foucault, Gadamer, Illich, Sontag, and others. This book is the result of a phenomenological disquisition of the ideas employed by health scholars and philosophers, and its import rests both on its uniqueness in the relevant fields and its new ideas, including ‘indefinitude’, ‘deontic facticity’, and illness as the experience of the simultaneous ‘inexistence’ of both life and death.

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Pentecostal-Charismatic Prophecy

Empirical-Theological Analysis

Samuel W. Muindi

Prophecy is a major theme both in Scripture and in Church doctrine. However, prophecy is seen by many as an ancient biblical phenomenon which is now redundant. There is, conversely, a form of prophecy that is very much alive in the Pentecostal-Charismatic wing of the Church. Although the Pentecostal-Charismatic tradition is billed as the fastest growing movement in Church history, it has received scant attention in Pentecostal Studies in terms of its focus on Charismatic Prophecy. This book is an attempt to explore the notion of charisms of the Holy Spirit. It examines, from an empirical-theological perspective, the nature and significance of the phenomenon of Charismatic Prophecy as reportedly manifested in Pentecostal Charismatic liturgical settings in an African context.