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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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Nihilismo y verdad

Nietzsche en América Latina

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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Paweł Stachura, Piotr Śniedziewski and Krzysztof Trybuś

Walter Benjamin is one of the most important figures of modern culture. The authors focus within this book on Benjamin as a philosopher, or rather as a critic of modernism entangled in tradition (mainly Jewish), but also as a writer. Philosophical and philological readings are accompanied by essays presenting the complex biography of Benjamin and numerous, often unexpected, parallels which indicate traces of his reflections in works of other artists. In consequence, «The Arcades Project», which can be described as Benjamin’s opus vitae, is not only a picturesque history of Parisian arcades of the mid-19th century. It is also a polyphonic text, composed of quotations, commentaries and footnotes, a discussion of the sense of history and the literary work of art that surprises with its meandering quality.

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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.

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Muslimische Gemeinden

Geschichte, Gegenwart und Zukunft des Islam in Niedersachsen

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Rauf Ceylan

Die muslimischen Gemeinden in Niedersachsen blicken auf eine lange Geschichte zurück. Die ersten muslimischen Strukturen wurden bereits vor dem Zweiten Weltkrieg gelegt und sollten mit der Arbeitsmigration stetig ausgebaut werden. Im Laufe der Jahre entstanden zahlreiche ethnisch-konfessionell geprägte Gemeinden, von denen sich viele nach einer Phase der Konkurrenzkämpfe in den beiden großen Landesverbänden DİTİB und SCHURA zusammenschlossen. Vor diesem Hintergrund liefern die Erfahrungen der Entwicklung und Transformation der muslimischen Gemeinden in Niedersachsen wichtige Impulse für die anderen Bundesländer und die dortigen muslimischen Gemeinden, die vor ähnlichen Integrationsherausforderungen stehen. Der Band dokumentiert diese Erfahrungen und bietet Perspektiven für zukünftige Entwicklungen.

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How Is Jesus Christ Lord?

Reading Kwame Bediako from a Postcolonial and Intercontextual Perspective

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Bernhard Dinkelaker

The centre of gravity of World Christianity has moved to the South. The numerical growth of African Christians however does not manifest itself in academic theology. Kwame Bediako (1945–2008) is a voice from Ghana that claims a space for African contributions in theology. His quest for identity, his analysis of mission, culture and language, and his critique of a ‹Western value setting› raise issues that are relevant beyond his own context. His statement that Africa is a ‹laboratory› for World Christianity challenges theological debates. His Christological approach is the key to critical engagement with church and society. The book analyses Bediako’s work from a postcolonial and intercontextual perspective. His contribution marks an unfinished agenda in African-European encounters.

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The Visible Religion

The Russian Orthodox Church and her Relations with State and Society in Post-Soviet Canon Law (1992–2015)

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Alexander Ponomariov

«The Visible Religion» is an antithesis to Thomas Luckmann’s concept. The Russian Orthodox Church in post-Soviet canon law suggests a comprehensive cultural program of modernity. Researched through the paradigms of multiple modernities and post-secularity, the ROC appears to be quite modern: she reflects on herself and the secular environment, employs secular language, appeals to public reason, the human rights discourse, and achievements of modern science. The fact that the ROC rejects some liberal Western developments should not be understood in the way that the ROC rejects modernity in general. As a legitimate player in the public sphere, the ROC puts forward her own – Russian Orthodox – model of modernity, which combines transcendence and immanence, theological and social reasoning, an afterlife strategy and cooperation with secular actors, whereby eschatology and the human rights discourse become two sides of the same coin.