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2 Continuity from Local Cult to ‘Accepted’ Ritual

Giacalone, F.; Griffin, K. CABI PDF


Continuity from Local Cult to ‘Accepted’ Ritual

Gianfranco Spitilli*

La Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy


This chapter explores a rural cult in central Italy through an interpretation inspired by European religious ethnology and the anthropology of Christianity. The field research, carried out in the twoyear period of 2014–15 and still in progress, is sustained by the meticulous exploration of historic civil, religious and family archives – as if carrying out consultation with ethnographic interlocutors.

The close historical examination opens the spectrum of the ethnological investigation to an interpretation stratified by the present-­day context of the research topic revealing otherwise invisible aspects of current behaviour and practice.

According to the legend on the founding of the church of the Madonna of Alno in Canzano, a rural village in the province of Teramo in Abruzzo, the Madonna appeared upon a white poplar tree to a farmer named Floro on

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Medium 9781442229136


Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

Jared Wicks, S.J.

Alyssa Lyra Pitstick’s large-scale dogmatic account of Christ’s descent to the dead, which she articulated as a critique of a central conception of Hans Urs von Balthasar, led to a lively debate in the pages of First Things.1 In the discussion, however, the “voice of the Fathers” was not heard.2 To broaden the historical and doctrinal basis of a contemporary revisiting of Christ’s descent, the following pages present the surprisingly numerous early Christian accounts of Christ in this moment of his saving work.

This presentation offers, first, a dossier of twelve second-century texts on the descent that were composed before Irenaeus (active ca. A.D. 180–200). Second, it will take up statements on the descent by five theologians of the period 180–300, such as Irenaeus and Origen. In future work, I will survey a dozen fourth-century accounts of the descent, including its first appearance as an article in creeds, such as that of the Fourth Synod of Sirmium (A.D. 359) and that of Aquileia (known from the Commentary of Rufinus of ca. A.D. 400). An additional section will review Augustine’s statements on Christ’s descent into hell, before I will conclude by proposing the lasting theological content of this moment in Christ’s saving work.

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Medium 9781442229112


Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

Gerald R. McDermott

Evangelicals often consider Jonathan Edwards (1703–1758) to be “their” theologian, the one thinker in the history of Christian thought who probably “got it right.”1 Or, if he didn’t properly interpret every last jot and tittle, at least he would support their most important theological positions; most certainly their take on justification, which has been said since Luther to be articulus stantis et cadentis ecclesiae. As one friend recently wrote me, Edwards must never have accepted the concept of “infused” righteousness because that would have identified Edwards with Thomistic/Catholic/ Arminian synergism, which teaches justification partly by grace and partly by works of the human will. For similar reasons, Tryon Edwards, a descendant and nineteenth-century editor, deleted the word “infusion” fourteen times from his edition of Charity and Its Fruits. For Tryon Edwards and my friend, Edwards could not have supported infusion because Edwards was an astute theologian in the Reformation tradition, which has tended to regard justification and infusion as mutually exclusive.2 Hence, Edwards must also have regarded them as mutually exclusive.

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Medium 9780253357144

1. The Case for a Creator

Hugh J. McCann Indiana University Press ePub


This book is about the concept of a creator as it has been usually construed in the Western theological tradition, broadly speaking. I wish to explore the idea that the world and all that pertains to it—indeed, anything that exists in any way—owes its being and sustenance to the act of an all-powerful being whose own existence requires no explanation, and whose nature is as perfect as we can conceive it to be. I shall argue that the existence and act of such a creator dovetails perfectly with a properly scientific conception of the world, that it supports a robust conception of human free agency, that it permits a satisfying theodicy, and that it ultimately leads to the classical conception of God as a perfectly simple yet personal being. This project is best begun by arguing that the world is indeed a product of creation. Efforts to demonstrate that this is so tend to fall under two major headings. Cosmological arguments cite as evidence the sheer existence of things, and contend that it may be accounted for by the activity of an all-powerful creator. Teleological arguments dwell on the structure or design of the world, holding that this is to be accounted for by postulating an intelligent designer. I will have an occasional remark on teleology in this chapter, but my main purpose here is to develop an argument of the first kind: I maintain that the best—indeed, to our knowledge, the only—adequate explanation for the existence of the world is the creative action of an all-powerful, personal being of the sort we call God.

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Medium 9781577311218

Chapter 8: Humanism

New World Library ePub

NOTE: One might not immediately classify Humanism among religions and spiritual traditions since it finds no evidence for—and therefore denies—claims of supernatural or transcendent realities. Humanist publications, furthermore, provide an ongoing and sometimes appropriate critique of abuses by religions. On the other hand, there are those among humanists who label themselves religious humanists, and many others join societies and churches for fellowship and to affirm meaning and ethical commitments. The Manifesto itself describes humanism as “a living and growing faith.” However one labels it—philosophical movement or worldview—humanism clearly reflects significant inclinations found in many modern and postmodern societies.

The document reprinted below is the second Humanist Manifesto, published in 1973. Humanist Manifesto I, published in 1933, was described by Raymond Bragg as

designed to represent a developing point of view, not a new creed....The importance of the document is that more than thirty men have come to general agreement on matters of final concern and that these men are undoubtedly representative of a large number who are forging a new philosophy out of the materials of the modern world.

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Medium 9781442229112


Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

Joseph L. Mangina

The appearance of each new volume in the Brazos Theological Commentary series poses afresh the question, “What is a theological commentary?” We should be grateful that the series does not try to answer this question in advance. As R. R. Reno remarks in his preface, the Brazos volumes are not an attempt to establish a new interpretive paradigm against the historical-critical one. Rather, the books are more like hermeneutical therapy, a recovery program for a church that has forgotten the skills it needs to interpret Scripture. As such the entire project has a somewhat experimental quality, as each author develops his or her own approach to theological interpretation.

We now have Stanley Hauerwas’s commentary on the Gospel of Matthew. Given Hauerwas’s stature as one of the most influential (and prolific) authors in the English-speaking theological world, we inevitably bring certain expectations to our reading of this volume. We expect to hear some things about politics, discipleship, sanctification, and the virtues. We somehow expect the church to play a central role. These expectations are not disappointed. In becoming a commentator on Scripture Hauerwas has not abandoned his central theological convictions. But this is far from being an exercise in eisegesis. The book represents a serious wrestling with Matthew’s story of Jesus.

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Medium 9780253018670

6 Making New Jews: Maccabi in Czechoslovakia

Tatjana Lichtenstein Indiana University Press ePub

IN THE MONTHS PRECEDING THE 1936 OLYMPICS IN BERLIN, debates raged in several European and North American countries about whether or not their athletes should be allowed to boycott the Games. No country pulled out of the event, but individual athletes did. Some Jewish athletes decided not to participate; others traveled to Berlin with their non-Jewish team members.1 In Czechoslovakia that summer, audiences followed the boycott debate with great interest. Months earlier the Czechoslovak Jewish sports organization Makabi ČSR (Maccabi Czechoslovakia) had announced that its members would not participate in the Berlin Games.2 This decision was met with support in Jewish and non-Jewish circles.3 It might have gone unnoticed had it not been the case that some of the country’s top swimmers and water polo players belonged to the Jewish clubs Hagibor Praha/Prag, Bar Kochba Bratislava, and Maccabi Brno/Brünn. In addition, several other Jewish athletes, who belonged to non-Jewish clubs, were also members of the Olympic swim and water polo teams.4 Sports commentators believed that the Czechoslovak teams had a good chance of bringing home medals from Berlin. They predicted that the Jewish athletes’ withdrawal would weaken the national teams considerably.

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Medium 9780253008053

21. Teaching through Words, Teaching through Silence: Education after (and about) Auschwitz

Edited by Steven T Katz and Alan Rosen Indiana University Press ePub



REMEMBRANCE AND EDUCATION are closely related concepts. In some sense they are synonymous. If people have learned something they remember what others have told them or what they have read. After a process of learning students remember facts and stories, recollections of former events, tales of the past and historical incidents. In short, students have learned at least some aspects of “tradition,” meaning teachings and tales that have been passed down for centuries or even longer. In an ideal world learners bring what they remember in close contact with their own life experience or make it part of their life-world and identity.

In this light Elie Wiesel's words, work, and message devoted to memory have had a tremendous educational impact. The book Night1 is the cornerstone of an opus magnum that—like an ellipse—has two foci: (1) the remembrance of the Shoah and (2) humanistic values for today's world and for the future. The scope of his work thus encompasses both past and future. These two dimensions are central for any education, because young people must learn things that come from earlier times (language, writings, literature, historical events, any form of tradition, art, music) in order to understand themselves and the world in the present and to be prepared for the future. In the remainder of this contribution I shall explore Wiesel's writings in order to highlight aspects that are of educational relevance.

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Medium 9781442229129


Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

C. Kavin Rowe

To anyone acquainted with the history and development of the theological disciplines, it should be evident that, outside of certain religious studies departments, the long-standing and thick wall of separation between biblical exegesis and constructive theological reflection has begun to crumble.1 As Brian Daley has recently observed, there is

a growing sense among biblical scholars and theologians—especially those under forty—that the dominant post-Enlightenment approach to identifying the meaning of scriptural texts has begun to lose some of its energy, that it has less that is new and substantial to say than once it did to those who want to spend their time reading the Christian Bible: the members, by and large, of the Christian churches.2

Indeed, if one measures simply by the number of new publication ventures, the interest in interweaving reflective theology and biblical studies is not only growing but growing rapidly.3 Whether we attribute this growth to a desire for deeply rooted traditions in the face of the intellectual and spiritual homelessness of postmodern experience, or to a recognition that Scripture cannot be read profitably merely on historicist terms (or to some combination thereof), the point for this essay remains the same: we stand now at an important moment in which there exists substantial potential for the integration of the theological disciplines.

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Medium 9781538102718

An Agenda for Evangelicals and Catholics

Mangina, Joseph Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

An Agenda for Evangelicals and Catholics

William M. Shea

Conflicting horizons of meaning have been the central interest of my professional and personal life: Jews and Christians; naturalists and the supernaturalists; Fundamentalists, Evangelicals, and Catholics; right-wing (Ultramontane and Integralist) and left-wing (liberal and modernist) Catholics; America’s constitutional tolerance and its unofficial and historical anti-Catholicism; the nation’s unusually religious nature and its recent disturbingly antireligious culture; and the tug-of-war among Catholics as to the nature of authority and Catholic identity. This interest in cultural and theological dialectic began in 1951 in college, where I wrote a senior thesis on Franco’s rebellion against the Spanish Republic in 1936. To me the murderous republican anticlericalism and equally murderous fascism of the Catholic right was each a mysterium tremendum et fascinans.1

I’ve tried to understand differences, looking for a way of coping with them intellectually and practically, and looking for common ground. I’ve occasionally found ways of speaking constructively about differences and even some ways of living with the differences and getting beyond them, and that in spite of the fact that temperamentally I’m a divider rather than a healer. David Tracy thirty years ago said of me that I have a Catholic mind and a Protestant psyche, and so an inner dialectic was noted. My brother once remarked that I am emotional man trying to be reasonable.I think they are making the same point: my own struggle for personal unification makes me alert to the tug of opposites, especially in religion and culture. For me the personal tension has always been to understand the “others” and at the same time remain faithful to my own people. How to achieve unification and how to cope with difference are the ordering questions for me. Perhaps practical unification is the outcome of a plethora of copings rather than a Hegelian third position that subsumes the two “others.”

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Medium 9781574411836

Do You Have a Rapture Lawyer?

Robert Flynn University of North Texas Press PDF

Do You Have a Rapture Lawyer? j

The Lord is going to return very soon, probably before the next election. If your chances of being raptured are greater than those of a pecan pie at a Baptist picnic you need a rapture lawyer. As you rise into glory, what happens to your estate?

You may think you don’t need a rapture lawyer because you have a valid will leaving everything to your wife. What if the rapture comes while you are driving your car, you disappear in the air, and your car goes smash into an X-rated video store?

Your wife is going to the poor house, and your estate is going to a pornographer and pervert.

You may think you don’t need a rapture lawyer because you have given up driving, along with other litigious liabilities, and you have a valid will leaving everything to your wife, children, and grandchildren. What happens if you raised them right, correcting your wife along the way, and they are raptured with you? You may think you will be so happy in heaven with God, the angels, your relatives—including your sainted mother who preceded you—that you won’t care what happens to your estate. Think again. The estate that you spent your life trying to protect from the government is going to be seized by Uncle

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Medium 9781442247789

Revisiting the Sola Scripture Debate: Yves Congar and Joseph Ratzinger on Tradition

Mangina, Joseph Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

Revisiting the Sola Scripture Debate: Yves Congar and Joseph Ratzinger on Tradition

Joshua Brotherton

I. Ecumenical Avoidance of Scylla and Charybdis on Tradition

Perhaps nothing else divides the Christian community in its approach to Scripture more than the issue of ecclesial tradition. All Christians accept some form or another of apostolic tradition, whether they recognize it or not, but the precise meaning of tradition and, in particular, its relationship to Scripture escapes many Catholics and Protestants alike. While the particular Protestant perspective on revelation that identifies the Word of God with the words of sacred Scripture is pegged as “fundamentalist,” many Catholics possess a similar mindset, likely in reaction to the “modernist” spirit which forcefully manifested itself in the early twentieth century. It is commonly observed that the nouvelle theologie movement played a great role in the doctrinal developments that took place in the Catholic Church at the Second Vatican Council, which one may call the first council to be ecumenical par excellence. Although the movement is neither monolithic nor entirely immune to criticism, it has forged inroads on the ecumenical scene, and yet one of its key contributions is habitually neglected, namely, its theology of Scripture and tradition. The influence of Yves Congar and Joseph Ratzinger at the council is well known,1 but their chief contributions appear in Dei Verbum, the one out of the four constitutions to receive the least attention since the close of the council. It is high time that this topic of most crucial significance for ecumenical progress be engaged. For an adequate ecumenical theology it is imperative that Catholic and Protestant theologians alike confront, ideally together in some fashion, the profound thought of Yves Congar and Joseph Ratzinger that are hinted at in the few numbers of this constitution that directly concern the nature of tradition, particularly, in its relationship to Scripture. Therefore, rather than engage in a detailed exegesis of the conciliar text, I would like to analyze and synthesize (not without critical questions) the theology of tradition that the Second Vatican Council has bequeathed to the Church.

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Medium 9780253006844

2 Filling Niches and Pews in Williamsburg and Greenpoint: The Religious Ecology of Gentrification

RICHARD CIMINO Indiana University Press ePub

Richard Cimino

“Oh wow, wait a minute, this is weird,” shouted a twenty-something spectator to a friend on his cell phone as he watched the float of a Marian statue and a procession of priests, pilgrims, and a small brass band pass him on Graham Avenue. “It’s like a parade about our lady of caramel or something.”

This brief encounter between the puzzled hipster and the Roman Catholic participants in the procession of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, during the summer of 2008 illuminates the ongoing cultural disconnect between newcomers and old-time residents in this gentrifying neighborhood. As the procession winded its way through the side streets of what was once called Italian Williamsburg, the pilgrims handed out scapulars (necklaces with cloth images of the Virgin Mary) to neighbors while the priests greeted older parishioners as they stood waving by their doorways. The newer residents kept more of a distance from the spectacle. Sitting on the steps of her building, a thirty-seven-year-old woman who had recently moved to Williamsburg said, “I’m not religious, but it’s good for the neighborhood . . . It keeps it safer.”

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Medium 9780890517888

31. Did Noah Need Oxygen Tanks on the Ark?

Ken Ham Master Books ePub

Chapter 31

Did Noah Need Oxygen Tanks on the Ark?

Bodie Hodge

Why would someone ask this question? Lets back up and look at this from a big picture. Consider what the Bible says about the voyage of the ark:

The water prevailed more and more upon the earth, so that all the high mountains everywhere under the heavens were covered. The water prevailed fifteen cubits higher, and the mountains were covered (Genesis 7:1920).1

People look at the earth today and note that the highest mountain is Mt. Everest, which stands just over 29,000 feet above sea level. Then they put two and two together and say that Noahs ark floated at least 15 cubits above Mt. Everest and at such high altitude, people need oxygen!2

It sounds like a straightforward argument, doesnt it? But did you notice that I emphasized the word today? In light of this, the solution is quite simple: the Flood did not happen on todays earth, but rather on the earth of nearly 4,300 years ago (according to Ussher).

The world today is not the same as it was before the Flood, or even during the Flood. For instance, if the mountains, continents, and oceans basins of todays earth were more leveled out (as would be expected in a global Flood), the planets surface water alone would cover the earth an estimated 1.66 miles deep about 8,000 feet. Yet when I visited Cusco, Peru, which is around 11,000 feet above sea level, I didnt need an oxygen tank.

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Medium 9780253018168

10. Topology of the Self in Luther

Marius Timmann Mjaaland Indiana University Press ePub

The hidden God is to a certain extent a neglected topos of modernity, either in the form of a passive forgetfulness or an active exclusion of this topic due to its inconvenient, problematic—indeed, rather unmodern—connotations. In particular Protestant theology seems to be dominated by a rationalistic tendency up to the Enlightenment, which is strictly opposed to this crucial distinction in Luther’s thought and therefore tends to exclude it from the scope of theological inquiry.1 The major philosophers are more apt to raise the basic questions concerning the conditions for thought, including the limits of reason and the distinction between hiddenness and revelation, and thus they also inquire into the questions raised by the Reformation. A careful analysis of each philosopher would by far transgress the limits of the present volume, but in a planned second volume I will outline some trajectories of thought running from Luther up to the present, based on a topological approach.

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