Published by MDPI
Online ISSN: 2077-1444
In-depth interviews were conducted with 39 very religious people living with HIV (16 had ever and 23 had never discontinued antiretroviral therapy-ART) to assess the role of religion in these treatment decisions and in coping with HIV. Participants who had ever discontinued ART gave reasons such as: teachings and prophecies from religious leaders, and supporting Biblical scriptures all of which led them to feel that God and their faith, not ART, would help them; and testimonies by their "already healed" peers who had stopped ART. Participants who had never discontinued ART gave reasons such as continuous adherence counseling from multiple sources, improvement in physical health as a result of ART, and beliefs that God heals in different ways and that non-adherence is equal to putting God to a test. High religiosity was reported to help participants cope with HIV through engagement in personal and or community protective behaviours, "taking care of other illness", and reducing worries. When high religiosity among people living with HIV (PHAs) becomes a barrier to ART adherence, the adherence counseling provided can draw on experiences of PHAs with high religiosity who have sustained good adherence to ART and achieved good health outcomes.
We always seem to be in the wake of some current event or controversy that reminds us just how important scholarly interest in religions has been, is, and will be. Fortunately, new sources for religious movements—even sources that illumine those movements’ origins—keep turning up, and many sources, long considered critical, are now accessible online. Furthermore, fresh developments in the disciplines that consistently make significant contributions to our understanding of religious personality, authority, devotion, and community—disciplines ranging from psychology, sociology, and anthropology to history, art history, philosophy, literary criticism, and political science—fuel general, as well as scholarly, interest in the world’s religions. Without exaggeration, one can claim we have an embarrassment of riches. Consequently, the study of religious crises, commitments, and critics of the latter has never been livelier. [...]
The Santa Clara Strength of Religious Faith Questionnaire is a brief (10-item, or five-item short form version), reliable and valid self report measure assessing strength of religious faith and engagement suitable for use with multiple religious traditions, denominations, and perspectives. It has been used in medical, student, psychiatric, substance abuse, and among general populations nationally and internationally and among multiple cultures and languages. Brief non denominational self report measures of religious and faith engagement that have demonstrated reliability and validity are not common but can have potential for general utility in both clinical and research settings. This article provides an overview of the scale and current research findings regarding its use in both research and clinical practice.
The Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy-Spiritual Well-Being (FACIT-Sp-12) is a 12-item questionnaire that measures spiritual well-being in people with cancer and other chronic illnesses. Cancer patients, psychotherapists, and religious/spiritual experts provided input on the development of the items. It was validated with a large, ethnically diverse sample. It has been successfully used to assess spiritual well-being across a wide range of religious traditions, including those who identify themselves as “spiritual yet not religious.” Part of the larger FACIT measurement system that assesses multidimensional health related quality of life (HRQOL), the FACIT-Sp-12 has been translated and linguistically validated in 15 languages and has been used in dozens of studies examining the relationships among spiritual well-being, health, and adjustment to illness.
The Brief RCOPE is a 14-item measure of religious coping with major life stressors. As the most commonly used measure of religious coping in the literature, it has helped contribute to the growth of knowledge about the roles religion serves in the process of dealing with crisis, trauma, and transition. This paper reports on the development of the Brief RCOPE and its psychometric status. The scale developed out of Pargament’s (1997) program of theory and research on religious coping. The items themselves were generated through interviews with people experiencing major life stressors. Two overarching forms of religious coping, positive and negative, were articulated through factor analysis of the full RCOPE. Positive religious coping methods reflect a secure relationship with a transcendent force, a sense of spiritual connectedness with others, and a benevolent world view. Negative religious coping methods reflect underlying spiritual tensions and struggles within oneself, with others, and with the divine. Empirical studies document the internal consistency of the positive and negative subscales of the Brief RCOPE. Moreover, empirical studies provide support for the construct validity, predictive validity, and incremental validity of the subscales. The Negative Religious Coping subscale, in particular, has emerged as a robust predictor of health-related outcomes. Initial evidence suggests that the Brief RCOPE may be useful as an evaluative tool that is sensitive to the effects of psychological interventions. In short, the Brief RCOPE has demonstrated its utility as an instrument for research and practice in the psychology of religion and spirituality.
SWB levels among university students using the SWBQ.
The Four Domains Model of Spiritual Health and Well-Being was used as the theoretical base for the development of several spiritual well-being questionnaires, with progressive fine-tuning leading to the Spiritual Health And Life-Orientation Measure (SHALOM). SHALOM comprises 20 items with five items reflecting the quality of relationships of each person with themselves, other people, the environment and/or God, in the Personal, Communal, Environmental and Transcendental domains of spiritual well-being. SHALOM has undergone rigorous statistical testing in several languages. SHALOM has been used with school and university students, teachers, nurses, medical doctors, church-attenders, in industry and business settings, with abused women, troubled youth and alcoholics. SHALOM provides a unique way of assessing spiritual well-being as it compares each person’s ideals with their lived experiences, providing a measure of spiritual harmony or dissonance in each of the four domains.
Spiritual needs of patients with chronic diseases as measured with the Spiritual Needs Questionnaire (SpNQ) (n = 210; 75% women, 25% men; mean age 53.7 ± 12.2 years; 67% chronic pain conditions, 28% cancer, 5% other chronic diseases [25]). Abbreviations.: Rel(igious), Mean(ing), Peace, Con(nection).
For many patients confronted with chronic diseases, spirituality/religiosity is an important resource for coping. Patients often report unmet spiritual and existential needs, and spiritual support is also associated with better quality of life. Caring for spiritual, existential and psychosocial needs is not only relevant to patients at the end of their life but also to those suffering from long-term chronic illnesses. Spiritual needs may not always be associated with life satisfaction, but sometimes with anxiety, and can be interpreted as the patients’ longing for spiritual well-being. The needs for peace, health and social support are universal human needs and are of special importance to patients with long lasting courses of disease. The factor, Actively Giving, may be of particular importance because it can be interpreted as patients’ intention to leave the role of a `passive sufferer´ to become an active, self-actualizing, giving individual. One can identify four core dimensions of spiritual needs, i.e., Connection, Peace, Meaning/Purpose, and Transcendence, which can be attributed to underlying psychosocial, emotional, existential, and religious needs. The proposed model can provide a conceptual framework for further research and clinical practice. In fact, health care that addresses patients’ physical, emotional, social, existential and spiritual needs (referring to a bio-psychosocial-spiritual model of health care) will contribute to patients’ improvement and recovery. Nevertheless, there are several barriers in the health care system that makes it difficult to adequately address these needs.
The SpREUK questionnaire (SpREUK is an acronym of the German translation of "Spiritual and Religious Attitudes in Dealing with Illness") was developed to investigate how patients with chronic diseases living in secular societies view the impact of spirituality in their dealing with illness (in terms of reactive coping). The aim was to operationalize and quantify patients’ search for a transcendent source of support; their reliance on such a source of help; and whether they regard their illness as a chance for reflection and subsequent change of life and behavior. The contextual 15-item SpREUK has very good internal consistency estimates (ranging from 0.86 to 0.91), and differentiates three factors, i.e., Search (for Support/Access), Trust (in Higher Guidance/Source), and Reflection (Positive Interpretation of Disease). It avoids exclusive religious terminology and appears to be a good choice for assessing patients’ interest in spiritual/religious concerns, which is not biased for or against a particular religious commitment. This reliable and valid instrument is suited for patients in secular and also in religious societies.
Four Domains Model of Spiritual Health and Well-Being. DOMAINS OF SPIRITUAL WELL-BEING
At our core, or coeur, we humans are spiritual beings. Spirituality can be viewed in a variety of ways from a traditional understanding of spirituality as an expression of religiosity, in search of the sacred, through to a humanistic view of spirituality devoid of religion. Health is also multi-faceted, with increasing evidence reporting the relationship of spirituality with physical, mental, emotional, social and vocational well-being. This paper presents spiritual health as a, if not THE, fundamental dimension of people’s overall health and well-being, permeating and integrating all the other dimensions of health. Spiritual health is a dynamic state of being, reflected in the quality of relationships that people have in up to four domains of spiritual well-being: Personal domain where a person intra-relates with self; Communal domain, with in-depth inter-personal relationships; Environmental domain, connecting with nature; Transcendental domain, relating to some-thing or some‑One beyond the human level. The Four Domains Model of Spiritual Health and Well‑Being embraces all extant world-views from the ardently religious to the atheistic rationalist.
Religious coping now represents a key variable of interest in research on health outcomes, not only because many individuals turn to their faith in times of illness, but also because studies have frequently found that religious coping is associated with desirable health outcomes. The purpose of this article is to familiarize readers with recent investigations of religious coping in samples with medical conditions. The present article will begin by describing a conceptual model of religious coping. The article will then provide data on the prevalence of religious coping in a range of samples. After presenting findings that illustrate the general relationship between religious coping and health outcomes, the article will review more specific pathways through which religious coping is thought to impact health. These pathways include shaping individuals’ active coping with health problems, influencing patients’ emotional responses to illness, fostering social support, and facilitating meaning making. This article will also address the darker side of religious coping, describing forms of coping that are linked to negative outcomes. Examples of religious coping interventions will also be reviewed. Finally, we will close with suggestions for future work in this important field of research.
Property of the Kykkos Monastery in 1879.
The article presents a comprehensive overview of the various economic activities performed by the Kykkos Monastery in Cyprus in its long history (11th–20th centuries). The article begins with a brief review of the early centuries of Cypriot monasticism and the foundation of the monastery in the 11th century. Then, the analysis focuses on the economic activities performed during the period of the Ottoman rule (1571–1878). Using primary sources from the monastery’s archives, this section offers an overview of the various types of monastic land holdings in the Ottoman era and the strategies used to purchase them. Using 19th century primary sources, it further presents a detailed account of the multifaceted involvement and illustrates the prominent role of the monastery in the island’s economic life (land ownership, stockbreeding activities, lending of money, etc.). Next, it examines the changes in monastic possessions caused by the legislation enacted by the post-1878 British colonial administration. The legislation caused the loss of extensive land holdings and was the subject of extensive controversy.
The Daily Spiritual Experience Scale (DSES) is a 16-item self-report measure designed to assess ordinary experiences of connection with the transcendent in daily life. It includes constructs such as awe, gratitude, mercy, sense of connection with the transcendent and compassionate love. It also includes measures of awareness of discernment/inspiration and a sense of deep inner peace. Originally developed for use in health studies, it has been increasingly used more widely in the social sciences, for program evaluation, and for examining changes in spiritual experiences over time. Also it has been used in counseling, addiction treatment settings, and religious organizations. It has been included in longitudinal health studies and in the U.S. General Social Survey which established random-sample population norms. It has publications on its psychometric validity in English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, German and Mandarin Chinese. Translations have been made into twenty languages including Hindi, Hebrew and Arabic and the scale has been effectively used in a variety of cultures. The 16-item scale does not have a psychometrically representative shorter form although a 6-item adaptation has been used. The DSES was developed using extensive qualitative testing in a variety of groups, which has helped its capacity to be useful in a variety of settings. It was constructed to reflect an overlapping circle model of spirituality/religiousness and contains items that are more specifically theistic in nature, as well as items to tap the spiritual experience of those who are not comfortable with theistic language. The scale has been used in over 70 published studies. This paper will provide an overview of the scale itself, describe why it has proved useful, and discuss some studies using the scale. See for more information on the scale.
Demographic and oral diseases data and SpREUK-Hebrew scores.
Background: Research has examined the connection between religiosity, spirituality (SpR) and health, and the potential of these variables to prevent, heal and cope with disease. Research indicated that participation in religious meetings or services was associated with a lower risk of developing oral disease. We intended to test a Hebrew version of the SpREUK 1.1 questionnaire, which is reported to be a reliable and valid measure of distinctive issues of SpR, and to test its relevance in the context of oral illness among a Jewish population. Methods: In order to validate the SpREUK-Hebrew instrument, minor translational and cultural/religious adaptations were applied. Reliability and factor analyses were performed, using standard procedures, among 134 Jewish Israeli subjects (mean age 38.4 years). Results: Analysis of reliability for internal consistency demonstrated an intra-class correlation of Cronbach's alpha = 0.90 for the intrinsic religiosity/spiritual and the appraisal scales, and of 0.90 for the support through spirituality/religiosity scales. Inter reliability agreement by kappa ranged between 0.7 and 0.9. We were able to approve the previously described factorial structure, albeit with some unique characteristics in the Jewish population. Individuals´ time spent on spiritual activity correlated with the SpREUK scales. The instrument discriminated well between religious subgroups (i.e., ultra Orthodox, conventional religious and less-religious). Preliminary results indicate an association between measures of spirituality and oral health. Conclusions: The traditional and cultural adaptation of the tool was found to be appropriate. SpREUK-Hebrew was reliable and valid among a Jewish population. This method could therefore be employed in comparative studies among different cultural and religious backgrounds.
Reference values (distributions and average scores in North Carolina) for individual items in DUREL.
There is need for a brief measure of religiosity that can be included in epidemiological surveys to examine relationships between religion and health outcomes. The Duke University Religion Index (DUREL) is a five-item measure of religious involvement, and was developed for use in large cross-sectional and longitudinal observational studies. The instrument assesses the three major dimensions of religiosity that were identified during a consensus meeting sponsored by the National Institute on Aging. Those three dimensions are organizational religious activity, non-organizational religious activity, and intrinsic religiosity (or subjective religiosity). The DUREL measures each of these dimensions by a separate “subscale”, and correlations with health outcomes should be analyzed by subscale in separate models. The overall scale has high test-retest reliability (intra-class correlation = 0.91), high internal consistence (Cronbach’s alpha’s = 0.78–0.91), high convergent validity with other measures of religiosity (r’s = 0.71–0.86), and the factor structure of the DUREL has now been demonstrated and confirmed in separate samples by other independent investigative teams. The DUREL has been used in over 100 published studies conducted throughout the world and is available in 10 languages.
Religion and spirituality are two methods of meaning making that impact a person’s ability to cope, tolerate, and accept disease and pain. The biopsychosocial-spiritual model includes the human spirit’s drive toward meaning-making along with personality, mental health, age, sex, social relationships, and reactions to stress. In this review, studies focusing on religion’s and spirituality’s effect upon pain in relationship to physical and mental health, spiritual practices, and the placebo response are examined. The findings suggest that people who are self efficacious and more religiously and spiritually open to seeking a connection to a meaningful spiritual practice and/or the transcendent are more able to tolerate pain.
In a large population cohort of Australian men, we previously observed that stressful life events were associated with increased suicidal ideation (SI). Many stressful life events, such as relationship breakdown and financial difficulties, occur frequently, yet most men who experience them do not have suicidal thoughts. There is some evidence that religious belief may be protective against suicidal behaviour. This study examined if attendance of religious service and/or perceived importance of religion/spirituality to participants modifies the association between stressful life events and suicidal thinking. Our analysis included 10,588 men who were aged 18 years or older who participated in the Australian Longitudinal Study on Male Health (Ten to Men), a national cohort study of Australian males. The study compared demographic, protective and risk factors for four subgroups: No SI, Remitted SI, New SI, and Chronic SI between Wave 1 (October 2013 to July 2014) and Wave 2 (November 2015 to May 2016) of the study and conducted logistic regression for these four outcomes. The study found a protective effect for attendance of religious services for the onset of New SI at Wave 2. Importance of religion/spirituality was positively related to Chronic SI. There were no effects of service attendance or importance for any of the other SI outcomes. We discuss results of the study in relation to social connection and broader contextual factors, such as secularization.
In the Iron Age II (ca. 1000–500 BCE), the region around Amman, Jordan, was home to a sociopolitical group known as the Ammonites (literally, “the sons of Ammon”). This paper investigates the religious traditions of the Ammonites through an analysis of the extant archaeological and textual sources. The analysis leads to the conclusion that the religious tradition of the Ammonites is a specimen of the broader religious tradition of the Iron Age II Levant. One distinguishing feature of Ammonite religion is the state god Milkom, whose name is probably an epithet for the god ʾEl, and who appears to be represented in a tradition of stone sculptures that have been found in the vicinity of Amman. The rest of the non-physical realm was understood to be inhabited by gods, goddesses, a variety of other non-human beings, and dead ancestors. Also visible in the extant evidence is a blending of local and foreign elements, especially those from Mesopotamia. Unique in this respect is the probable temple to the moon-god at Rujm al-Kursi, which most likely reflects a local tradition of lunar worship influenced by the iconography of the Mesopotamian moon-god Sîn.
This article focuses on sūra 102 al-Takāthur of the Qur’ān which addresses those preoccupied with al-takāthur (competition for superiority in number, or accumulation of wealth), warning them of the punishment of Hell in the Hereafter and of their interrogation about al-na‘īm (the worldly pleasures) on the Day of Judgement. The grave eschatological implications of engaging in al-takāthur and al-na‘īm, conveyed in this sūra, have triggered attempts by Muslim scholars to determine the intended meanings of these notions and the scope of their reference. This article examines the interpretations of al-takāthur and al-na‘īm in medieval commentaries on sūra al-Takāthur with the aim of identifying and analysing various interpretative trends regarding these two notions and exploring their connection with the moral orientations among Muslims in the medieval period of Islamic history.
The author wishes to add the following correction to her paper published in Religions [1]: Reference [28] on pages 1035 and 1040 should be [27] and the citation to [27] on p. 1035 should be removed. The author apologizes for any inconvenience.
This article refers to a Cairo Genizah fragment related to Bavli, Tractate Eruvin 102b-104a, identified as Cambridge, UL T-S F2 (2) 23. FGP No. C 98948. In the fragment, there are two words, “mor” and “yabolet”, which were written as vocalized by the scribe or copyist. Their pronunciation differs from that customary today, i.e., “mar” and “yabelet”. The purpose of this paper is to explain how this pronunciation was generated, the evolvement and development of this pronunciation as it appears in the fragment, and to examine whether there are additional words in other sources that were pronounced similarly. This paper begins with a description of the Genizah fragment and continues with a reproduction of the fragment itself.
In this reply, I aim to clarify my ideas presented in a recent paper and to address criticisms that have been raised by Luis Cordeiro-Rodrigues regarding my interpretation of (animal) suffering and God.
Like other religious traditions, Islam has accommodated notions of the divine logos. The actual elaboration of these notions has been heavily dependent on how the translation of God’s word and commandments to humans were understood as an object of intra-community debate, as well as in polemics with non-Muslims (inter-community debate). These two debates converged in the Muslim critique of the translation, transmission, and interpretation of the divine logos by Jews and Christians in their scriptures, although such convergence took different forms in different historical settings. The present contribution focuses on several examples of the engagement of Muslims with the Bible in the medieval Iberian Peninsula and in exile. The choice of authors and works ranges from the 11th-century Andalusī scholar Ibn Ḥazm to the exile Aḥmad al-Ḥanafī (d. 1049H/1650CE). It is nevertheless not intended as a comprehensive overview of Muslim approaches from the Western Mediterranean region. The objective is rather to discuss several aspects associated with the translation of the divine logos in polemics as a tool of identity that is intimately related to Muslim practices of exegesis and transmission of the Jewish and Christian writings. Particular attention is directed toward the broader issue of how notions of the translation of God’s word have been informed by language practices within contexts of inter-religious contact and competition (either between existing social bodies or as references to a relatively recent past). A preliminary look at Muslim modes of scriptural interpretation suggests that translation and exegesis, as well as the ways in which Muslims understood these practices as performed by non-Muslims, were part of a tradition that took final form and meaning, and that was subject to change when re-enacted in specific contexts. Any understanding of the subject must be read against the backdrop of Muslim configurations of knowledge within the local communities, as combined with tradition.
The introduction of regular religious life in the Nordic region is less well-documented than in the neighbouring kingdoms of northern Europe. In the absence of well-preserved manuscript and material remains, unfounded and sometimes distorting suppositions have been made about the timeline of monastic settlement and the character of the conventual life it brought. Recent archival and archaeological research can offer fresh insights into these questions. The arrival of authentic regular life may have been as early as the second quarter of the eleventh century in Denmark and Iceland, but there was no secure or stable community in any part of Scandinavia until the turn of the next century. A settled monastic network arose from a compact between the leadership of the secular church and the ruling elite, a partnership motivated as much by the shared pursuit of political, social and economic power as by any personal piety. Yet, the force of this patronal programme did not inhibit the development of monastic cultures reflected in books, original writings, church and conventual buildings, which bear comparison with the European mainstream.
How did politically inactive members of the Song literati attempt to realize the Confucian “outwardly regal” vision by putting their political ideal into practice? To what extent did their social networks play a role in this process? This paper aims to examine these questions via a comprehensive investigation of the writings of two prominent political and literary figures who experienced the Northern–Southern Song transition, Sun Di 孫覿 (1081–1169) and Li Gang 李綱 (1083–1140). A close examination of the letters written to senior court officials by these figures during their periods of political inactivity reveals not only these writers’ political agendas but also their attempts to exert influence in the political arena—a manifestation of the “outwardly regal” notion—via their epistolary networks. Despite the fact that Li has been highly praised while Sun has been widely condemned by posterity, the two men employed similar strategies to curry favor with senior court officials, who turned out to be potential patrons and facilitated the subsequent political rehabilitations of these two men. Sun Di’s and Li Gang’s eagerness to resume public service indicates the opportunistic motives underlying their epistolary exchanges and the ungenuine claims of disinterest in the politics expressed therein. Such claims, I would argue, are rhetorical conventions that the two men employed to present themselves as virtuous Confucian gentlemen who continued to cultivate “a sage inside” even when they lacked the opportunity to exercise the “outwardly regal” vision.
Inner reliquary capsule associated with the sainte Vertu, silver gilt, niello and enamel, Byzantine, eleventh century or earlier, treasury of the abbey Saint-Sauveur de Charroux (Photo by permission: Ferron © Ministère de la Culture, Médiathèque du patrimoine et de la photographie, diffusion. RMN-GP).
Abbey of Saint-Sauveur de Charroux, tower and piers belonging to the former choir rotunda, completed ca. 1096 (Photo: author).
In 1082, at the council of Charroux convened by the papal legate Amatus of Oloron, astonished witnesses observed the Holy Prepuce, a rare body relic of Christ himself, to be miraculously spotted with fresh blood. This spectacular miracle holds implications for our understanding of charismatic strategies of religious reform in France in the era of Pope Gregory VII. Gregory’s use of standing legates with regional mandates, such as Amatus, was a novelty in papal administration, but the legates, though empowered as proxies of the pope, were often weak lieutenants. When they could not induce or coerce cooperation, they frequently confronted the impotence of their legal–canonical mandates. The miracle at Charroux, I will show, exemplifies an alternative charismatic strategy, harnessing liturgical art and spectacle to magnify the legate’s stature as an authority in the context of the Eucharistic controversy and religious reform.
This paper focuses on the question of how place, time, ritual, and liturgy were interconnected before, during, and after trials in the tenth and eleventh centuries in what is today Catalonia. It does so by highlighting cases that show that Visigothic law heavily affected the way in which trials were organized, while simultaneously leaving enough space for the liturgy and the divine to impact legal customs. This article aims to showcase these dynamics, which combine space and time with liturgy in a well-articulated framework of legal procedure that formed part of how people experienced the law and its application.
This article proposes a liturgical model for multireligious worship, namely the Pilgrim’s Service for the Ultimate Goodness of Humanity. Three key humanitarian liturgical principles buttress the proposed model; story-sharing, agreed symbols (metaphors), and de-centering. The model also proposes an overarching onto-narrative image—the pilgrim weaving and holding various liturgical threads as a whole. The end goals of this multireligious worship include, among others; (1) renewed awareness of the all-encompassing Transcendent and Its Peace, (2) interreligious dialogue and collaboration, (3) raised consciousness and the practice of radical hospitality for “strangers”, and (4) appreciation of the (religiously) marginalized. The interfaith service held on September 25, 2015, at the 9/11 Museum in New York City is analyzed and annotated, along with further suggestions, as a demonstration of the proposed model.
Dark times can generate crippling despair all too easily. Resources for resistance to despair and for the discovery and articulation of hope are not always readily apparent. This essay considers Paul’s account of his own immersion in such a situation: An ‘affliction’ that left him ‘unbearably crushed’, ‘despairing of life itself’ (2 Cor 1:9), and under a ‘sentence of death’ (2 Cor 1:10). Making a speculative proposal about the nature of Paul’s experience, the essay goes on to argue that Paul identified two fundamental resources for hope. The first is a conviction about an eschatological act that undoes the sentence of death and effects the possibility of rescue or deliverance. The second is a form of human solidarity that generates potential reorientation to the reality of ‘rescue’. While the essay explores these ideas within the terms and framework of Paul’s rhetoric in 2 Corinthians, it will do so with one clear eye on the potential resources that Pauline theology offers those who live in inexplicably dark times today, not least by considering the potential resources for political optimism.
The author would like to make the following changes to the published paper (Blankinship 2020): Citation “Blankinship 2019a, pp [...]
This article explores several key events in the last 12 years that led to periods of heightened suspicion about Islam and Muslims in the United States. It provides a brief overview of the rise of anti-Muslim and anti-Islam sentiment known as "Islamophobia", and it investigates claims that American Muslims cannot be trusted to be loyal to the United States because of their religion. This research examines American Muslim perspectives on national security discourse regarding terrorism and radicalization, both domestic and foreign, after 9/11. The article argues that it is important to highlight developments, both progressive and conservative, in Muslim communities in the United States over the last 12 years that belie suspicions of widespread anti-American sentiment among Muslims or questions about the loyalty of American Muslims. The article concludes with a discussion of important shifts from a Muslim identity politics that disassociated from American identity and 'American exceptionalism' to a position of integration and cultural assimilation.
The training of Imams and Muslim religious leaders has received much interest in the post-9/11 era, resulting in a vast amount of research and publications on the topic. The present work explores this literature with the aim of analysing key debates found therein. It finds that throughout the literature there is a pervasive demand for reform of the training and education provided by Muslim higher education and training institutions (METIs) and Islamic studies programmes at universities in the shape of a synthesis of the two pedagogic models. Such demands are founded on the claim that each is lacking in the appositeness of its provision apropos of the British Muslim population. This article calls for an alternative approach to the issue, namely, that the university and the METI each be accorded independence and freedom in its pedagogic ethos and practice (or else risk losing its identity), and a combined education from both instead be promoted as a holistic training model for Muslim religious leadership.
This study argues that the juxtaposition of Psalms 111–112 offers wisdom for life. Psalm 111, in stressing God’s mighty deeds of redemption for his people, focuses on the “big story” for the whole people; Psalm 112, in stressing “wisdom,” encourages each member of God’s people in a day-to-day walk, a “little story,” that contributes to the big story of the whole people.
This paper examines the role of the miniature in Buddhist ritual, through analyses of miniature pagodas from middle-period China. Due to the otherworldly sensations they evoked and their theatrical nature, miniatures were often endowed with magical and performative power in funerary and religious contexts. The miniature pagodas from the Liao empire (907-1125) were replicas of the stupa monuments (the prototype of the pagoda) at the Eight Great Sacred Places in India. Adopting ritual theories and a comparative approach, this paper illuminates how the Liao miniature pagodas were devised to symbolically transfer the sacred places to the Liao empire in northeast China, allowing Liao Buddhists to make a virtual pilgrimage to the Buddha’s homeland by circumambulating the pagoda. The ways in which they functioned in the Buddhist ritual were similar to the small-scale copies of the Holy Sepulcher in medieval Europe. Their power-contrary to common sense-originated from their miniature size and intentional rejection of their sacred prototype. Through these miniatures, the banal ritual of pagoda circumambulation was transformed into an imaginary journey to the distant holy land, which was believed to be more efficacious and meritorious than an actual pilgrimage, and the prairie of northeast China was turned into the most sacred place in the Buddhist world.
This article presents an overview of the Cistercian monasteries that were founded in Sweden in the 12th and 13th centuries. The first were Alvastra and Nydala, founded in 1143, both male monasteries. However, eventually the nunneries came to outnumber the male monasteries (7/5). The purpose of the article is also to discuss the social background of the monks and nuns who inhabited these monasteries. As for the nuns, previous studies have shown that they initially came from the society’s elite, the royal families, but also other magnates. Gradually, social recruitment broadened, and an increasing number of women from the aristocratic lower levels came to dominate the recruitment. It is also suggested that from the end of the 14th century, the women increasingly came from the burghers. The male monasteries, on the other hand, were not even from the beginning populated by men from the nobles. Their family backgrounds seem rather to be linked to the aristocratic lower layers. This difference between the sexes can most probably be explained by the fact that ideals of monastic life—obedience, equality, poverty and ban on weapons—in a decisive way broke with what in secular life was constructed as an aristocratic masculinity.
The historiography of the crusade and reconquest in the Iberian Peninsula, and Portugal in particular, dates from the beginning of the twentieth century. Since the 1920s, it has been assumed that the reconquest was an output of the crusade in the Iberian West due to the so-called “Bull of Crusade” given to Portugal. The “idea of the Crusade” in Portugal was enhanced by Carl Erdmann in the 1930s and 1940s. This interpretation has been endorsed by the very context in which the Kingdom of Portugal emerged and developed throughout the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. From the 1980s onwards, the launching of systematic research on the military orders also reinforced this perspective. The deep affinity between the military orders and the crusades in the context of the reconquest is reflected in this historiography. These concepts—military orders, crusade, reconquest—have been studied without distinction being made between them, adding to the complexity of this analysis. Considering the historiographical achievements regarding the crusade, it is pertinent to rethink the associations between reconquest, crusade and military orders. Reading certain historical narratives is crucial for this analysis, although the written records do not fully deplete the subject. To reinforce the relevance of this approach, we will also consider royal and pontifical diplomas. Tracing the terminology used in these documents and identifying how these historical realities were referred to are the two main goals of this paper. For that purpose, three key moments of the Portuguese reconquest have been chosen: the conquests of Lisbon (1147), Silves (1189), and Alcácer do Sal (1217). These have one feature in common: the presence of crusaders travelling to the Holy Land, which supports the terminological analysis of those discourses. Different perspectives are embodied in these conquest narratives when compared with royal and papal diplomas on the same issue and of a similar chronology. Historiography on Reconquest, crusade, and the military orders is often conditioned by ideology, occasionally revealing a tendency to repeat ideas without debating them. This paper’s analysis is based on the aforementioned written records and is undertaken in order to verify when the word crusade/crusader appeared in Portugal, to assess to what extent the war of conquest in Portuguese territory followed the example of the holy war and to evaluate the commitment of the crown and the Holy See in this complex process.
"Marianne Crayon".
Maïmouna Coulibaly/¨Marianne Coulibaly.
Following the Charlie Hebdo attacks, the demonstrations or “public mourning” of January 11th, 2015 were heralded by many as the return of the republican sacred, the re-crystallization of a long dormant people, and the resurrection of French fraternity en vivo. However, in the saturation of these political hagiographies, a series of trenchant critiques and observations quickly sought to deconstruct the meaning and putative symbolic power of January 11th. One was struck by the homogeneity of “the people” and the ostensible absence of Arabo-Muslim voices in the somber effervescence that typified the post-Charlie ambiance. Moments of silence were mocked in the banlieue and the homage rendered to the “blasphemers” was blasphemed itself. The imperative to “be Charlie” emerged less as a totemic index of republican solidarity than a Manichean strategy which exacerbated the generally perceived “fracture française”. The result was not only a calling into question of the legitimacy of January 11th, but also a series of counter-articulations which affirmed inter alia “Je ne suis pas Charlie” or worse “Je suis Coulibaly”. January 11th also divided the French left between those who read the event as the re-enchantment of the republican sacred and the people and “liberal” missives which deemed it a simulacra of solidarity, a racist demonstration comprised of “Catholic Zombies” and “Islamophobes”. This paper examines the cleavages engendered by January 11th and its afterlives which reveal not only the fragility of the Republic as a project, but also the fragility of the political sacred that has historically girded this project. At stake is not simply the question “who is Charlie”, but rather “who are the people” and what form they can or should take in a pluralist republic plunged in the perilous entre-deux between communitarianism and the possibility of a cosmopolitan republicanism. January 11th, far from being a simple demonstration, is a metaphor, a nodal point, and a seismograph of the force and frailness of the republican sacred and its capacity to enthrall, convince, and console.
By attributing the term “charismatic” to Saint Louis, Jacques Le Goff identified two sources of charisma: sacred kingship and personal holiness. Without denying these aspects of the holy king’s reputation, we should investigate the nature of the charismatic relationship that linked Louis IX to his contemporaries. The sacrality of Louis IX pre-existed him; his sanctity is a post-death construction. What are the attributes of the living character that would allow us to recognize a charismatic personality? This paper argues that the religious aura of the king, which best echoes the Paulinian version of charisma, was sometimes at odds with the political expectations levied on a medieval ruler, which a Weberian definition of charisma helps to define. In this light, the crusades provided a unique setting where the king’s Christ-like qualities and his political leadership could be reconciled. To conduct this argument, this paper proposes to look for the symptoms of Louis IX’s living charisma in the reactions of his contemporaries, based on the re-examination of classical sources on the life of the king, carefully contextualized.
This paper examines how Franciscan apologetics and polemics over the status of St. Francis and the Rule of 1223 created a climate of inquisitorial suspicion over prophecy and prophetic claims.
Crucifix, 1250-1300, Museo Nacional de Escultura (Valladolid). (© Museo Nacional de Escultura, Valladolid (Spain); Photograph: Javier Muñoz y Paz Pastor). Crucifix, 1250-1300, Museo Nacional de Escultura (Valladolid). (© Museo Nacional de Escultura, Valladolid (Spain); Photograph: Javier Muñoz y Paz Pastor).
Crucifix, 1300-1330, Museo Nacional de Escultura (Valladolid). (© Museo Nacional de Escultura, Valladolid (Spain); Photograph: Javier Muñoz y Paz Pastor). Crucifix, 1300-1330, Museo Nacional de Escultura (Valladolid). (© Museo Nacional de Escultura, Valladolid (Spain); Photograph: Javier Muñoz y Paz Pastor).
Trinity, Breviari d'Amor, Matfré Ermengaud, fourteenth century (Res/203, fol. 9r). Biblioteca Nacional de España (Madrid). (Source: Biblioteca Digital Hispánica, BNE: (accessed on 27 May 2022), Imagen procedente de los fondos de la Biblioteca Nacional de España.
In this paper, I examine the ideas regarding image reception that can be extracted from the De altera uita, a theological treatise written by the Iberian bishop Lucas de Tui in ca. 1230. In this book, he devotes one chapter to rejecting the changes that were taking place at the time in the image of the Crucifixion, especially concerning the variation in the number of nails and the shape of the cross. I will show that this text provides illuminating references regarding image reception, mainly through Lucas’s concerns about the visual misleading of the faithful and their devotional responses to artworks. By examining this work, which I will set against the theological and devotional background of its time, I will argue that this treatise reflects the importance of sight within the religious experience of late-medieval Europe.
The Liber Exemplorum, a collection of preachers’ tales, was compiled c.1275 by an English Franciscan working in Ireland, and is the earliest Franciscan example of its type. Out of 213 exempla which survive in this manuscript, some 26 of these are found in no other source, and are drawn either from the compiler’s own experience or from his having heard of them second hand; these often mention Irish place names and feature Irish Christians as the main protagonists. The collection was compiled some 60 years after the calling of the Fourth Lateran Council, whose decrees would significantly shape the lives of medieval Christians for centuries. This article examines the manner in which some of the principal concerns of Lateran IV appear prominently as themes in this collection of preachers’ tales, and, furthermore, how such tales played a crucial role in the popular dissemination of the reforms envisaged by the council fathers. The tales themselves also offer a unique window on popular religious practice and ideas, both real and imagined, in late-13th-century Ireland.
The image of Mahākāla (Sun 1989, p. 51). White Temple in Gurge Kingdom relics, China.
Mahoraga dolls, a type of figurine showing a child holding a lotus leaf, are sacrifice utensils that were commonly used in the Qixi Festival to pray for reproduction throughout the Song Dynasty in China. Scholars pay great attention to the Buddhistic origins of Mahoraga, relating it to different figures within Buddhism and discussing its religious artistic values. This paper focuses on the transformation of this cultural appropriation in Chinese society by discussing the localization of Mahoraga as well as the reasons behind the use of Mahoraga in worship in Qixi in particular. We believe that the population crisis and national population policies in the Song Dynasty stimulated Chinese people’s longing for procreation and this desire was responded to by the secularization and popularization of Buddhism in China, together with the increased prosperity of citizen culture, which ultimately promoted the popularity of Mahoraga in Song society.
The biblical prophecy in Ezekiel 28:11–19 records a dirge against the king from Tyre. While the Hebrew Masoretic Text (MT) identifies the monarch as a cherub, the Greek Septuagint (LXX) distinguishes the royal from the cherub. Scholarly debates arise as to which edition represents the more original version of the prophecy. This article aims to contribute to the debates by adopting a text-critical approach to the two variant literary editions of the dirge, comparing and analyzing their differences, while incorporating insights gleaned from the extra-biblical literature originating from the ancient Near East, Second Temple Period, and Late Antiquity. The study reaches the conclusion that the current MT, with its presentation of a fluid boundary between the mortal and divine, likely builds on a more ancient interpretation of the Tyrian king. On the other hand, while the Hebrew Vorlage of LXX Ezekiel 28:12b–15 resembles the Hebrew text of the MT, the Greek translator modifies the text via literary allusions and syntactical rearrangement, so that the final result represents a later reception that suppresses any hints at the divinity of the Tyrian ruler. The result will contribute to our understanding of the historical development of the ancient Israelite religion.
Mah¯ amudr¯ a transmissions in Xixia.
Mahāmudrā—an Indo-Tibetan phenomenon of Buddhist spirituality—constitutes in its systematic presentation a path that maps out the mystical quest for direct experience of ultimate reality. Despite the post-15th century bKa’-brgyud attempts at a codified Mahāmudrā genealogy, the early Tibetan sources speak little with regards to how the different Indian Mahāmudrā threads made their way over the Himalayas. To fill this gap, the article investigates, via philological and historical approaches, the lineage accounts in the 12th-century Xixia Mahāmudrā materials against the Indo-Tibetan Buddhist landscape. Three transmission lines are detected. Among them, two lines are attested by later Tibetan historiographical accounts about Mahāmudrā, and thus belong to an Indo-Tibetan continuum of the constructed Buddhist yogic past based upon historical realities—at least as understood by Tibetans of the time. The third one is more of a collage patching together different claims to spiritual legacy and religious authority—be they historically based or introspectively projected. Not only does the Mahāmudrā topography, jointly fueled by these three transmissions, reveal the Xixia recognition and imagination of the Indo-Tibetan Buddhist legacies, it also captures the complexities of the multi-faceted picture of Mahāmudrā on its way over the Himalayas during the 11th/12th century.
Jonah 1:13 has a delaying function in the narrative, introducing a pause between Jonah’s demand to be thrown in the sea (1:12) and the event’s occurrence (1:15). Most commentators discuss only the events of 1:13 and their causes. In this article, I suggest an interpretation of Jonah 1:13 based on the imagery of the narrative. An analysis of the use of metaphors and symbols does not replace the message of the verse; such an analysis simply augments it with motives of the seamen’s conversion. Beside the narrative level, there is a hidden level suggesting a deeper understanding of the story where symbols and metaphors have a consolidating function. Distance, directions, and movement in Jonah 1 describe acts with religious connotation. At the same time, the physical action of rowing is a symbolic anticipation of the seamen’s conversion. It contains a message about the inner itinerary that leads to the transformation of the sailors. Thereby, I suggest that Jonah 1:13 not only reveals YHWH’s plan with Jonah but it also focuses on the sailors and their conversion.
Eagerly venerated and able to perform miracles, medieval relics and religious artefacts in the Latin West would occasionally also be subject to sensorial and tactile devotional practices. Evidenced by various reports, artefacts were grasped and stroked, kissed and tasted, carried and pulled. For medieval Norway, however, there is very little documentary and/or physical evidence of such sensorial engagements with religious artefacts. Nevertheless, two church inventories for the parish churches in Hålandsdalen (1306) and Ylmheim (1321/1323) offer a small glimpse of what may have been a semi-domestic devotional practice related to sculpture, namely the embellishing of wooden sculptures in parish churches with silver bracelets and silver brooches. According to wills from England and the continent, jewellery was a common material gift donated to parishes by women. Such a practice is likely to have been taking place in Norway, too, yet the lack of coherent source material complicate the matter. Nonetheless, using a few preserved objects and archaeological finds as well as medieval sermons, homiletic texts and events recorded in Old Norse sagas, this article teases out more of the significances of the silver items mentioned in the two inventories by exploring the interfaces between devotional acts, decorative needs, and possibly gendered experiences, as well as object itineraries between the domestic and the religious space.
Giri Pradakshinapatha, the modern circumambulation path around the Hemakuta Hill area. Image from Google Earth Pro. Imagery from 2021.
View northwards, through the kalla upparige. Image from Google Earth. Imagery from 2015.
View north-west of the kalla upparige. Image from Google Earth. Imagery from 2015.
The early medieval Pampa tirtha (pilgrimage), in the Hampi area, Bellary District, Karnataka, South India, is largely presented in research as a relatively homogenous, albeit sacred space. This paper describes a nuanced understanding of the Pampa tirtha through the lens of spatial organization and pilgrim movement. The natural and built landscape features of the area were digitized through Esri’s ArcMap to historically situate extant stone monuments. Devotee movement through the pilgrimage space was then modelled on time-sensitive maps of architectural and natural features. Pathways of movement across the site were subsequently explored in the immersive panoramic imagery captured in Google Street View. By combining these digital tools, a historicized analysis of the character and qualities of place, born from the organization of the site, are identifiable. The results demonstrate how devotees moved through a network of distinct nodes of shrines, temples, and gateways. Each node possessed a unique relationship to microtopographic features of the hill, and to the earliest deities of the site that originally anchored and oriented the sacred space: Pampa and Bhairava. The pilgrimage space that developed between these two deities was tied together through a path of movement, running south to north. Trends of re-ordering the Pampa tirtha spatial network also reveal patron and artisan mechanisms to privilege and prioritize the 12th-century addition of the god Virupaksha into the sacred space.
Top-cited authors
Arndt Büssing
  • Universität Witten/Herdecke
Harold Koenig
  • Duke University Medical Center
Margaret Feuille Bockrath
  • Bowling Green State University
Stefan Huber
  • Universität Bern
John W. Fisher
  • Federation University Australia