Saints in public Holy lives and the function of theological speech in the political theology of Rowan Williams

Article by Patrik Hagman in Studia Theologica.

This article explores the way Rowan Williams understands saints as theo-politically significant. By surveying a number of key texts by Williams in different genres, the author argues that the saints for Williams are highly important for his political theology. For him, the saints make a political theology possible, since they witness to the world as rooted in Gods will. This, in turn, is significant for understanding how theological language works, since it goes beyond the limits of “realistic” discourse, bound by a certain secular understanding of the way the world “is”. The significance of this feature of theological language is demonstrated by discussing texts by Martin Hägglund and Theo Hobson.

Islamsk rettstradisjon i europeisk lovgjeving: Sicilia, England, Kastilja og Noreg

Article by Torbjørn Kalberg in Kirke og kultur.

I vestleg idéhistorie har ein ikkje brydd seg stort om å drøfte islamsk påverknad på kristen europeisk kulturutvikling. Islam hadde nok ein viss påverknad når det galdt arkitektur og språk, og kan hende når det galdt formidling av gresk filosofi, arabarane hadde jo tilgang til dei klassiske skriftene før dei vart kjende i europeiske kjerneområde. Men når det gjeld lov og rett har tonen vore avvisande. Berre kristentrua skapte eit juridisk system med fridom for den einskilde. Den europeiske rettsstaten var noko eineståande, eit førebilete for alle andre kulturar. Dette synet er ikkje lenger einerådande. Forskarar viser no til samband mellom tidlege uttrykk for samlande lovgjeving i europeiske statar og den islamske rettshistoria.

Bolsonaro og hans evangelikale støttespillere i Brasil: Sekularisme under nytt press?

Article by Ole Jakob Løland & Yuri Kasahara in Kirke og Kultur.

Evangelical Christians have been a growing political force in Latin America. In Brazil, particularly, the election of the rightwing candidate Jair Bolsonaro as president in 2018 made the political relevance of evangelical Christians clearer than ever. The support of evangelicals was a key element for Bolsonaro’s victory. His political debt is reflected in a rhetoric that emphasizes the importance of evangelical Christian values and this rhetoric often blurs the separation between the state and religion. In this article, we analyze the political impact of evangelical Christians in Brazil and discuss to what extent the alliance between this group and president Bolsonaro represents a threat to Brazil’s secularist tradition.

Med valget av Jair Messias Bolsonaro som Brasils president i 2018 ble de evangelikale kristne sin politiske makt i landet mer tydelig enn noen gang. For første gang hadde de mest profilerte protestantiske lederne omfavnet samme presidentkandidat. Det bidro til seier for høyrekandidaten Bolsonaro – som siden har basert seg på alliansen med dette nye kristne høyre i Latin-Amerikas største økonomi. Det er en allianse som setter landets sekularistiske tradisjon under press.

Whose Memory? Which Future?

New article by Jayne Svenungsson in Jan-Ivar Lindén (ed.), To Understand What is Happening: Essays on Historicity (Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2021), 115–127.

This paper was originally presented in conversation with Christoph Türcke and Bernhard Waldenfels as part of the event ‘The Future of Memory’, which took place in Helsinki in 2019. The paper offers a reflection on the theme against the backdrop of recent developments in memory politics, both in the Swedish context and more generally. Alluding to MacIntyre’s classical work Whose Justice? Which Rationality?, I argue that there is a close relation between memory politics and the ways in which we are able to conceive of the future. In other words, while MacIntyre argued that there is a correlation between ahistorical notions of rationality and poor conceptions of justice, I similarly contend that uniform constructions of the past tend to breed exclusory and potentially repressive visions of our future societies. An open and critical discussion of whose memory we tend to favour in our constructions of the past is therefore essential to our ability to conceive of the future in constructive and dynamic ways. It is also, I argue, essential for the future of memory itself as a critical element in any democratic society.

Ole Hallesbys politiske tenkning og samfunnskritikk i møte med nazismen

New article by Arvid Nærø in Teologisk tidsskrift

Professor Ole Hallesby held a central position in the Norwegian Church’s struggle for independence during the Nazi occupation of our country from 1940 to 1945. In this article his attitudes and actions as leader during the occupation will be related to his social criticism, which had been expressed since the early 1930s, among which was a theologically founded antisemitism. His close co-operation with the Nazi Sicherheitsdienst (SD) and SS Hauptsturmführer Wilhelm Wagner will be presented and documented. Ole Hallesby’s social criticism from this period is characterized by the frequent interconnection of political and theological views and arguments in his thinking and by a reciprocal justification of the two.

Med bønnens kraft: Et islamisk og kristent arabisk perspektiv på covid-19

Article by Ehab Galal in Tidsskrift for Islamforskning.

I de arabiske lande har covid-19, ligesom andre steder i verden, ført til restriktioner af den religiøse praksis, blandt andet i form af periodevis lukkede kirker og moskeer. Ligeledes har religiøse autoriteter med henvisning til religionen deltaget i debatten om covid-19’s betydning og håndtering. På denne baggrund analyseres i denne artikel, hvordan religiøse argumenter bekræfter henholdsvis udfordrer de arabiske staters håndtering af covid-19 i foråret 2020, og hvordan disse afspejler samspillet mellem stat og religion. Mens staterne gør brug af sundhedsvidenskabelig og sekulær argumentation, identificeres tre positioner blandt religiøse autoriteter: de, der støtter op om og med henvisning til religionen legitimerer staternes håndtering af covid-19; de, der finder alle svar i religionen og undgår at tale om politik; og de, der afviser og mistænkeliggør statens linje. Således afspejler debatten om håndtering af covid-19 i de arabiske lande gængse religiøse positioner i spørgsmålet om religionens rolle i samfundet.

Theology, Phenomenology and the Retrieval of Experience: A Homage to Peter Kemp

Article by Jayne Svenungsson in Eco-ethica, 9 (2020), 17–34. DOI: 10.5840/ecoethica20213830

This article engages in a re-reading of Peter Kemp’s 1973 dissertation Théorie de l’engagement with a view to exploring its persisting theological value. After briefly revisiting its main argument, I turn in the following section to a discussion of its way of relating phenomenology and theology in terms of short-comings as well as possibilities. In the concluding section, I bring together Kemp and the contemporary phenomenologist and philosopher Dorthe Jørgensen and offer a reflection on what theology could and should be and why I believe that it still has a significant role to play in academia as well as in the wider culture. In particular, I argue that phenomenological theology—with its long tradition of reflecting on mythopoetic language—is particularly well-suited to provide a cultural hermeneutics of relevance not only for practicing religious people but also for a broader audience in a culture that is still to a high degree immersed in biblical imagery.

The Emergence of I

Article by Andreas E. Masvie in Journal for Continental Philosophy of Religion.

Among the ancients, there was no proper conception of the I. Yet an I emerges in ancient Israel. I therefore inquire into the philosophical anthropology of ancient Israel. How did the I emerge? By interpreting the Song of Songs as political myth, from which a philosophical anthropology can be unearthed and reconstructed, I theorize that not only an I, but also a different kind of we emerged through gift-dynamics. Then I demonstrate that these gift-dynamics are compatible with the ancient Israelites’ religious-political institutions and manifest itself in their collective psyche.

Green Purpose: Teleology, Ecological Ethics, and the Recovery of Contemplation

Article by Andreas Nordlander in Studies in Christian Ethics.

According to one influential narrative, a significant root of our ecological crisis is to be found in the Christian appropriation of teleology, undergirding the anthropocentrism endemic to Western thought. This article challenges this argument in three steps. First, I present the Aristotelian understanding of teleology, which is intrinsic to living organisms, and which has been suggested as a resource for ecological ethics. Second, I argue that the rejection of intrinsic teleology in favour of an extrinsic teleology first occurs with modern philosophy, in tandem with a new pragmatic conception of knowledge. Third, I provide an alternative construal of the early Christian understanding of teleology, through the figure of Maximus the Confessor, arguing that his understanding of the contemplation of nature is a key resource to be recovered for ecological ethics. I end with a sketch of such a recovery, as articulated by Thomas Merton.

Gudstjeneste i antropocen? Økoteologi og liturgikk

Article by Carl Petter Opsahl in Tidsskrift for Praktisk Teologi.

How does liturgy cope with climate change and ecological crisis? By engaging ecotheological writings of Sallie McFague, Larry L. Rasmussen and Elizabeth A. Johnson, the article explores possible ways of understanding relations between humans, nature and God. While they are not writing explicitly on liturgy, they develop thinking of liturgical implications, such as cosmology, sacramentalism and liturgical expression. These themes are further developed liturgically in dialogue with the liturgical theologian Gordon W. Lathrop. As the era of Anthropocene as suggested by Paul J. Crutzen is still “terra incognita,” the article acknowledges the difficulties of liturgical response to an ecological crisis of unknown proportions. Thus, it allows for liturgical efforts to be clumsy, hesitant and experimental