Who Will Tame the Giants? An Investigation of Principalities and Powers in the Digital Age

Article by Lars Öberg in Scandinavian Journal for Leadership & Theology.

Abstract: This article investigates tech giants such as Google, Facebook, and Twitter in the light of the Pauline concepts of principalities and powers. It is argued that as people subjugate themselves to the digital frameworks of these modern giants, the way they perceive and interact with the world changes. The tech giants, similarly to the giants of mythology, constitute the very “place” where we, as users of the internet, are standing. The study argues that individuals who live their lives according to the frameworks of these modern-day principalities become participating members of the giants’ bodies and are thus influenced by their telos. As people increasingly access the world through these placeless platforms, and thereby giving sustenance to the principalities’ hollow bodies, their own existence becomes more and more disembodied. As modernity recedes, this kind of excarnation seems to have an accelerating effect on the shift in people’s worldview. The world which is formed by the tech giants’ frameworks is found to be less embodied and quite polytheistic. In a final discussion whether it is possible to exorcise or redeem these online principalities and powers the concept of egregore, or shared thought-form, is introduced. It is described how online activists try to manipulate these egregores through the reshaping of viral narratives by means of so-called “meme-magic”. It is concluded, however, that any attempt by the church to exorcise the demonic egregores on their home turf seem to necessitate a participation in the tech giants’ hollow bodies, which in turn might result in a sort of excarnation. A word of warning is therefore given against over-estimating one’s capacity to tame the tech giants through any form of social exorcism or political action.

The Spirit of Modernity and its Fate

Article by Ragnar Misje Bergem in Modern Theology.

This article presents an interpretation of the rise of theological genealogies as a response to the sense in modern theology that modernity is a fate. It suggests that theologians began to write genealogies to ease this sense that modernity is an inescapable condition. While it recognises that some of these genealogies have been partly successful in this endeavour, it also points out how a number of genealogies repeat some of the problematics they sought to escape. Finally, it provides some rudimentary reflections on how a theological engagement with history might be done better.

The Realisation of I-we

Article by Andreas Masvie in The Heythrop Journal.


Ever since Plato, a tragic conception of the human self has been the point de depart of moral and political philosophy: the I and the we belong to one another yet oppose each other. Ancients such as Aristotle contended that the we is ontologically prior and moderns such as Hobbes that the I is ontologically prior. I make the case that Jesus Christ realised an ontology which collapses this dichotomy: the human self is neither I nor we, but fundamentally I-we. I demonstrate that this is an ontology of gift-dynamics, made explicit in the mythical complex of the cult centring on Jesus Christ, and engraved unto this cult’s heart through ritual.

Religious pluralism and the challenge of relativism

Article by Catherine Cornille in Studia Theologica

This article deals with the various challenges of relativism when engaging with the reality of religious diversity in teaching and research. The richness of the teachings and practices of various religious traditions, combined with an acute awareness of the contingency of one’s own religious identity have made it more than ever difficult to argue for the importance or relevance of commitment to a particular religious tradition. I argue that an open and honest engagement with other religious traditions from a confessional perspective offers the most promising alternative to either a classical theological engagement with the resources of only one religious tradition on the one hand, or a neutral comparison of religions on the other. The field of comparative theology offers such middle ground which allows for a genuine openness toward other religious traditions while remaining grounded in the normative teachings of a particular religion. This field offers new approaches to both teaching and research in the area of religious diversity.

They are humans and our fellow citizens!

Article by Merethe Roos in Studia Theologica.

They are humans and our fellow citizens! Protestant theology and Jews in the Danish Enlightenment: examples from Balthasar Münter’s sermons

This article thematizes how Jews are portrayed in the Danish theologian Balthasar Münter’s sermons. Münter served as a preacher in German St. Petri congregation in Copenhagen between 1765 and 1793, and left a great number of texts to posterity. Previous scholarship has argued that in one of his sermons, Münter seems to take a more positive view of the Jews than what was common in his day. This sermon was used to defend the rights of Jews in the Jewish Literary Feud in 1813. However, in this article I will argue that Münter’s positive attitude is shaped by his theological views and can be seen as a consequence of certain characteristics of enlightenment theology, rather than a genuine expression of tolerance towards religious minorities. In the article, I will argue that Münter demonstrated the same antisemitic attitudes that characterize the texts of his contemporaries, such as the well-known court preacher Christian Bastholm. Bastholm, who wrote a three-volume work on the Jews and who mentioned the Jews and Judaism in a number of contexts, refers to the Jews as an evil people who killed their prophets and stoned their sages. Nevertheless, Münter’s openness points to fundamental characteristics of protestant theology.

Christian theology as comparative theology: Towards a radical change of “Method”

Editorial article by Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen.


This essay makes a recommendation for an expansion in the approach and “method” of Christian theology: it proposes Christian theology as comparative theology. In the religiously pluralistic world, it is not sufficient merely to engage other faith traditions as an “auxiliary task.” Rather, the comparative task should belong to the “normal” way of doing “basic” Christian theological work. While Christian theology is not subsumed under comparative theology, as it were, the essay argues that without the comparative task, Christian theology may fail its calling in the third millennium.

Kristendom og politikk i Skandinavia på 1800-talet

Article by Morten Øveraas in Teologisk tidsskrift

Kristendom og politikk i Skandinavia på 1800-talet – nokre historiografiske utfordringar, tendensar og politisk-teologiske refleksjonar

Christianity and politics in Scandinavia in the nineteenth century – some historiographical challenges, tendencies, and political-theological reflections

The article presents and discusses some historiographical challenges, tendencies, and political-theological reflections on the relationship between Christianity and politics in Scandinavia in the nineteenth century. How should rational science understand and describe actors with beliefs in metaphysical phenomena? The article reviews the state of the art in considering this problem and the following matters: 1) How Lutheran Christianity influenced the political cultures in Scandinavia; 2) The impact of priests, the Bible, and religious minorities. I suggest that persistent and indistinct intersections between politics and theology must be included and analysed as a potential explanatory factor in historiographical and social research. Political-theological actions should be understood on their own terms but be examined on rational-scientific grounds to formulate empirically grounded theories.

Religiøs erfaring eller erfaring ved hjelp av religion?

Article by Jan-Olav Henriksen in Teologisk tidsskrift.

Religiøs erfaring eller erfaring ved hjelp av religion? Refleksjoner med utgangspunkt i Schleiermacher og Hegel

Religious experience or Experiences with/by religion?
Reflections on Scheleiermacher and Hegel

The question of how to understand religious experience and its conditions are discussed via an analysis of basic elements in the positions of Schleiermacher and Hegel. Moving from an initial presentation of basic elements in abductive reasoning, it is argued that such reasoning is inherent in both Schleiermacher and Hegelʼs positions. From some supplementary perspectives in Ann Tavesʼs recent work on the topic, the argument moves to the conclusion that the abductive mode makes it problematic to argue for an understanding of religion sui generis, and suggests a way to nuance how to understand diverse experiences of religion.

Ole Hallesby og fascismen

Article by Hans Bringeland in Teologisk tidsskrift.

The first part discusses Professor Ole Hallesbyʼs view of society and his political stance in the interwar period. The second part is an inquiry into his relations with the German Sicherheitsdienst (SD) and with the SS officer Wilhelm Wagner during the war. In particular, the article will test Arvid Nærøʼs assertions that in the 1930s Hallesby presents himself as a pro-fascist ideologue with racist and antisemitic views and that during the occupation he establishes a secret mutual understanding with Wagner/SD under which the Church should ignore the persecution of the Jews in exchange for its own freedom.

Cosmopolitical Spiritualities of Deep Time: Reading J.G. Ballard’s Mystical Impulse

Article by Simone Kotva in  Worldviews: Global Religions, Culture, and Ecology.

This article considers J. G. Ballard’s account of deep time in The Drowned World (1962) from a religious perspective. I situate Ballard’s account of deep time in the context of Mircea Eliade’s influential work on the “Real Time” of ecstasy—a time in which humans recognize their indistinctness from the animal and undergo an experience of self-annihilation. But Eliade’s is not the only interpretation of ecstatic temporality that is relevant to Drowned World. I argue that Ballard also narrates a constructive response to deep time that issues not in self-annihilation but in communal action and group living. It is in order to parse this aspect of Ballard’s account of deep time that I turn, in the final part of the article, to consider Drowned World as an anticipation also of more recent, cosmopolitical approaches to ecstatic temporalities by theologians, anthropologists and philosophers.