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  • Puritan Lecturers and Anglican Clergymen during the Early Years of the English Civil Wars

    Youngkwon Chung (MDPI AG, 2021-01-01)
    During the early years of the Civil Wars in England, from February 1642 to July 1643, Puritan parishioners in conjunction with the parliament in London set up approximately 150 divines as weekly preachers, or lecturers, in the city and the provinces. This was an exceptional activity surrounding lectureships including the high number of lecturer appointments made over the relatively brief space of time, especially considering the urgent necessity of making preparations for the looming war and fighting it as well. By examining a range of sources, this article seeks to demonstrate that the Puritan MPs and peers, in cooperation with their supporters from across the country, tactically employed the institutional device of weekly preaching, or lectureships, to neutralize the influence of Anglican clergymen perceived as royalists dissatisfied with the parliamentarian cause, and to bolster Puritan and pro-parliamentarian preaching during the critical years of 1642–1643. If successfully employed, the device of weekly lectureships would have significantly widened the base of support for the parliament during this crucial period when people began to take sides, prepared for war, and fought its first battles. Such a program of lectureships, no doubt, contributed to the increasing polarization of the religious and political climate of the country. More broadly, this study seeks to add to our understanding of an early phase of the conflict that eventually embroiled the entire British Isles in a decade of gruesome internecine warfare.
  • Holiness and <i>Imitatio Dei</i>: A Jewish Perspective on the Sanctity of Teaching and Learning

    Isaac Calvert (MDPI AG, 2021-01-01)
    Research in Jewish studies as well as key passages from Judaism’s sacred texts describe teaching and learning as being among the most important, efficacious and sacred of God’s commandments. However, while this description is well-documented, the specific dynamics of education’s role within a framework of Judaic holiness remains underexplored. This article first lays a thorough foundation of Judaic sanctity, illustrating a theistic axiom at its core surrounded by several peripheral elements, including connection to God, knowledge of God, holiness as invitation, reciprocal holiness, awakening sacred potentiality and, as the purpose and apex of the entire system, <i>imitatio dei.</i> Having illustrated <i>imitatio dei</i> as a culminating purpose atop the entire system of Judaic holiness, I describe how teaching and learning as prescribed in sacred Jewish texts can be a potent means of achieving this end. Considering that teaching and learning are called <i>kaneged kulam,</i> or equal to all the other commandments of Judaism combined, I argue that education conducted in sacred ways prescribed by Jewish scripture can be considered among Judaism’s most sacred commandments, as well as a most efficacious means of realizing <i>imitatio dei</i> within a Jewish frame.
  • Funeral for a Homeless Vagrant? Religious and Social Margins

    Lucy Bregman (MDPI AG, 2021-01-01)
    A “homeless vagrant” was the term used by Protestant clergy of the first half of the twentieth century for a man without name, family or history who died on the street. Clergy were asked to perform a funeral for him, but as his religious status was unknown, his funeral posed a problem for them. How could one preach a hopeful Christian message, for one who may not have had faith in Christ? This paper uses pastors’ manuals and sermon collections to understand how this kind of “problem funeral” was interpreted as an example of a marginal death both religiously and socially. Although there were no mourners, the purpose of the funeral was worship of God, who was always ready to receive us. The homeless vagrant’s funeral was also an occasion for reproach, against the anonymity, impersonality and moral danger of urban life. The homeless vagrant’s extreme isolation and abandonment made him a warning to all. The paper closes with the contrast between this view of death on the street, and that conveyed in recent Homeless Persons Memorial Day services, organized by activists for the homeless. The latter see the homeless as persons with names and stories, part of a counter-community in cities. The tone of reproach is much more prominent here, too. Society has failed these people.
  • Lighting Candles in the Darkness: An Exploration of Commemorative Acts with British Teenagers at the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum

    Alasdair Richardson (MDPI AG, 2021-01-01)
    Every year around 3000 British school pupils and teachers visit the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum as participants on a Lessons from Auschwitz Project organized by the Holocaust Educational Trust. Each visit ends with a memorial ceremony held at the end of the railway tracks at Birkenau. This article analyses interview and survey data from participating students and educators to explore their experiences of these ceremonies. The research findings indicate that the context and content of the ceremony are significant for both groups, with a general consensus that the ceremony is an important and appropriate way to end the day visit to Poland and the museum. The students’ responses also particularly raise issues around their emotional engagement with the ceremony and the impact it had on them in this way. In conclusion, this article suggests how similar reflective spaces might be created in other educational contexts at similar sites of memory.
  • Constructing and Contesting the Shrine: Tourist Performances at Seimei Shrine, Kyoto

    Mia Tillonen (MDPI AG, 2021-12-01)
    Japanese Shinto shrines are popular pilgrimage sites not only for religious reasons, but also because of their connections to popular culture. This study discusses how tourism is involved in the construction of the shrine space by focusing on the material environment of the shrine, visitor performances, and how the shrine is contested by different actors. The subject of the study, Seimei Shrine, is a shrine dedicated to the legendary figure Abe no Seimei (921–1005), who is frequently featured in popular culture. Originally a local shrine, Seimei Shrine became a tourist attraction for fans of the novel series Onmyōji (1986–) and the movie adaptation (2001). Since then, the shrine has branded itself by placing themed statues, which realize the legend of Abe no Seimei in material form, while also attracting religious and touristic practices. On the other hand, visitors also bring new meanings to the shrine and its objects. They understand the shrine through different kinds of interactions with the objects, through performances such as touching and remembering. However, the material objects, their interpretation and performances are also an arena of conflict and contestation, as different actors become involved through tourism. This case study shows how religion and tourism are intertwined in the late-modern consumer society, which affects both the ways in which the shrine presents and reinvents itself, as well as how visitors understand and perform within the shrine.