• Habermas and Religious Communication: The Insufficiency of the Translation Proviso

      Lars Rhodin (MDPI AG, 2017-10-01)
      Much has been debated and written about the translation proviso, its implications, and its rationality. At its core, it is about communication and a transition in religious communication that means it can become secularly engaged. This paper argues that the theory of the translation proviso is insufficient to accommodate religious communication and, in order to support the arguments made, considers associated aspects of the work of Habermas, such as solidarity, tolerance and universalism, as well, of course, as communication. Considerations in this wider context lead to a growing awareness that the translation proviso and its prescriptive tendencies may be seen as being an ominous contradiction of much of the other work of Habermas and that, far from being postmetaphysical and postmodern, it may have elements of being a ‘big idea’.
    • Habermas, Taylor, and Connolly on Secularism, Pluralism, and the Post-Secular Public Sphere

      Spyridon Kaltsas (MDPI AG, 2019-08-01)
      The main purpose of this paper is to explore and understand the relationships between secularism, pluralism, and the post-secular public sphere in the thought of Jürgen Habermas, Charles Taylor, and William Connolly. The three authors develop a thorough critique of secularism which implies a radical break with the dogmatic idea of removing religion from the public sphere. My main objective is to show that this critique is related to a normative understanding of our post-secular situation and requires a rethinking of the boundaries of the public sphere in relation to the predicament of pluralism. Arguing against the post-metaphysical conception of secularism, Taylor develops a critique of Habermas’s “institutional translation proviso”, and Connolly stresses the agonistic dimension of the post-secular public sphere. I take these criticisms into account, while arguing that Taylor and Connolly are unable to provide a sound basis for the legitimacy of our institutional settings. In contrast to Taylor and Connolly, I propose a reading of Habermas’s theory based on the internal relationship between universal justification and the everyday contexts of pre-political solidarity. I conclude with a focus on the need to take into account the agonistic dimension of the post-secular public sphere.
    • Hagiography as Source: Gender and Conversion Narratives in <i>The Book of the Saints of the Ethiopian Church</i>

      Anna Redhair Wells (MDPI AG, 2020-06-01)
      Drawing on the work of Jeanne-Nicole Mellon Saint-Laurent, this essay proposes utilizing hagiographies from the <i>The Book of the Saints of the Ethiopian Church</i>, a fifteenth-century Ethiopian collection of saints’ lives, to explore various aspects of conversion. Other scholars employ a similar approach when analyzing hagiographical literature found in medieval Europe. While acknowledging that these texts do not provide details about the historical experience of conversion, they can assist scholars in understanding the conception of conversion in the imagination of the culture that created them. This essay specifically focuses on the role of women in conversion throughout the text and argues that, although men and women were almost equally represented as agents of conversion, a closer examination reveals that their participation remained gendered. Women more frequently converted someone with whom they had a prior relationship, especially a member of their familial network. Significantly, these observations mirror the patterns uncovered by contemporary scholars such as Dana Robert, who notes how women contributed to the spread of Christianity primarily through human relationships. By integrating these representations of conversion from late medieval Ethiopia, scholarship will gain a more robust picture of conversion in Africa more broadly and widen its understanding of world Christianity.
    • Haiti’s Pact with the Devil?: <i>Bwa Kayiman,</i> Haitian Protestant Views of Vodou, and the Future of Haiti

      Bertin M. Louis Jr. (MDPI AG, 2019-08-01)
      This essay uses ethnographic research conducted among Haitian Protestants in the Bahamas in 2005 and 2012 plus internet resources to document the belief among Haitian Protestants (Haitians who practice Protestant forms of Christianity) that Haiti supposedly made a pact with the Devil (Satan) as the result of <i>Bwa Kayiman,</i> a Vodou ceremony that launched the Haitian Revolution (1791−1803). Vodou is the syncretized religion indigenous to Haiti. I argue that this interpretation of <i>Bwa Kayiman</i> is an extension of the negative effects of the globalization of American Fundamentalist Christianity in Haiti and, by extension, peoples of African descent and the Global South.
    • Haiti’s Pact with the Devil?: Bwa Kayiman, Haitian Protestant Views of Vodou, and the Future of Haiti

      Bertin M. Louis Jr. (MDPI AG, 2019-08-01)
      This essay uses ethnographic research conducted among Haitian Protestants in the Bahamas in 2005 and 2012 plus internet resources to document the belief among Haitian Protestants (Haitians who practice Protestant forms of Christianity) that Haiti supposedly made a pact with the Devil (Satan) as the result of Bwa Kayiman, a Vodou ceremony that launched the Haitian Revolution (1791–1803). Vodou is the syncretized religion indigenous to Haiti. I argue that this interpretation of Bwa Kayiman is an extension of the negative effects of the globalization of American Fundamentalist Christianity in Haiti and, by extension, peoples of African descent and the Global South.
    • Hallowed Haunts: The National African American Museum as Sacred Space

      Richard Newton (MDPI AG, 2020-12-01)
      This paper uses Stephen Best’s <i>None Like Us</i> and Charles H. Long’s <i>Significations: Signs, Symbols, and Images in the Interpretation of Religion</i> to redescribe the notion of sacred space in light of the national African American museum. After highlighting religion and the museum’s mutual Romantic origins, it underscores the invisible institution of slave religion as a modern counterpoint that is harrowingly evocative of the indeterminacy of human meaning-making. The national African American museum, represented by offerings from the Smithsonian Institution and the Equal Justice Initiative, operates as a social technology for working through the tensions of history. “Hallowed Haunts” examines its function as a matrix of haunting, where a variety of multi-sensory experiences lead visitors into a participatory reckoning with the legacy of slavery, one through which they determine how to face the challenges and potential opportunities that await them. As such, the national African American museum exemplifies Long’s thesis of sacred space as human centers, a metonym for the places humans visit for orientation.
    • Ham Sok Hon, a Pioneer of Korean Cosmopolitanism

      Song-Chong Lee (MDPI AG, 2020-06-01)
      This paper discusses an aspect of Ham Sok Hon’s philosophy, which the author argues would reflect, and contribute to enriching, the theory of cosmopolitanism. Ham was arguably one of the 20th century’s most influential, yet controversial, thinkers and political activists—particularly in the progressive movement of modern Korea. The author revisits his philosophy of <i>ssial</i>/<i>saengmyŏng</i> to find a more persuasive metaphysical ground to draw an enlarged and deepened sense of community than that of dominant cosmopolitan theories. To properly place his philosophy within the larger discussion of cosmopolitanism and highlight its uniqueness, the author presents a brief overview of major cosmopolitan theories first, along with their shortcomings, and then constructs Ham’s cosmopolitan vision by focusing on three specific insights: (1) <i>ssial/saengmyŏng</i> (씨알/生命, life) as the agent, (2) religion and politics for <i>ipch’ejŏk in’gan</i> (立體的人間 the multi-dimensional human), and (3) narrative and memory as the driving force of cosmopolitanism.
    • Hamlet the Heretic: The Prince’s Albigensian Rhetoric

      Benjamin Lockerd (MDPI AG, 2018-12-01)
      Some of Hamlet’s speeches reflect a dualistic view of the world and of humanity, echoing in particular some of the heretical beliefs of the Albigensians in southern France some centuries earlier. The Albigensians thought that the evil deity created the human body as a trap for the souls created by the good god, and Hamlet repeatedly expresses disgust with the body, a “quintessence of dust” (II.ii.304–305). Because they regarded the body as a soul trap, the Albigensians believed that marriage and procreation should be avoided. “Why wouldst thou be a breeder of sinners?” Hamlet demands of Ophelia, adding that “it were better my mother had not borne me” (III.i.121–24). He sounds most like a heretic when he goes on to say “we will have no more marriage” (III.i.147). Though Hamlet continues with dualistic talk nearly to the end, there is some turning toward orthodox Christianity.
    • Hamlet’s Religions

      Peter Iver Kaufman (MDPI AG, 2011-09-01)
      Pastoral challenges prompted pietists among Elizabethan Catholics and Calvinists to commend what historians now call an inward turn whereby the faithful, in a sense, become their own confessors. This article suggests that spiritual exercises or soliloquies Shakespeare scripted for his Hamlet (and, less so, for Angelo in Measure for Measure) compare favorably with the devotional literature that underscored the importance of self-analysis, intra-psychic conflict, and contrition. The argument here is not that the playwright’s piety resembled his Hamlet’s but that the latter reflected efforts to structure desire in the religions of the time struggling for survival and recognition. References to passages in Shakespeare plays (act, scene) appear parenthetically in the text. Unless otherwise indicated in the bibliography appended to this article, all early printed material is accessible at the Early English Books database, http://eebo.chadwyck.com/home, verified June 1, 2011.
    • Han and/as <i>Ressentiment</i>: Lessons from Minjung Theology

      Sam Han (MDPI AG, 2021-01-01)
      Following calls in recent critical debates in English-language Korean studies to reevaluate the cultural concept of <i>han</i> (often translated as “resentment”), this article argues for its reconsideration from the vantage point of <i>minjung</i> theology, a theological perspective that emerged in South Korea in the 1970s, which has been dubbed the Korean version of “liberation theology”. Like its Latin American counterpart, <i>minjung</i> theology understood itself in explicitly political terms, seeking to reinvigorate debates around the question of theodicy—the problem of suffering vis-à-vis the existence of a divine being or order. Studying some of the ways in which <i>minjung</i> theologians connected the concept of <i>han</i> to matters of suffering, this article argues, offers an opening towards a redirection from <i>han</i>’s dominant understanding within academic discourse and public culture as a special and unique racial essence of Korean people. Moreover, by putting <i>minjung</i> theology in conversation with contemporary political theory, in particular the works of Wendy Brown and Lauren Berlant, this article hopes to bring <i>minjung</i> theology to the attention of critical theory.
    • Hardwar: Spirit, Place, and Politics

      Vikash Singh; Sangeeta Parashar (MDPI AG, 2019-02-01)
      This article describes the narratives and projections that shaped the contested character of Hardwar and the river Ganges as symbols <i>par excellence</i> of the Hindus’ claim to India’s sacred geography over the last two hundred years. It deliberates on the tactics and practices through which Hardwar’s ancient and legendary status has been employed to assert Hindu identity and territorial claims <i>vis-à-vis</i> the colonial administrators, but also to exclude the country’s Muslim and Christian populace. The purifying, divine land of Hardwar enabled the nationalist imagination and struggle for a Hindu India, even as it was instituted as a site for the internal purification of Hinduism itself, to mirror its glorious past. The article describes the contests and claims, based on religion and class, as well as the performance of socio-economic and existential anxieties that the sacred quality of Hardwar and the river Ganges continues to authorize and enable in post-colonial India. For this, we draw particularly on the Kanwar Mela, an annual event in which millions of mostly poor young men carry water from the river Ganges on foot, and often over long distances. We deliberate on the significance of the sacred water, rituals, and the journey in reinforcing these pilgrims’ perceptions of the self, and their moral claims over the nation and its territory.
    • Has Multiculturalism Really Failed? A Canadian Muslim Perspective

      Baljit Nagra; Ito Peng (MDPI AG, 2013-12-01)
      In recent years, claims that multiculturalism has created segregated communities, encouraged terrorism, and failed to foster shared national identities in western nations have gained popularity. In this paper, we use young Canadian Muslims’ lived experience of multiculturalism to reflect on this debate. Contrary to popular rhetoric, our interviews of 50 young Muslim adults show that many maintain a dual Canadian-Muslim identity by utilizing the ideology of multiculturalism, even though they are increasingly stigmatized for their religion. These findings lead us to problematize the discourse surrounding the ‘failure’ of multiculturalism and to highlight the contradictions within it.
    • Hasidic Myth-Activism: Martin Buber’s Theopolitical Revision of Volkish Nationalism

      Yemima Hadad (MDPI AG, 2019-02-01)
      Since the 1970s, Buber has often been suspected of being a Volkish thinker. This essay reconsiders the affinity of Buber’s late writings with Volkish ideology. It examines the allegations against Buber’s Volkish thought in light of his later biblical and Hasidic writings. By illuminating the ideological affinity between these two modes of thought, the essay explains how Buber aims to depart from the dangers of myth without rejecting myth as such. I argue that Buber’s relationship to myth can help us to explain his critique of nationalism. My basic argument is that in his struggle with hyper-nationalism, Buber follows the Baal Shem Tov and his struggle against Sabbateanism. Like the Besht, Buber does not reject myth, but seeks instead to repair it from within. Whereas hyper-nationalism uses myth to advance its political goals, Buber seeks to reposition ethics within a mythic framework. I view Buber’s exegesis and commentaries on biblical and Hasidic myths as <i>myth-activism</i>.
    • Hate in a Tweet: Exploring Internet-Based Islamophobic Discourses

      Giulia Evolvi (MDPI AG, 2018-10-01)
      Islamophobia is the unfounded hostility against Muslims. While anti-Muslim feelings have been explored from many perspectives and in different settings, Internet-based Islamophobia remains under-researched. What are the characteristics of online Islamophobia? What are the differences (if any) between online and offline anti-Muslim narratives? This article seeks to answer these questions through a qualitative analysis of tweets written in the aftermath of the 2016 British referendum on European Union membership (also known as “Brexit”), which was followed by a surge of Islamophobic episodes. The analysis of the tweets suggests that online Islamophobia largely enhances offline anti-Islam discourses, involving narratives that frame Muslims as violent, backward, and unable to adapt to Western values. Islamophobic tweets also have some peculiar characteristics: they foster global networks, contain messages written by so-called “trolls” and “bots,” and contribute to the spreading of “fake news.” The article suggests that, in order to counteract online Islamophobia, it is important to take into account the networked connections among social media, news media platforms, and offline spaces.
    • Haunted Encounters: Exile and Holocaust Literature in German and Austrian Post-war Culture

      Birgit Lang (MDPI AG, 2012-05-01)
      In an essay titled ‘The Exiled Tongue’ (2002), Nobel Prize winner Imre Kertész develops a genealogy of Holocaust and émigré writing, in which the German language plays an important, albeit contradictory, role. While the German language signified intellectual independence and freedom of self-definition (against one’s roots) for Kertész before the Holocaust, he notes (based on his engagement with fellow writer Jean Améry) that writing in German created severe difficulties in the post-war era. Using the examples of Hilde Spiel and Friedrich Torberg, this article explores this notion and asks how the loss of language experienced by Holocaust survivors impacted on these two Austrian-Jewish writers. The article argues that, while the works of Spiel and Torberg are haunted by the Shoah, the two writers do not write in the post-Auschwitz language that Kertész delineates in his essays, but are instead shaped by the exile experience of both writers. At the same time though, Kertész’ concept seems to be haunted by exile, as his reception of Jean Améry’s works, which form the basis of his linguistic genealogies, shows an inability to integrate the experience of exile.
    • Have Christian Colleges and Universities Become More Inclusive of LGBTQ Students Since <i>Obergefell v. Hodges</i>?

      Jonathan S. Coley (MDPI AG, 2020-09-01)
      Due to rapid changes in societal attitudes toward LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer) people, as well as the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2015 decision <i>Obergefell v. Hodges</i> legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide, Christian colleges and universities are experiencing more pressure to become inclusive of LGBTQ students. This article draws on U.S. Department of Education data on all four-year, not-for-profit Christian colleges and universities, as well as an original longitudinal dataset of LGBTQ student groups across Christian colleges and universities, to describe the landscape of LGBTQ student inclusion on Christian campuses before and after <i>Obergefell v. Hodges</i>. In 2013, two years before the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage, just under half (45%) of Christian colleges and universities had LGBTQ student groups. However, the U.S. Supreme Court’s <i>Obergefell</i> decision has evidently had little effect on holdouts: in 2019, the percentage of Christian colleges and universities that were home to LGBTQ student groups was only slightly higher (47%). Logistic regression analyses reveal that Christian colleges and universities that have recently become home to LGBTQ student groups were already predisposed to having LGBTQ groups in the first place, given that they are associated with social justice-minded denominations, have large student bodies, and have higher percentages of women students. The article’s findings hold implications for ongoing research on the status of LGBTQ people within Christian institutions.
    • "He died as he lived": Biopolitical mediatization in the death of David Goodall

      Sam Han (MDPI AG, 2019-10-01)
      <i> </i>This article explores the nexus of biopolitics, mediatization and secularization, drawing out their relationship as it pertains to matters of assisted dying and euthanasia. In particular, it examines the dynamics of the media coverage of a highly-publicized case of euthanasia, namely, that of scientist David Goodall, based in Perth, Australia, who flew to Switzerland in May 2018 to end his own life at the age of 104. Focusing on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s coverage, the article keys in on the theme of embodiment, discussing it within recent developments in social theory on the “secular body” and pain, suggesting that the mediatization of his death facilitated and structured an “environment” for staging and negotiating issues of biopolitical import. It then contextualizes this analysis within broader discussions on biopolitics and secularity.
    • “He died as he lived”: Biopolitical Mediatization in the Death of David Goodall

      Sam Han (MDPI AG, 2019-10-01)
      This article explores the nexus of biopolitics, mediatization and secularization, drawing out their relationship as it pertains to matters of assisted dying and euthanasia. In particular, it examines the dynamics of the media coverage of a highly-publicized case of euthanasia, namely, that of scientist David Goodall, based in Perth, Australia, who flew to Switzerland in May 2018 to end his own life at the age of 104. Focusing on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s coverage, the article keys in on the theme of embodiment, discussing it within recent developments in social theory on the “secular body” and pain, suggesting that the mediatization of his death facilitated and structured an “environment” for staging and negotiating issues of biopolitical import. It then contextualizes this analysis within broader discussions on biopolitics and secularity.
    • “He Who Enters the Bath-House Utters Two Blessings”: On the Evolvement and Decline of an Ancient Jewish Prayer

      Abraham Ofir Shemesh (MDPI AG, 2017-10-01)
      One of the improvements introduced by the Romans was the public bath-house. This article discusses the formation of Jewish prayers, which were composed during the early rabbinic period, following the dangers of the public baths. Sages from late antiquity published two prayers: Before entering to the bathhouse, the bather has to pray for his safety, and after leaving the bath-house he has to thank Gd for not having suffered harm. The dangers of the bathhouse were deemed to include: Weakness, fainting or dehydration due to the heat of the bathhouse; Legs injury of the bathers due to the heat of the warm floor; Dental damage; Sliding on the wet floor; Fear of death due to collapse of the hypocaust. Due to changes in the bath-house in the modern era; these prayers lost their relevance up to a point; or at any rate; they were no longer prescribed or recorded in practice. Bathhouse heaters were no longer located in the hypocaust; and were rather only located close to the wall of the upper room. Hence; falling into the hot lower space was irrelevant. Following the introduction of domestic baths; these prayers have completely vanished.
    • “He Who Sees Does Not Desire to Imagine”: The Shifting Role of Art and Aesthetic Observation in Medieval Franciscan Theological Discourse in the Fourteenth Century

      Oleg Bychkov (MDPI AG, 2019-03-01)
      In the thirteenth century, following Neoplatonic and Patristic trends, art and aesthetic experience were still treated as symbolic, as “vestiges” or “echoes” of the divine that lead us to it. However, in the early fourteenth century, attitudes to concrete sensory/aesthetic experience begin to shift and theologians adopted the model of concrete phenomenal observation of sensory experience. Concrete sensory-aesthetic experience is endowed with a much higher value: seeing something is not the same as imagining it, recalling it, or thinking about it. This new approach results in some heterodox views about our phenomenal experience and debates about the exact status of “intentional” (phenomenal) appearance. These debates lead to profound observations about the nature of aesthetic-sensory experience of art objects and a re-evaluation of the status of the artistic image, which is now seen as much more than the platonic “copy of a copy”. In other words, starting with the fourteenth century, theologians start to pay attention to concrete aesthetic (sensory) experience and use their observations to make conclusions about various cognitive and perceptual issues that could be relevant to a discussion of the divine. That is, quite separately from theoretical theological observations, art and aesthetic experience now provide independent approaches to the divine or spiritual via the experience of aesthetic wonder as a starting point. It is now our concrete experience of sensory and aesthetic objects that starts the train of thought, at times leading to some unorthodox conclusions that contradict the doctrine (such as the skeptical point of view). The intellectual shift in treating sensory and artistic objects in the fourteenth century invites some parallels with the current discussions of the experience of aesthetic wonder in “post-secular” thought.