• Paganism and Reform in Shakespeare’s Plays

      Grace Tiffany (MDPI AG, 2018-07-01)
      Shakespeare’s plays mix references to pagan and Christian symbols and ideas in ways which are only superficially contradictory. While the sometimes uneasy juxtaposition of classical and Christian religious thought is characteristic of Renaissance literature, there is, in Shakespeare’s use of paganism, a method to the madness. Shakespeare’s comedies and romances associate the worship of Diana with the Catholic ideal of religious celibacy, and ultimately repudiate the Diana figure or transform her into a “Christian” spokeswoman who encourages and facilitates marriage and child-bearing. In a late romance, The Winter’s Tale, the turn from Diana to self-sacrificial marriage is also made symbolic of a key character’s turn from Catholic-like works of ritual penitence to inward transformation by faith. Thus, Shakespeare’s plays represent pagan ritual in a way which supports the Calvinist religious tendencies of early-modern England.
    • Pain, Spirituality, and Meaning Making: What Can We Learn from the Literature?

      Amy B. Wachholtz; Carol J. Lysne (MDPI AG, 2010-12-01)
      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.
    • “Paltrie Vermin, Cats, Mise, Toads, and Weasils”: Witches, Familiars, and Human-Animal Interactions in the English Witch Trials

      Helen Parish (MDPI AG, 2019-02-01)
      This article explores the role played by the relationship between witch and familiar in the early modern witch trials. It positions animal familiars at the intersection of early modern belief in witchcraft and magic, examining demonologies, legal and trial records, and print pamphlets. Read together, these sources present a compelling account of human-animal interactions during the period of the witch trials, and shed light upon the complex beliefs that created the environment in which the image of the witch and her familiar took root. The animal familiar is positioned and discussed at the intersection of writing in history, anthropology, folklore, gender, engaging with the challenge articulated in this special issue to move away from mono-causal theories and explore connections between witchcraft, magic, and religion.
    • Pansacramentalism, Interreligious Theology, and Lived Religion

      Hans Gustafson (MDPI AG, 2019-06-01)
      Opening with a philosophical definition of sacrament(ality) as a mediator (mediation) of the sacred in the concrete world, this article offers pansacramentalism as a promising worldview—especially for those rooted in or emerging from the Christian traditions (since, for them, the language of sacramentality may have a stronger resonance)—for bringing together interreligious theology and data mined by Lived Religion approaches to the study of religion. After articulating the concept of pansacramentalism and emphasizing interreligious theology as an emerging model for doing theology, growing trends and changing sensibilities among young people’s religious and spiritual lives (e.g., the “Nones”) is considered insofar as such trends remain relevant for making contemporary theology accessible to the next generation. The article then considers the intersection of pansacramentalism and interreligious theology, especially the issue of determining sacramental authenticity. To explain how this challenge might be met, Abraham Heschel’s theology of theomorphism is offered as but one example as a nuanced means for determining sacramental authenticity of the sacred in the world. Turning to “Lived Religion” approaches, rationale is offered for why pansacramentalism and interreligious theology ought to be taken seriously in the contemporary world, especially considering recent data about the nature of contemporary religious identities among young people living in the West.
    • Paratexts Seeking Understanding: Manuscripts and Aesthetic Cognitivism

      Garrick V. Allen; Anthony P. Royle (MDPI AG, 2020-10-01)
      This article explores the relationship between manuscripts of ancient religious literature and aesthetic cognitivism, a normative theory of the value of art. Arguing that manuscripts both contain and constitute works of art, we explore paratextuality as a phenomenon that connects manuscript studies to both qualitative and quantitative sides of aesthetic cognitivism. Focusing on our work with a single unpublished gospel manuscript (Dublin, CBL W 139) in the context of a larger project called Paratextual Understanding, we make that case that paratexts have aesthetic functions that allow them to contribute to the knowledge yielded by the larger literary work of which they are a part. We suggest a number of avenues for further research that engages with material culture, non-typography, paratexts, and the arts.
    • Parent’s Just Don’t Understand: Parental Support, Religion and Depressive Symptoms among Same-Race and Interracial Relationships

      Andrea K. Henderson; Mia J. Brantley (MDPI AG, 2019-03-01)
      Research finds that individuals in interracial relationships have poorer mental health than those in same-race relationships. Family support, or lack thereof, may play an important role in explaining the psychological risks for such individuals. Growing attention has focused on the complex interplay between religion, health, and family life, particularly the stress-buffering role of religious involvement. However, little attention has been given to the possible mitigating effects of religion in the face of limited family support among same-race and interracial couples. Using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (Add Health), this study addresses two important questions: (1) Is weak family support associated with depressive symptoms among individuals in same-race and interracial relationships?; and (2) Does religious involvement buffer the association between weak family support and depressive symptoms for individuals engaged in these romantic ties? Results suggest that weak parental support is associated with depressive symptoms for individuals in both same-race and interracial relationships, however we find limited support of religion protecting against weak parental support for individuals in interracial unions. The results highlight the complex interplay between religion, health, and family in contemporary American life.
    • ‘Partakers of the Divine Nature’: Ripley’s Discourses and the Transcendental Annus Mirabilis

      David M. Robinson (MDPI AG, 2018-01-01)
      In declaring 1836 the “Annus Mirabilis” of Transcendentalism, Perry Miller captured the emerging vitality of a new religious movement, described by Convers Francis as “the spiritual philosophy”. Francis first listed George Ripley’s Discourses on the Philosophy of Religion (1836) as a sign of the new movement. Ripley’s book, strongly influenced by William Ellery Channing’s sermon “Likeness to God” (1828), captured the metamorphosis of Transcendentalism from its Unitarian theological roots, and sheds light on the Transcendentalists’ theory of religious experience. Ripley presented Transcendentalism as the purist form of Christian theology. This new religious awareness enabled a realization of the divine “inner nature”, and described a religious life dedicated to the practice of spiritual self-cultivation. This new awareness brought with it “universal love”, and a vision of what it meant to partake of divinity.
    • Partaking of Life: Buddhism, Meat-Eating, and Sacrificial Discourses of Gratitude in Contemporary Japan

      Barbara R. Ambros (MDPI AG, 2019-04-01)
      In contemporary Japan, a Buddhist discourse has emerged that links life and food and centers on gratitude. While the connection between animals and gratitude has a long history in Buddhism, here the meaning of repaying a debt of gratitude has shifted from an emphasis on liberating animals to consuming them with gratitude, thereby replacing anti-meat-eating arguments with a sacrificial rationale. This rationale is also apparent in Partaking of Life, a children’s book written by a Jōdo Shin Buddhist adherent, which has found a receptive audience in Jōdo Shin circles, including the voice-acting troupe Team Ichibanboshi. This article provides a close reading of Partaking of Life: The Day That Little Mii Becomes Meat, followed by historical contexts for Buddhist vegetarianism and discrimination against professions that rely on killing animals, particularly as these themes pertain to Jōdo Shin Buddhism. The essay ends on an analysis of Team Ichibanboshi’s sermon on Partaking of Life.
    • Participation as a Christian Ethic: Wojtyla’s Phenomenology of Subject-in-Community, Ubuntu, and the Trinity

      Neil Pembroke (MDPI AG, 2019-01-01)
      Participation is defined as being-with and acting-for others with the aim of advancing the common good. Karol Wojtyla’s philosophy of community and the Sub-Saharan ethic known as Ubuntu are used to describe a participative ethic. These philosophies approach participation in a particular way—namely, through positing both an ‘I-Thou’ and a ‘We’ dimension. Neither in Wojtyla’s philosophy, nor in Ubuntu, do we find references to Christian theology. Though it is evident that these philosophies incorporate certain moral values embraced by the Christian community, it is necessary to make the theological alignment explicit. The main aim of the essay is to do just that. It is argued that participation is rightly construed as a Trinitarian ethic.
    • Participation of Pakistani Female Students in Physical Activities: Religious, Cultural, and Socioeconomic Factors

      Rizwan Ahmed Laar; Shusheng Shi; Muhammad Azeem Ashraf (MDPI AG, 2019-11-01)
      In sports literature, women’s participation in physical activities has always been characterized as “problematic.” Muslim women’s participation is often considered to be limited by their culture and religion, which also affects their attitude toward physical activities. The purpose of this study is to explore the participation and perceived constraints of Pakistani female students in physical activities, using a feminism-in-sports approach. Semi-structured and informant-style interviews with female students from Larkana, Pakistan, were conducted. The results show that participants either do not practice or participate very little, due to the limitations of socioeconomic factors, religious values, and culture. By exploring the diverse ways in which 20 female students talk about their participation in sports activities, we provide different narratives for sports decision-makers (at the school and government level), parents, and community practitioners (political and religious) to consider and draw upon in their curriculum and policy design, as well as daily practices, to support women’s participation in sport activities.
    • Passing through Customs: Merold Westphal, Richard Kearney, and the Methodological Boundaries between Philosophy of Religion and Theology

      Justin Sands (MDPI AG, 2016-06-01)
      Continental philosophers of religion and the theologians who engage with them have recently began to blur the lines between the disciplines of philosophy and theology. This is particularly true after the so-called “theological turn” in phenomenology. I argue for an appreciation of their approaches but will also express that these explorations must remain interdisciplinary. Far too often philosophers and theologians alike appropriate freely within their interdisciplinary research with little regard for the presuppositions and methodologies latent within their appropriations. This article will demonstrate these appropriations through an exploration of Merold Westphal and Richard Kearney’s use of hermeneutical phenomenology, and will claim that their use of this methodology falls upon two distinct discourses, a theological one for Westphal and a philosophical one for Kearney. The upshot of this exploration is an argument for a renewal of methodological restraint when appropriating from other disciplines and a respect for the difference between academic disciplines.
    • Past as Prophecy: Indigenous Diplomacies beyond Liberal Settler Regimes of Recognition, as Told in Shell

      Lee Bloch (MDPI AG, 2019-09-01)
      According to a prophecy told in a small, Muskogee-identified community in the US South, the seeds of Indigenous ways of knowing and relating to more-than-human kin will once again flourish in the ruins of colonial orders. Even settlers will be forced to turn to Indigenous knowledges because “they have destroyed everything else”. Following this visionary history-future, this article asks how Indigenous diplomacies and temporalities animate resurgent possibilities for making life within the fractures (and apocalyptic ruins) of settler states. This demands a rethinking of the global and the international from the perspective of deep Indigenous histories. I draw on research visiting ancestral landscapes with community members, discussing a trip to an ancient shell mound and a contemporary cemetery in which shells are laid atop grave plots. These stories evoke a long-term history of shifting and multivalient shell use across religious and temporal differences. They speak to practices of acknowledgement that exceed liberal settler regimes of state recognition and extend from much older diplomatic practices.
    • Pastoralism in Latin America: An Ensemble of Religious Governmental Technologies in Colonial Costa Rica

      Edgar Zavala-Pelayo (MDPI AG, 2018-06-01)
      Based on a critical empirical application of Foucault’s concept of pastoralism and a genealogical research approach, this article suggests that the Catholic regime that operated in Costa Rica during the Spanish colonial period (16th to 19th centuries), developed an ensemble of distinctive ‘technologies of government’—charity, ceremonial strictness, bio-political control, geo-political rule, and administrative efficiency. Drawing on documentary and archival material, the analysis highlights both the governmental ‘logics’ and the governmental ‘techniques’ of the above technologies, as well as their complex centuries-long operation. The conclusions remark how such a complex ensemble of religious governmental technologies problematizes the synchronicistic and reductionist analyses of religion and politics; historical–institutionalist studies of colonial Catholicism in Latin America; and the compartmentalization of sovereignty, discipline, and apparatuses of security that Foucault originally proposed to account for the historical development of governmentality.
    • Paternity Leave, Father Involvement, and Parental Conflict: The Moderating Role of Religious Participation

      Richard J. Petts (MDPI AG, 2018-09-01)
      Numerous studies show that taking paternity leave is associated with increased father involvement. However, fewer studies have explored contextual factors that may increase (or diminish) the likelihood that paternity leave-taking provides benefits to families. Using data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study, this study examines the associations between paternity leave, fathers’ religious participation, father involvement, and parental conflict, and whether fathers’ religious participation moderates the associations between paternity leave, father involvement, and parental conflict. Results suggest that paternity leave-taking, length of paternity leave, and fathers’ religious participation are associated with increased father involvement but are unrelated to parental conflict. Results also suggest that religious participation may enhance the association between paternity leave and family outcomes; paternity leave-taking and length of paternity leave are only associated with lower levels of parental conflict among families in which fathers attend religious services frequently. Moreover, fathers who take leave and attend religious services frequently are more likely to be involved with their child than fathers who take leave but do not attend religious services.
    • Pathology, Therapeutic Discipline and Its Limits in Augustine: A Dialogue with Foucauldian Readings

      Eun Young Hwang (MDPI AG, 2020-07-01)
      Recently, there has been some attempt to reframe the Augustinian view of political realism in terms of the Foucauldian concept of resistance and discipline, which resonates with another Foucauldian, post-colonial understanding of Augustine. This paper shows how Augustine envisages critical resistance and counter-disciplines in the midst of the earthly city’s domination, as it addresses the political realist emphasis on resistance within the networks of power and the post-colonial emphasis on institutional disciplines. Redefining political realism as the tragic ambiguity of healing intermixed with disease, it examines how Augustine suggests social criticism against the earthly city’s diseased networks of disciplinary power, civic rituals, and ethos, and the heavenly city’s counter-disciplines encompassing the sacraments, oration, rebuke, coercion, and civic virtues. However, Augustine’s emphasis on social criticism and counter-disciplines does not lead to a resort to the disciplinary measures of human control but aims for spiritual freedom and the effect of grace.
    • Pathways to Attempted Suicide as Reflected in the Narratives of People with Lived Experience

      Kätlin Luhaäär; Merike Sisask (MDPI AG, 2018-04-01)
      Narratives, i.e., stories told by suicidal people, describing personal experiences and meanings given to these experiences, play an important role in understanding suicidal behaviour. The aim of the current study was to analyse suicidal processes that have resulted in attempted suicide and to improve the understanding of protective and risk factors of suicidal behaviour. Special emphasis was paid to religious/spiritual aspects. The material was collected in Estonia by conducting narrative interviews with adults (18 years or older) who had attempted suicide during their lifetimes (N = 8). Thematic analysis was used for analysing the data. The main themes identified from the narratives were: childhood and family relationships, romantic relationships, alcohol/drug abuse, losses, sleep, previous suicide attempts, and religious/spiritual beliefs. The findings of the study show that there are many pathways to attempted suicide and that the process leading to attempted suicide is complex. Protective and risk factors are both multi-faceted.
    • Patient or Physician Centered Care?: Structural Implications for Clinical Interactions and the Overlooked Patient

      Aaron B. Franzen (MDPI AG, 2017-08-01)
      Patient-centered care is widely supported by physicians, but this wide-spread support potentially obscures the social patterning of clinical interactions. We know that patients often want religious/spiritual conversations in the context of medical care but the provision is infrequent. As there is regional variance in religiosity, a gap in the literature exists regarding whether patient populations’ religiosity is connected to physicians’ self-reported religious/spiritual interactions. Using a national sample of U.S. physicians linked to county-level measures, the author test whether both physicians’ background and patient population characteristics are related to religious/spiritual interactions. Specifically, do physicians in more religious locations report more frequent religious interactions and is this dependent on whether the physician is also religious? Or does the religiosity of patient populations fail to explain variance in the frequency of inclusion? Logistic regressions with spatial lag terms highlight the importance of physicians’ background for inclusion of religiosity/spirituality. County-level variance of religious concentration is largely unrelated to the inclusion of religiosity/spirituality. The provision of patient-centered care is complicated. The inclusion of something patient-specific, such as religious/spiritual content, may not depend on the characteristics of the patient population, but those of the physician they see.
    • Paul, Timothy, and the Respectability Politics of Race: A Womanist Inter(con)textual Reading of Acts 16:1–5

      Mitzi J. Smith (MDPI AG, 2019-03-01)
      In this paper, I interpret the story of the Apostle Paul’s circumcision of Timothy in the New Testament text The Acts of the Apostles (16:1–5) from a womanist perspective. My approach is intersectional and inter(con)textual. I construct a hermeneutical dialogue between African American women’s experiences of race/racism, respectability politics, and the Acts’ narrative. In conversation with critical race theorists Naomi Zack, Barbara and Karen Fields, and black feminist E. Frances White, I discuss the intersection of race/racism, gender, geopolitical Diasporic space, and the burden and failure of respectability politics. Respectability politics claim that when non-white people adopt and exhibit certain proper behaviors, the reward will be respect, acceptance, and equality in the white dominated society, thereby ameliorating or overcoming race/racism. Race and racism are modern constructions that I employ heuristically and metaphorically as analytical categories for discussing the rhetorical distinctions made between Jews and Greeks/Gentiles, Timothy’s bi-racial status, and to facilitate comparative dialogue between Acts and African American women’s experiences with race and racism. I argue that Paul engages in respectability politics by compelling Timothy to be circumcised because of his Greek father and despite the Jerusalem Council’s decision that Gentile believers will not be required to be circumcised.
    • Pausanian Classification or Socratic Participation: Theologizing the Plurality of Erotic Praxis in Plato’s Symposium

      Philip Krinks (MDPI AG, 2018-09-01)
      Read theologically, Plato’s Symposium is an exercise in doxology: how Eros is to be praised. Pausanias observes that, since Eros is not one, a unitary praise will be inadequate. Proposing a focus on praxis, he classifies erotic praxes, and praises one, in a synthesis of contemporary convention, sophistic rationality, social responsibility and polytheistic fidelity. Against this Socrates praises erotic praxis as one of a plurality of desires mediating between mortals and an otherwise transcendent good. Desire which is specifically erotic involves a praxis of (pro)creation through attention to beauty. In this praxis mortals participate in immortality and the divine. Pausanias’ praise is seriously offered. However, lacking a participatory element, it delivers an underwhelming doxology, making Eros at best an instrument of a sophistically constructed virtue ethic to which his polytheism is ambiguously connected. It is the philosophical theology of Socrates, which, praising Eros as a mediator enabling participation in the divine realm, and offering itself as an analogous form of mediation, is able to be consummated liturgically.
    • Payback, Forgiveness, Accountability: Exercising Responsible Agency in the Midst of Structured Racial Harm

      Michael P. Jaycox (MDPI AG, 2019-09-01)
      In a context of political conflict, the practice of vengeance, the paying back of harm in exchange for harm suffered, is obviously an ethical problem. The practice of forgiveness is equally though differently problematic when applied to political conflict despite the fact that it is a moral ideal. A third approach, the practice of moral accountability, is more ethically justifiable, yet it remains unclear what it is conceptually and what it would involve practically in a particular context. In this essay, the author develops a conceptual framework for moral accountability, grounded in a broader understanding of justice as responsibility to conflictual and unchosen relationships. Drawing on contemporary sources in Christian ethics, as well as insights from anti-racism community organizing, the author argues that practices of moral accountability restructure the pattern of these relationships, such that perpetrators and guilty bystanders are more likely to assume, rather than avoid, responsibility for causing structured racial harm.