International Journal of Public Theology

Global Network of Public Theology (GNPT)

International Journal of Public Theology

Below are the journal articles featured in the 2013 issues of IJPT:

Volume 7, Issue 1, 2013

ISSN : 1872-5171

E-ISSN : 1569-7320

Christian Scripture and Public Theology: Ruminations on their Ambiguous Relationship

  • Author: David J. Neville
  • pp. 5–23 (19)
  • Abstract: This article explores the relatively neglected topic of the role of Scripture in public theology. It proffers a provisional taxonomy of approaches to relating Scripture to public theology, with a view to demonstrating that there are various ways in which Scripture and Scripture scholarship play a vital role in public theology, broadly construed. It then discusses in more detail three of the eight approaches, focusing especially on recent works by Gerd Theissen and Paul Hanson, and illustrating the value of inner-biblical critique for public theology with reference to the themes of violence and justice.

‘Go to the ant, you lazybones’ (NRSV, Prov. 6:6): The Church and Nonhuman Animals in the World

  • Author: Matthew Barton
  • pp. 24–44 (21)
  • Abstract: This article engages with the ecclesiology of Stanley Hauerwas in considering the relationship of church to world within the broader context of God’s creation, which includes nonhuman as well as human animals. In conversation with Hauerwas, an evaluation of understandings of ‘world as creation’ and ‘world as fallen’ gives rise to a new understanding of world, as a public of responsible beings. This understanding produces three questions: what does it mean for nonhuman animals to be perceived by the church as part of the world, how are we justified in advancing such a perception and what are the implications of this? In answering these questions, two distinct classes of responsibility are recognized: animal responsibility, shared by human and nonhuman animals; and responsibility to God, unique to humans. In having responsibility, animals are part of the world to which the church is called to respond; and in responding, to learn as well as to witness.

(In)visibility and the Process of Public Theology

  • Author: Eric Stoddart
  • pp. 45–64 (20)
  • Abstract In this article the notion of (in)visibility as a skill and an analytical device is brought into the field of public theology, and, using political and sociological insights from Andrea Brighenti and Pierre Bourdieu, a theoretical basis is established. Further, a liturgical and eschatological hermeneutic is applied to relativize (in)visibility and to locate its development as a skill in a Christian narrative context. The article argues that (in)visibility offers a complementary paradigm to the auditory that otherwise attends predominantly to the substantive content of public theological interventions; hence, it contends, the process and consequences for others (not necessarily acting as public theologians) are to be encompassed in a model of public theology. In addition, a case study on a recent statement by a Roman Catholic bishop in Scotland is presented.


Ideas of Tolerance: Religious Exclusivism and Violence in Hindu–Christian Encounters

  • Author: Ankur Barua
  • pp. 65–90 (26)  
  • Abstract: This article explores, through some historical vignettes, the question of whether there are necessary connections between the Christian worldview and religious aggression, whether in the form of brutal extermination of the religious others or more subtly of interpretive violence on their cultural traditions. The Hindu ‘pluralistic’ attitude towards the religions is often put forward as a paradigm of an open-minded acceptance of their diversity. However, varieties of Hindu ‘pluralism’ turn out, on closer inspection, to be based on specific criteria about the nature of human and divine reality, and collapse, in fact, to forms of ‘exclusivism’ which propose a certain event or experience as the paradigm through which human existence is to be interpreted. The crucial debate, then, is not so much between Christian ‘exclusivism’ versus Hindu ‘pluralism’ as over the basis for viewing religious diversity as encompassed by the divine purpose for humanity.


Towards a Spirituality of Public Leadership: Engaging Dietrich Bonhoeffer

  • Author: Patrick Nullens
  • pp. 91–113 (23)
  • Abstract: This article is a reflective answer to the growing interest in the ‘spirituality’ of a leader found both among active leaders and in the field of Leadership Studies. The term ‘spirituality’ is so complex, however, it requires a more thorough theological reflection than (secular) Leadership Studies can offer, especially considering the more specific matter of how a Christian leader embodies his/her spirituality in his/her leadership. This article discusses four components of leadership: the leader’s sense of reality, the sense of a higher calling, the sense of belonging and the sense of morality. Further, the thought of Dietrich Bonhoeffer provides each of these components with not only a Christian but an explicitly Christocentric content.
     

Volume 7, Jewish Public Theology, 2013

ISSN : 1872-5171

E-ISSN : 1569-7320

Idolatry and Fixation: Modern Jewish Thought and the Criticism of Cosmetically and Technologically Perfected Female Faces in Contemporary Popular Culture*

  • Author: Melissa Raphael
  • pp. 135–156 (22)
  • Abstract: This article argues that the ‘halakhically’ (legally) governed representational techniques employed by Jewish art are founded upon a counter-idolatrous theology of appearance: both human and divine. In drawing upon a range of Jewish sources from the ancient to the contemporary period that understand idolatry as an estrangement of the world from God, this article presents a Jewish feminist theological critique of alienation in the late modern popular visual regime, while suggesting that it is nonetheless possible for public culture to behold the divine image in images of the human without such images becoming idolatrous.

Murder in Judaism: A Theological Perspective

  • Author: Reza Barmaki
  • pp. 157–173 (17)
  • Abstract: This article provides a theological account of murder, that is, its significance within the broader context of God’s plan for creation. It argues that God’s prohibition of murder, understood as abuse of the powerless, is due to God’s broader concern with the maintenance of cosmic justice (cosmic harmony), which is required for the preservation of creation. Murder detracts from God’s cosmic justice in that it damages an aspect of justice that is related to human beings: social justice. Social justice is achieved through protection of the weak. In short, murder, as the ultimate act of oppression of the weak, constitutes social injustice and results in the disruption of God’s cosmic harmony.


Religious-Zionist Attitudes Towards the Peace Process

  • Author: Zehavit Gross
  • pp. 174–196 (23)
  • Abstract: The aim of this article is to analyse the attitudes of Religious-Zionists toward the Middle East peace process. The Religious-Zionist movement served as the flag-bearer for Jewish settlement in the occupied territories of Judea, Samaria and Gaza and the principal reserve of the settler population. The tragedy of Religious-Zionism may well be its desire to integrate within and benefit from historical realities originating in relative, pragmatic conceptions, along with its refusal or inability to liberate itself of thinking tools, conceptions and norms belonging to a theological, a-historical world controlled by absolute values and dreams. The dominant trend in Religious-Zionism was found to have a direct influence on the nature of Jewish public discourse and is expected to influence the shaping of Jewish society and culture in the State of Israel after the peace agreements are signed.


The Challenge of the Holocaust

  • Author: Dan Cohn-Sherbok
  • pp. 197–209 (13)
  • Abstract: Throughout their history, the Jewish people have endured persecution, massacre and murder. They have been driven from their ancient homeland, buffeted from country to country and plagued by persecutions and pogroms. Jews have been despised and led as lambs to the slaughter. In modern times the Holocaust continued this saga of Jewish suffering, destroying six million innocent victims in the most terrible circumstances. This tragedy has posed the most searing questions for contemporary Jewry: where was God at Auschwitz, and where was humankind? This article seeks to respond to these two deeply troubling questions in the light of contemporary Jewish Holocaust theology.
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