Religious Studies and Theology <p>For forty years&nbsp;<em>Religious Studies and Theology</em>&nbsp;has published thoughtful, peer-reviewed original research with significance to the inter-related disciplines of Religious Studies and Theology.</p> Equinox Publishing Ltd. en-US Religious Studies and Theology 0829-2922 <p>© Equinox Publishing Ltd.</p> <p>For information regarding our Open Access policy, <a title="Open access policy." href="Full%20details of our conditions related to copyright can be found by clicking here.">click here</a>.</p> Editor’s Foreword <p>.</p> Catherine Caufield Copyright (c) 2020 Equinox Publishing Ltd. 2020-05-06 2020-05-06 39 1 1 3 10.1558/rsth.41173 Humanities and Religious Studies <p>There is particular angst expressed today about the future of the&nbsp;Humanities, although this concern has been with us for a long&nbsp;time. Many are concerned that the Humanities are dying and no&nbsp;longer occupy a position of importance in our universities. While&nbsp;there is every reason to be concerned, there has never been a time&nbsp;when the Humanities are more important. The Humanities must no&nbsp;longer accept a position at the periphery of universities and must,&nbsp;instead, assert their centrality. Religious Studies, as a relatively new&nbsp;Humanities discipline, offers a path forward. It suggests an openness&nbsp;that serves as a paradigm for the Humanities with regard to&nbsp;how to look outside themselves for new ways of doing research and&nbsp;teaching their students.</p> David W. Atkinson Copyright (c) 2020 Equinox Publishing Ltd. 2020-05-06 2020-05-06 39 1 105 119 10.1558/rsth.40944 Reflections on attending the Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba’s Award for the Advancement of Interreligious Understanding Ceremony <p>The Lieutenant-Governor of the Province of Manitoba annually presents an Award for the Advancement of Interreligious Understanding. Such an award being created in a twenty-first century secular democracy is atypical. This essay examines the motivation behind the award’s creation and describes some of the recipients. The lack of religious practices during the award ceremonies suggests that state agents can talk about religion, applauding religion’s commitment to human flourishing, but cannot allow expressions of spiritual practices within a state-sponsored space. The essay concludes by asking if there are contexts where religious practices could be included in stated-sponsored spaces within a secular democracy.</p> Peter Bush Copyright (c) 2020 Equinox Publishing Ltd. 2020-05-06 2020-05-06 39 1 120 125 10.1558/rsth.36826 ?ab??ab?’?’s Theory of Natural Laws in Ethics <p>One of the most important issues in Islamic ethics is the origin of moral values. ‘All?ma ?ab??ab?’?, a contemporary Shi’ite scholar, has provided a theory for the origin of moral values in terms of the human nature. We analytically explicate his view in five steps, and then evaluate the justifiability of the theory. Prima facie, it seems that his formulation of the ethical theory of natural laws faces objections, such as the following: (1) since it is based on “existential guidance” (al-hid?ya al-takw?n?yya), which is a kind of non-volitional guidance, it fails to account for the human free will, (2) it falls short of explaining the “is-ought” problem – that of inferring values from facts (here, the human nature), (3) it is not compatible with some other views held by ?ab??ab?’?, including the “principle of exploitation” (a?l al-istikhd?m), and (4) it is not in agreement with the Islamic method of following the right and avoiding natural desires. However, a closer look at his work reveals that he had already anticipated these objections and provided responses for most of them. Thus, his formulation of the theory of natural laws in ethics can be justified and defended.</p> Rahim Dehghan Simakani Maryam Khoshdel Rohani Copyright (c) 2020 Equinox Publishing Ltd. 2020-05-06 2020-05-06 39 1 74 89 10.1558/rsth.36667 “The Son of a Bird” <p>Messages and signs received from animals were used to predict the future since ancient times. The ancestors believed that animal behavior, especially the voices or flight of fowls, indicates what is going to occur, whether success or failure. The current study deals with two post-biblical interpretations of the utilization of birds for divination (ornithomancy) in the biblical story of the Midianite war against the Israelites (Num. 25:17–18). The Sifre claims that the Midianites used birds in their war against Israel. The Sifre perceives ornithomancy to be an artful and devious method of combat, whose use had implications for the harsh fate that befell the Israelites. According to Sefer ha-Zohar, Balak was a magician who used bird techniques in order to be aware of his situation during the war. When his own bird communicated to him that he could not face the people of Israel he looked to Balaam for help.</p> Abraham Ofir Shemesh Copyright (c) 2020 Equinox Publishing Ltd. 2020-05-06 2020-05-06 39 1 37 55 10.1558/rsth.35044 Retrieving a Soul Part that Fractured During Trauma <p>A post-traumatic response includes alterations in functioning on the physical, mental, emotional, social, and spiritual levels. Interest in using complementary therapies resulted from PTSD patient requests for modalities that address their spiritual needs. The positive neurophysiology effects on PTSD symptoms produced by spiritual practices generates renewed interest in the approaches to the psyche proposed by Carl Jung, and also in traditional cultural practices for healing trauma. In traditional worldviews the shock of trauma can cause a part of the soul to fracture off and remain trapped in a non-ordinary reality. Jung encouraged therapeutic regression to connect with the lost part. Regression therapy gained support following MRI studies showing that trauma narratives are replayed through the brain’s right hemisphere. MRI studies support research showing that right hemisphere options, such as visualization, increase the possibility for healing trauma. The purpose of this research was to determine if there were pre- and post-intervention differences when using spiritually-focused guided visualization to regress subjects to a traumatic event, there to reclaim and reintegrate a soul part that had fractured off during trauma. Eight study participants from an Indigenous Community in Canada participated. Pre-to-post score differences on the PCL-5 suggest a positive and clinically meaningful response to the intervention. The themes derived from the narrative descriptions indicate that the soul retrieval intervention increased the well-being of the study participants.</p> Jane Simington Joan I.J. Wagner Copyright (c) 2020 Equinox Publishing Ltd. 2020-05-06 2020-05-06 39 1 4 19 10.1558/rsth.41174 I think therefore I am <p>Kourouma’s narrative texts bring to the fore misery and desperation,&nbsp;resulting largely from human exploitation connected to&nbsp;ignorance and religious irrationality. Descartes’ all time famous&nbsp;statement “I think therefore I am” grounds the essence of human&nbsp;existence on thinking. Descartes’ assertion has implications for&nbsp;religion when it is postulated as the quest for the ultimate source&nbsp;of meaning in life. Kourouma’s (2000) Allah is Not Obliged establishes&nbsp;a link between human exploitation and unsound practice&nbsp;of religion, revealing his nauseating aversion to and denunciation&nbsp;of irrational religion. From literary and philosophy of religion&nbsp;perspectives, Allah is Not Obliged can be read as a narrative&nbsp;that raises consciousness about the potential of irrational religion&nbsp;becoming a source of exploitation and mental enslavement. Within&nbsp;the framework of such reading, Allah is Not Obliged becomes a&nbsp;plea for an intra-cultural critique of African religiosity.</p> Simon Kofi Appiah Mawuloe Kodah Copyright (c) 2020 Equinox Publishing Ltd. 2020-05-06 2020-05-06 39 1 90 104 10.1558/rsth.40475 Present Peace, Future Freedom <p>Euro-North American Buddhism consists of a diversity of transplanted Asian traditions whose cultural adaptations often include heightened emphases on both family and meditation. This paper considers the nexus of these two themes in an examination of children’s meditation instruction in two of the largest international Gelukpa Tibetan Buddhist networks, the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT) and the New Kadampa Tradition (NKT). Through a comparison of these organizations’ recently published English-language children’s meditation manuals, the paper aims to produce a clearer picture of how children and their capacities for meditation are being conceptualized and cultivated in diasporic Tibetan Buddhist formations. I argue that the texts of the FPMT and NKT reflect respectively enthusiastic and measured approaches to the adaptation of Gelukpa Tibetan Buddhist meditation’s traditional doctrinal context and goals for primarily non-Tibetan audiences.</p> Christopher Emory-Moore Copyright (c) 2020 Equinox Publishing Ltd. 2020-05-06 2020-05-06 39 1 56 73 10.1558/rsth.35283 The Minyan in Daniel Deronda <p><em>G</em>eorge Eliot's final novel,&nbsp;<em>Daniel Deronda</em>&nbsp;(1876), is arguably her finest achievement. Deftly combining the plot of Gwendolen Harleth's provinicial English life with the Jewish plot involving Deronda' hidden identity, Eliot's fiction advances in new directions. After studying Jewish history and philosophy for a number of years, Eliot turned to "the other" in her writing, reaching out to a Jewish minority in the Diaspora, which was trying to finds its place in modern European society. Her multiple portraits of Jews across Europe are realistic and idealistic, extending back to the past and projecting to the future. Challenging Victorian taboos, Eliot's novel is both proto-Zionist and proto-Freudian. Exposing her nineteenth-century readers to a variety of Jewish characters, she paves the way for twentieth-century writers to explore further the nuances of Jews and Judaism. Her radical and experimental techniques, hidden within traditional prose, continue to resonate in the twenty-first century, with its greater understanding of double plots.</p> Michael Greenstein Copyright (c) 2020 Equinox Publishing Ltd. 2020-05-06 2020-05-06 39 1 20 36 10.1558/rsth.40909 Science Without God? Rethinking the History of Scientific Naturalism, edited by Peter Harrison and Jon H. Roberts <p><em>Science Without God? Rethinking the History of Scientific Naturalism</em>, edited by Peter Harrison and Jon H. Roberts. Oxford University Press, 2019. xv + 263 pp. $99 ISBN: 978-0-19-883458-8.</p> Travis Dumsday Copyright (c) 2020 Equinox Publishing Ltd. 2020-05-06 2020-05-06 39 1 134 136 10.1558/rsth.40975 Rethinking Early Christian Identity: Affect, Violence, and Belonging, by Maia Kotrosits <div><em>Rethinking Early Christian Identity: Affect, Violence, and Belonging</em>,</div> <div>by Maia Kotrosits. Fortress Press, 2015. 265+xii. Pb., $39USD. ISBN:&nbsp;9781451492651</div> Kimberly B. Stratton Copyright (c) 2020 Equinox Publishing Ltd. 2020-05-06 2020-05-06 39 1 128 130 10.1558/rsth.38263 Island of Guanyin: Mount Putuo and Its Gazetteers. by Marcus Bingenheimer <p><em>Island of Guanyin: Mount Putuo and Its Gazetteers</em>. by Marcus Bingenheimer. Oxford University Press, 2016. i-xii + 283 pp. Seventeen b/w illustrations. Hb., $144. ISBN: 978-0-19-045619.</p> Paul Crowe Copyright (c) 2020 Equinox Publishing Ltd. 2020-05-06 2020-05-06 39 1 131 133 10.1558/rsth.39872 Thomas Aquinas on God and Evil, by Brian Davies <p><em>Thomas Aquinas on God and Evil</em>, by Brian Davies. Oxford University Press, 2011. xi + 172 pp. Pb., $36.95. ISBN: 0199790906</p> Glenn B. Siniscalchi Copyright (c) 2020 Equinox Publishing Ltd. 2020-05-06 2020-05-06 39 1 126 127 10.1558/rsth.40476