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Jonathan Elukin

The article explores Shakespeare’s secularized retelling of the Christian theological narrative of deceiving the Devil, with Antonio playing the role of Christ and Shylock as the Devil. The article argues that recasting the contest between Christ and the Devil in the world of Venice sets the stage for Shakespeare’s larger exploration of the pervasive nature of deceit in human affairs. Although it seems that Shakespeare’s characters are resigned to live in a fallen world where truth is obscured, Portia’s invocation of mercy may be Shakespeare’s attempt to offer some hope of an earthly salvation. The article argues that this portrait of a world filled with deception resonated with Shakespeare’s audience. Men and women in early modern England lived in a world where they often had to hide their religious identities and loyalties. This interpretation challenges more recent attempts to see the play as primarily concerned with race and tolerance.

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Cruci erunt eum inter duos latrones

Passion et mort de Louis XVI

Annie Duprat

Cet article se propose de faire un retour sur l'hypothèse des sept morts de Louis XVI formulée par Claude Langlois en 1993. Examinant la polémique menée, par les textes et les images, par les royalistes eux-mêmes, il démontre la force des références anglaises, d'une part, catholiques, d'autre part, dans l'inspiration de leurs auteurs. Le récit dramatisé des faits qui se sont déroulés à Versailles les 5 et 6 octobre 1789 contribue à nourrir l'imaginaire de la violence. Enfin, l'analyse fine de la caricature Grand combat à mort (1792) permet de saisir le rôle du bestiaire dans une caricature politique. De ce livre ressort une nouvelle image de Louis XVI: il est devenu un Christ des temps modernes, souffrant une Passion pour le salut de la France.

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Russian Christ

The Struggle of the Russian Orthodox Church to Introduce Religion into the Curriculum in the First Decade of the Twenty-first Century

Victor A. Shnirelman

Interest in the social role of religion, including religious education (RE), is on the increase in the European Union. Yet whereas Western educators focus mostly on the potential of religion for dialogue and peaceful coexistence, in Russia religion is viewed mostly as a resource for an exclusive cultural-religious identity and resistance to globalization. RE was introduced into the curriculum in Russia during the past ten to fifteen years. The author analyzes why, how, and under what particular conditions RE was introduced in Russia, what this education means, and what social consequences it can entail.

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A Political Theology of the Empty Tomb

Christianity and the Return of the Sacred

Roberto Farneti

This article argues a case against the theory of the sacred put forward by the French anthropologist René Girard. In particular, Girard seems to have obliterated one of the tenets of Christian theology, namely, the doctrine of Christ's ascension, in accord with his critical reading of Paul's letter to the Hebrews, which contains a rare emphasis on Christ's departure from the world. This article adopts a 'neo-Hobbesian' perspective in understanding the return of the sacred and fosters a 'political theology of the empty tomb', where the doctrine of Christ's ascension is called upon to again play a major theological role as a workable antidote to the contemporary resurgence of the sacred.

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Neslihan Ekmekçioğlu

Aemilia Bassano Lanier was partially of Jewish origin and came from a Venetian family of court musicians. She was brought up in the court and was educated by Countess Susan Bertie and the Duchess of Suffolk. Her work entitled Salve Deus Rex Judaeorum is a long narrative poem articulating a woman-centred account of the Bible. As a woman of partial Jewish descent, Aemilia, who has ‘a voice of her own’, deals with the maltreatment of women and compares them to Christ in their silent suffering. At her time, women were often expected to be silent within society, creating an absence rooted in their lack of voice. Both Christ and women sacrifice themselves for the betterment of mankind. This article will deal with Aemilia Lanier’s new perspective upon biblical women and the Passion of Christ as reflected in Salve Deus Rex Judaeorum.

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Mark L. Winer

In six weeks this Shabbat, the Christian world will commemorate the two thousandth anniversary of the birth of Jesus Christ. It really does not matter that Jesus was most likely born, according to the historians, in 4 B.C.E. It does not really matter that the mathematical start of the new millennium will be 2001. 1 January 2000 is the day of focus. Millennial madness is sweeping the world.

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Gianfranco Brunelli

The Great Jubilee of the year 2000, with which the Catholic Church

symbolically celebrated the two thousandth anniversary of the

birth of Christ, began on 24 December 1999 and ended on 6 January

2001. An ailing but steady Pope, nearly hidden under a glittering,

iridescent cloak, and watched by thousands of millions the

world over, opened the Holy Door of the Basilica of Saint Peter on

Christmas Eve 1999 to welcome the Christian nation into the new

century and the new millennium. Satisfied and moved, he closed

the Holy Door on the day of Epiphany 2001.

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Frans Ciappara

This article discusses the corpi santi, or whole skeletons of saints, which were brought to Malta from the catacombs of Rome in the eighteenth century. Here they had a diff erent meaning than they had in northern Europe. Malta was not aff ected by the Thirty Years’ War and therefore did not have to replace relics destroyed by the Protestants. The Maltese church also had no need to emphasize its connection with Rome. These saints were honored in Malta because they were heroes, having died for Christ as martyrs. Parishioners also perceived corpi santi as patrons, explaining why they were fully integrated within the parish. They rendered the churches in which they were exhibited centers of local devotion, thereby according prestige to the parish and intensifying rivalry between parishes. The saints also gave identity to the parish, so that parents even named children after them.

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Prophesying Daughters

Testimony, Censorship, and Literacy among Early Quaker Women

Judith Rose

In the tumultuous 1640’s amid the barely controlled chaos of the Interregnum, George Fox, the spiritually inclined son of an Leicestershire weaver, wandered up and down the local countryside in search of revelation, disputing with local ministers, debating theology with anyone who would speak with him. Years later, in his autobiographical Journal, Fox described the pivotal moment of his awakening: But as I had forsaken all the priests, so I left the separate preachers also… for I saw there was none among them all that could speak to my condition. And when all my hopes in them and in all men were gone, so that I had nothing outwardly to help me, nor could tell what to do, then, Oh, then, I heard a voice which said, ‘There is one, even Christ Jesus, that can speak to thy condition’, and when I heard it, my heart did leap for joy.

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Education within Our Faith Communities

What Do We Learn and What Do We Teach about Ourselves and about Others?

Laura Janner-Klausner

I do not think that I had the best introduction to interfaith dialogue. I studied Christianity at school and at university. I was overprotected at the first and overexposed at the second. At school, our wonderful Catholic teacher avoided the so called ‘difficult’ chapters in the Gospels so as to protect her five students (three of whom were Jewish) – or maybe herself. On the other hand, my university lecturers taught the ‘Old Testament’ with assertions such as ‘Judaism is morally invalid’. These experiences strengthened in me a destructive understanding of the religious world as consisting of only Christians (the Faculty was then a Protestant-only zone) and Jews (as Christ-killers). You will not be surprised to know that after receiving my Divinity degree, I did not go anywhere near Christian studies for another thirteen years!