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Abstract

This article reaches out to the audience for controversial religious writing after the English Reformation, by examining the shared language of attainable truth, of clarity and certainty, to be found in Protestant and Catholic examples of the same. It argues that we must consider those aspects of religious controversy that lie simultaneously above and beneath its doctrinal content: the logical forms in which it was framed, and the assumptions writers made about their audiences’ needs and responses. Building on the work of Susan Schreiner and others on the notion of certainty through the early Reformation, the article asks how English polemicists exalted and opened up that notion for their readers’ benefit, through proclamations of visibility, accessibility and honest dealing. Two case studies are chosen, in order to make a comparison across confessional lines: first, Protestant (and Catholic) reactions against the Jesuit doctrine of equivocation in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, which emphasized honesty and encouraged fear of hidden meaning; and second, Catholic opposition to the notion of an invisible-or relatively invisible-church. It is argued that the language deployed in opposition to these ideas displays a shared emphasis on the clear, certain, and reliable, and that which might be attained by human means. Projecting the emphases and assertions of these writers onto their audience, and locating it within a contemporary climate, the article thus questions the emphasis historians of religion place on the intangible-on faith-in considering the production and the reception of Reformation controversy.

Abstract

All the major sixteenth-century Reformers knew something about the early church and used the early Fathers. As an Augustinian monk and professor of theology, however, Luther’s knowledge and use of the great Father was both deeper and more nuanced. While indebted to Augustine, Luther went further in defining what it meant for theology to be ‘scriptural’. He saw history as the interaction of God’s two regimes, and the church of every age as weak and flawed but conquering through the cross of Christ. This led him to a free use of the Fathers without being constrained to always agree with or imitate them. The comfort he received from the Apostles’ Creed in particular led him to appreciate the early creedal statements, and so it was natural for him to use them as models when formulating the new confessions required in his own day. The sixteenth-century heritage of written confessions of faith is a heritage under-appreciated but still vital for church bodies today.1

Abstract

Persons suffering from chronic and life limiting illnesses often have unrelieved symptoms such as pain, depression, fatigue, and psychosocial and spiritual distress. In Romania they are frequently left in the care of their families with little support from the health care system. It seems a paradox that those who are the sickest persons in a country find little place in the health care system. This article presents palliative care as a solution to the suffering for these patients and their families by describing the concept, models of services, its beneficiaries and benefits and presenting the history of development of hospice and palliative care worldwide and in Romania.

Abstract

As the main religion of Finland, but also of entire Scandinavia, Lutheranism has a centuries-long history. Until 1809 Finland formed the eastern part of the Swedish Kingdom, from 1809 to 1917 it was a Grand Duchy within the Russian Empire, and in 1917 Finland gained independence. In the 1520s the Lutheran Reformation reached the Swedish realm and gradually Lutheranism was made the state religion in Sweden. In the 19th century the Emperor in Russia recognized the official Lutheran confession and the status of the Lutheran Church as a state church in Finland. In the 20th century Lutheran church leaders preferred to use the concept people’s church. The Lutheran Church is still the majority church. In the beginning of 2015, some 74 percent of all Finns were members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland. In this issue of Perichoresis, Finnish historians interested in the role of church and Christian faith in society look at the religious history of Finland and Scandinavia. The articles are mainly organized in chronological order, starting from the early modern period and covering several centuries until the late 20th century and the building of the welfare state in Finland. This introductory article gives a brief overview of state-church relations in Finland and presents the overall theme of this issue focusing on Finnish Lutheranism. Our studies suggest that 16th and early 17th century Finland may not have been quite so devoutly Lutheran as is commonly claimed, and that late 20th century Finland may have been more Lutheran than is commonly realized.

Abstract

After his death an intense struggle ensued for ownership of the relics of Thomas Aquinas. There were both pious and political motives for the desire to possess the bones of the saint. This article introduces the topic by describing the places where Aquinas’ relics can now be found. We then outline Aquinas’ own views on the veneration of relics, which is characterized by an appreciation of the practice but with great caution to avoid superstition. An historical overview of the fate of Aquinas’ relics sheds light on their significance, particularly in light of the canonization process. The final reflection considers the fate of Aquinas’ relics in light of his own theology.

Abstract

Estonian ethnography as one of the Estonia-related disciplines was tied with Estonian nationalism from the very beginning. Defined as a science investigating mainly the material side of vanishing traditional peasant culture in the 1920s, it fitted rather well with the Soviet understanding of ethnography as a sub discipline of history. Thanks to the major cooperation projects initiated and coordinated by ethnographers from Moscow, Soviet Estonian ethnographers could continue studying Estonian traditional peasant culture. Their favourite research topics (folk costume, peasant architecture and traditional agriculture) supported Estonian national identity, but also suited the framework of Soviet ethnography. Studying contemporary (socialist) everyday life was unpopular among Estonian ethnographers because the results had to justify and support Soviet policy. They did so unwillingly, and avoided it completely if possible. Despite of some interruption during the Stalin era, ethnography managed to survive as a science of the nation in Soviet Estonia.

Abstract

This paper argues that precisely by focusing on the continuation of tradition, Old Catholic theology is able to arrive at theological renewal, especially in an intercultural manner and in ecumenical dialogue. As a case study, this paper considers the recent dialogue between the Union of Utrecht of Old Catholic Church and the Mar Thoma Syrian Church.

Abstract

The article seeks to illuminate the ideologically motivated circumstances of Latvian folklore studies during the period of unconditional Soviet totalitarianism. With the strengthening of the Soviet occupation regime in Latvia in the late 1940s, many interwar folklorists became victims of ideologically motivated disdain and subsequent career limitation. ‘Bourgeois’ scholarship and the methods applied in folklore studies during the interwar period were denounced and recognised as harmful to the new Soviet order. The central part of the article presents a case study of one individual folklorist of the time, Anna Bērzkalne (1891–1956). Both increasing criticism of Bērzkalne’s folklore research approach (the historical–geographical method) and her efforts to accommodate the requirements of the Soviet regime have been analysed.

Abstract

This article* provides an insight into ethnographic research during the Soviet occupation of Latvia, viewed in the context of national self-consciousness. Ethnographic research in Soviet Latvia was conducted by the ethnographic sector at the Institute of History of the Academy of Sciences of the Latvian Soviet Socialist Republic (LSSR). By successfully using phrases appropriate to the political situation as well as the right quotations from Soviet ideological works, it was possible to maintain ideas and attitudes developed in interwar independent Latvia, for example, regarding Latvian national costume – in the works of Mirdza Slava. In turn, Aina Alsupe managed to carry out substantial new studies of the history and development of weaving in Latvia, and collect materials on the development of applied art in Soviet Latvia. The studies conducted by both Alsupe and Slava allowed researchers to keep applied folk arts and the folk costume topical, and in doing so to help maintain Latvian cultural identity.

Abstract

The paper* considers common youth leisure activities in traditional Karelian culture, from the point of view both of the culturally prescribed norms and the actual behaviour. Special attention is paid to official and social adolescent development frameworks and to reflection of these age-related stages in folk vocabulary. The paper uses a large number of recently published and unpublished ethnographic and folkloristic sources. The authors come to the conclusion that in Karelian culture there is a specific age-group framework for adolescence, as well as gender-related differences between male and female behavioural patterns. The paper shows that girls had to undertake more varied tasks than boys as, on the one hand, they were to play socially prescribed roles and follow moral obligations, remaining modest and, on the other hand, had to be active in order to get married and give birth to children.