Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 34

Search results for: theology

34 Theology and Music in the XXI. Century: An Exploratory Study of Current Interrelation

Authors: Andrzej Kesiak

Abstract:

Contemporary theology is often accused of answering questions that nobody is asking, and of employing hermetic language that has lost its communication capacity. There is also a question that theology is asking itself: how theological discourse can still be influential on other disciplines and, how to overcome the separation of theology and belief. Undoubtedly, in the wider spectrum, the theological discourse has been and will be needed. The difficulty is how to find the right model of it, the model that would help theology to enter in dialogue with culture, art, science, and politics. Presumably, there is no only one such model, theology constantly needs to seek such models, and this is probably a never-ending journey; in other words, theology should adopt a profile of ‘a restless being’ if it wants to remain influential. Music, on the other hand, has always been very close to theology; in fact, a huge part of classical music is either sacred or religious. Many composers sought inspiration in religion, liturgy, religious painting and sacred texts. This paper will argue that despite all that it seems that a proper and factual dialogue is still in a starting phase. Such a thing as a reciprocal relationship between theology and music definitely exists, but it has not yet been theoretically developed enough. Correlation between musical and theological disciplines constitutes a very broad and complex discourse. Therefore this study would rather narrow the subject and put it in a specific context: Theology and Music in the XXI. Century. This paper is a text-based study; therefore it will be based on textual-analysis with elements of the text hermeneutics.

Keywords: music, theology, reciprocal relationship between theology and music, XXI Century

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33 Effectuating Theology of Culture: The Only Weapon to Confront 21st Century Global Godless Culture

Authors: Hram Bik

Abstract:

This is an analytical paper on how to apply theology to the global godless culture. The paper will analyze and materialize theology of culture and come up with theo-cultural principles which will enable Christians to properly engage with today godless culture. If theology and daily life are in any way split apart, Christians will lose the authenticity essential to their calling. Living out godliness in the ungodly culture requires materializing theology into daily life. To do that has become an unbeatable challenge for Christians in 21st century with the overtaking in of global godless culture enforced by Information Technology resulting in rapid and chaotic change of global lifestyles wherein Christianity stands in danger of being swallowed up. Staying away from the culture will rob Christianity of its mission to witness and staying with and like it will rob Christianity of its effectiveness. Thus the question is how should today Christians apply theology to the culture wherein what are said to be sins in the Bible no longer look like sins? Should we forge an all-out war against it or should distance ourselves away from it? The extreme response to it could fruit Christian Jihadism on the right and the apathetic response would let it booming with no one attempting to stop it on the left. This paper calls for global Christians to essentially make theology a part of their daily lives to form a united global force to influence the godless global culture by influencing our own family and community.

Keywords: Christians, global culture, godliness, theology

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32 Women with Disabilities: A Study of Contributions of Sexual and Reproductive Rights for Theology

Authors: Luciana Steffen

Abstract:

People with disabilities are often neglected in the exercise of their sexuality, facing several prejudices and discrimination in this area. For women with disabilities, the negligence is even major. Studies that relate sexual and reproductive rights with the experience of women with disabilities are rare, and in the field of Theology, practically nonexistent in Brazil. The aim of this work is to reflect on the relationship between women with disabilities, sexual and reproductive rights and Theology, according to a feminist perspective. The work is a literature review and involves the areas of Gender Studies, Disability Studies, Feminist Studies and Theology. In the article it will be addressed the relations between disability, sexual and reproductive rights, feminism, as well as the relations with the area of Theology, reflecting on these themes toward a fairer and more inclusive understanding of feminism, sexuality and women with disabilities. To reflect on sexual and reproductive rights of women with disabilities, it is important to reflect on religious concepts about the body, sexuality, reproduction and gender roles, because they are all connected. So, a critical analysis of traditional theological values taking into consideration the dimensions of sexuality and women with disability is important for a more liberating and inclusive understand about sexual and reproductive rights of women with disabilities. Theology should help the other areas in the understanding that all people have the right to live their lives with completeness, dignity and respect, so women with disabilities must have the opportunity of making their own choices on the fields of sexuality and reproduction.

Keywords: gender, disability, sexual and reproductive rights, theology

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31 Harmony of Paradox and Contradiction: Communication between Human Beings and God according to Hermann Cohen’s Jewish Philosophy

Authors: Talya Alon-Altman

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This article examines communication between a human being and God in the Jewish philosophy of the German-Jewish philosopher, Hermann Cohen (1842–1918). It observes Cohen’s Jewish philosophy in light of communication theories, using the theoretical wealth of a relatively new discipline – communication, in order to deepen the philosophical and theological discussion. This new perspective enriches our view of philosophy, theology, and offers a fresh and novel approach to the philosophical and theological study of communication, and media theology in particular.

Keywords: hermann cohen, media theology, modern jewish philosophy, jewish philosphy, communication

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30 Remembrance as Contest: A Study on the Ex-Slave Religious Communities in Kerala

Authors: Sephora Jose

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Caste slavery was an exploitative human transactional system that prevailed in Kerala, the south-western state of India, till the late nineteenth century. In this particular system, more than ten untouchable/Dalit caste groups had been enslaved and transacted. Mainstream historiographies have subsumed caste slavery under caste servitude covering up the transactional aspect of the practice. However, there are communities in Kerala like Prathyaksha Raksha Daiva Sabha (The Divine Church of Visible Salvation) and Deva Jana Samajam (The Society of God’s People), who claim to be the descendants of the caste slaves. Being spiritual organizations, they engage with the historical reality of slavery through Dalit theology. Their theology is articulated through their oral narratives, including songs, stories, myths, and other cultural productions. This study seeks to understand how the descendants of slave castes in Kerala attempt alternative historiography through Dalit theology articulated in their cultural productions collected over fieldwork.

Keywords: caste slavery, Dalit theology, Dravidians, Deva Jana Samajam, Prathyaksha Raksha Daiva Sabha

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29 Liturgical Elements and Symbolism of Light in Christian Sacred Space

Authors: Zorana Sokol Gojnik, Igor Gojnik, Marina Simunic Bursic

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The light is one of the major themes of theology of sacred space. Christian theology, but also architecture in its complexity, is permeated by the symbolism of light from its beginning. The aim of this paper is to deeply analyse the symbolism of light in every single element of contemporary Christian sacred space such as altar, ambo, baptistery, tabernacle, confessionals, stations of the cross, etc. The research will be carried out using the methodology of research of literature and comparatively observation of contemporary examples of sacred architecture. The research will use the insights of analyzed literature and examples of sacred architecture in order to describe the background of the problem as well as to complement the received results with the reliable scientific findings. The paper will highlight the importance of symbolic and theological points of view in contemporary church design using the light as a building part of every single part of sacred architecture as there is an insight that, in contemporary sacred architecture, there is a lack of understanding of symbolic and theological aspect of light while designing new sacred spaces.

Keywords: architecture, liturgy, sacred architecture, theology of space

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28 Understanding the Architecture of Hindu Temples: A Philosophical Interpretation

Authors: A. Bandyopadhyay

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Vedic philosophy is one of the oldest existing philosophies of the world. Started around 6500 BC, in Western Indian subcontinent, the Indus valley Civilizations developed a theology which, gradually developed into a well-established philosophy of beliefs, popularly known as ‘Hindu religion’. In Vedic theology, the abstract concept of God was formulated mostly by close observation of the dynamicity and the recurrence of natural and universal phenomena. Through the ages, the philosophy of this theology went through various discursions, debates, and questionings and the abstract concept of God was, in time, formalized into more representational forms by the means of various signs and symbols. Often, these symbols were used in more subtle ways in the construction of “sacred” sculptures and structures. Apparently, two different philosophies were developed from the Vedic philosophy and these two philosophies are mostly seen in the northern part and southern part of the Indian subcontinent. This paper tries to summarize the complex philosophical treaties of Hinduism of northern and southern India and seeks to understand the meanings of the various signs and symbolisms that were incorporated in the architecture of Hindu temples, including the names given to various parts of the temples. The Hindu temples are not only places of worship or ‘houses of Gods’ like the Greek and Roman temples but are also structures that symbolize the dynamicity and also spiritual upliftment of human beings.

Keywords: Hindu, philosophy, temple, Vedic

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27 The Incoherence of the Philosophers as a Defense of Philosophy against Theology

Authors: Edward R. Moad

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Al-Ghazali’s Tahāfat al Falāsifa is widely construed as an attack on philosophy in favor of theological fideism. Consequently, he has been blamed for ‘death of philosophy’ in the Muslim world. ‘Falsifa’ however is not philosophy itself, but rather a range of philosophical doctrines mainly influenced by or inherited form Greek thought. In these terms, this work represents a defense of philosophy against what we could call ‘falsifical’ fideism. In the introduction, Ghazali describes his target audience as, not the falasifa, but a group of pretenders engaged in taqlid to a misconceived understanding of falasifa, including the belief that they were capable of demonstrative certainty in the field of metaphysics. He promises to use falsifa standards of logic (with which he independently agrees), to show that that the falasifa failed to demonstratively prove many of their positions. Whether or not he succeeds in that, the exercise of subjecting alleged proofs to critical scrutiny is quintessentially philosophical, while uncritical adherence to a doctrine, in the name of its being ‘philosophical’, is decidedly unphilosophical. If we are to blame the intellectual decline of the Muslim world on someone’s ‘bad’ way of thinking, rather than more material historical circumstances (which is already a mistake), then blame more appropriately rests with modernist Muslim thinkers who, under the influence of orientalism (and like Ghazali’s philosophical pretenders) mistook taqlid to the falasifa as philosophy itself. The discussion of the Tahāfut takes place in the context of an epistemic (and related social) hierarchy envisioned by the falasifa, corresponding to the faculties of the sense, the ‘estimative imagination’ (wahm), and the pure intellect, along with the respective forms of discourse – rhetoric, dialectic, and demonstration – appropriate to each category of that order. Al-Farabi in his Book of Letters describes a relation between dialectic and demonstration on the one hand, and theology and philosophy on the other. The latter two are distinguished by method rather than subject matter. Theology is that which proceeds dialectically, while philosophy is (or aims to be?) demonstrative. Yet, Al-Farabi tells us, dialectic precedes philosophy like ‘nourishment for the tree precedes its fruit.’ That is, dialectic is part of the process, by which we interrogate common and imaginative notions in the pursuit of clearly understood first principles that we can then deploy in the demonstrative argument. Philosophy is, therefore, something we aspire to through, and from a discursive condition of, dialectic. This stands in apparent contrast to the understanding of Ibn Sina, for whom one arrives at the knowledge of first principles through contact with the Active Intellect. It also stands in contrast to that of Ibn Rushd, who seems to think our knowledge of first principles can only come through reading Aristotle. In conclusion, based on Al-Farabi’s framework, Ghazali’s Tahafut is a truly an exercise in philosophy, and an effort to keep the door open for true philosophy in the Muslim mind, against the threat of a kind of developing theology going by the name of falsifa.

Keywords: philosophy, incoherence, theology, Tahafut

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26 The Consistency of Gerhard Kittel’s “Christian” Antisemitism in His "Die Judenfrage" and "Meine Verteidigung"

Authors: Catherine Harrison

Abstract:

Faced with arrest, imprisonment and the denazification process in 1945, Tübingen University’s Professor of Theology, Gerhard Kittel, refused to abandon the “Christian” antisemitism which he had first expounded in his Die Judenfrage [The Jewish Question] (1933 and 1934). At the heart of this paper is a critical engagement with Die Judenfrage, the first in English. Putting Die Judenfrage into dialogue with Kittel’s 1946, Meine Verteidigung [My Defence] (1945-6) exposes the remarkable consistency of Kittel’s idiosyncratic but closely argued Christian theology of antisemitism. Girdling his career as a foremost theologian, antisemite and enthusiastic supporter of Hitler and the NSDAP, the consistency between Die Judenfrage and Meine Verteidigung attests Kittel’s consistent and authentic, intellectual position. In both texts, he claims to be advancing Christian, as opposed to “vulgar” or racial, antisemitism. Yet, in the thirteen years which divide them, Kittel had mediated contact with Nazi illuminati Rudolph Hess, Alfred Rosenberg, Winnifred Wagner, Josef Goebbels and Baldur von Schirach, through his publications in various antisemitic journals. The paper argues: Die Judenfrage, as both a text and as a theme, is axiomatic to Kittel’s defence statement; and that Die Judenfrage constitutes the template of Kittel’s arcane, personal “Christian” antisemitism of which Meine Verteidigung is a faithful impression. Both are constructed on the same theologically chimeric and abstruse hypotheses regarding Volk, Spätjudentum [late Judaism] and Heilgeschichte [salvation history]. Problematising these and other definitional vagaries that make up Kittel’s “Christian” antisemitism highlight the remarkable theoretical consistency between Die Judenfrage and Meine Verteidigung. It is concluded that a deadly synergy of Nazi racial antisemitism and the New Testament antisemitism shaped Kittel’s judgement to the degree that, despite the slipstream of concentration camp footage which was shaking the foundations of post-war German academia, Meine Verteidigung is a simple restatement of the antisemitsm conveyed in Die Judenfrage.

Keywords: Gerhard Kittel, Third Reich theology, the Jewish Question, Nazi antisemitism

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25 Aquinas Be Damned: Tension between Nothingness and Suffering

Authors: Elizabeth Latham

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Aquinas has long been revered by the Catholic Church as one of the greatest theologians of all time. His most well-known and widely respected theological work, the Summa Theologica has been referenced by countless members of the clergy in support of arguments for and about the existence of God. It is surprising, then, and important that one component in his ontological arguments seems to contradict a precept upheld by the Catechism, the Catholic Church’s comprehensive document detailing their theological positions and laws. In Summa Theologica, Thomas Aquinas argued that God’s eternal existence is both an observable and necessary quality. In the Catechism, the Catholic Church argues that souls in Hell are separated from God, and only souls in Heaven are like him. After introducing research on Philosophical Psychology and the natures of consciousness and pain, this paper comes to the conclusion that in order to reconcile the theology of the Catholic Church at large with that of Thomas Aquinas, one must somehow solve the following problem: if a soul must exist eternally to suffer eternally, it must be like God; and, if a soul is in Hell, it is completely separate from God and not like him at all. Thomas Aquinas deviates at this point from the current theological holdings of the Catholic Church, and this apparent discrepancy must be resolved if the Church hopes to use him going forward as a standard for natural theology.

Keywords: aquinas, catholic catechism, consciousness, philosophical psychology, summa theologica

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24 Transcendence, Spirituality and Well-Being: A Cognitive-Theological Perspective

Authors: Monir Ahmed

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This paper aims at discussing transcendence, spirituality, and well-being in light of the psychology of religion and spirituality. The main purpose of this paper is i) to demonstrate the importance of cognitive psychological process (thoughts, faith, and beliefs) and the doctrine of creation (‘creatio ex nihilo’) in transcendence, spirituality, and well-being; ii) to discuss the relationships among transcendence, spirituality, and well-being. Psychological studies of spiritual and religious phenomena have been advanced in the decade, mainly to understand how faith, spiritual and religious rituals influence or contribute to well-being. Psychologists of religion and spirituality have put forward methods, tools, and approaches necessary for promoting well-being. For instance, Kenneth I. Pargament, an American psychologist of religion and spirituality, developed spiritually integrated psychotherapy for clinical practice in dealing with the spiritual and religious issues affecting well-being. However, not much progress has been made in understanding the ability of transcendence and how such ability influences spirituality and religion as well as well-being. A possible reason could be that well-being has only been understood in a spiritual and religious context. It appears that transcendence, the core element of spirituality and religion, has not been explored adequately for well-being. In other words, the approaches that have been used so far for spirituality, religion, and well-being lack an integrated approach combining theology and psychology. The author of this paper proposes that cognitive-theological understanding involving faith and belief about the creation and the creator, the transcendent God is likely to offer a comprehensive understanding of transcendence as well as spirituality, religion, and their relationships with well-being. The importance of transcendence and the integration of psychology and theology can advance our knowledge of transcendence, spirituality, and well-being. It is inevitable that the creation is contingent and that the ultimate origin, source of the contingent physical reality, is a non-contingent being, the divine creator. As such, it is not unreasonable for many individuals to believe that the source of existence of non-contingent being, although undiscoverable in physical reality but transcendentally exists. ‘Creatio ex nihilo’ is the most fundamental doctrine in the Abrahamic faiths, i.e., Judaism, Christianity and Islam, and is widely accepted scriptural and philosophical background about the creation, creator, the divine that God created the universe out of nothing. Therefore, it is crucial to integrate theology, i.e., ‘creatio ex nihilo’ doctrine and psychology for a comprehensive understanding of transcendence, spirituality and their relationships with well-being.

Keywords: transcendence, spirituality, well-being, ‘creatio ex nihilo’ doctrine

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23 The Theology of a Muslim Artist: Tawfiq al-Hakim

Authors: Abdul Rahman Chamseddine

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Tawfiq al-Hakim remains one of the most prominent playwrights in his native in Egypt, and in the broader Arab world. His works, at the time of their release, drew international attention and acclaim. His first 1933 masterpiece Ahl al-Kahf (The People of the Cave) especially, garnered fame and recognition in both Europe and the Arab world. Borrowing its title from the Qur’anic Sura, al-Hakim’s play relays the untold story of the life of those 'three saints' after they wake up from their prolonged sleep. The playwright’s selection of topics upon which to base his works displays a deep appreciation of Arabic and Islamic heritage. Al-Hakim was clearly influenced by Islam, to such a degree that he wrote the biography of the Prophet Muhammad in 1936 very early in his career. Knowing that Al-Hakim was preceded by many poets and creative writers in writing the Prophet Muhammad’s biography. Notably like Al-Barudi, Ahmad Shawqi, Haykal, Al-‘Aqqad, and Taha Husayn who have had their own ways in expressing their views of the Prophet Muhammad. The attempt to understand the concern of all those renaissance men and others in the person of the Prophet would be indispensable in this study. This project will examine the reasons behind al-Hakim’s choice to draw upon these particular texts, embedded as they are in the context of Arabic and Islamic heritage, and how the use of traditional texts serves his contemporary goals. The project will also analyze the image of Islam in al-Hakim’s imagination. Elsewhere, he envisions letters or conversations between God and himself, which offers a window into understanding the powerful impact of the Divine on Tawfiq al-Hakim, one that informs his literature and merits further scholarly attention. His works occupying a major rank in Arabic literature, does not reveal Al-Hakim solely but the unquestioned assumptions operative in the life of his community, its mental make-up and its attitudes. Furthermore, studying the reception of works that touch on sensitive issues, like writing a letter to God, in Al-Hakim’s historical context would be of a great significance in the process of comprehending the mentality of the Muslim community at that time.

Keywords: Arabic language, Arabic literature, Arabic theology, modern Arabic literature

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22 Constitutive Role of Light in Christian Sacred Architecture

Authors: Sokol Gojnik, Zorana; Gojnik, Igor

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Light is the central theme of sacred architecture of all religions and so of Christianity. The aim of this paper is to emphasize the inner sense of light and its constitutive role in Christian sacred architecture. The theme of light in Christian sacred architecture is fundamentally connected to its meaning and symbolism of light in Christian theology and liturgy. This fundamental connection is opening the space to the symbolic and theological comprehending of light which was present throughout the history of Christianity and which is lacking in contemporary sacred architecture.

Keywords: light, sacred architecture, religious architecture, phenomenology of architecture

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21 Difference and Haeccities: On the Religious Foundations of Deleuze’s Philosophy of Difference

Authors: Tony See

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Although much has been devoted to Deleuze’s ethics of difference, relatively little has been focused on how his political perspective is informed by his appropriation of religious ideas and theological concepts. The bulk of the scholarly works have examined his political views with the assumption that they have little or nothing to do with his ideas of religions at all. This is in spite of the fact that Deleuze has drawn heavily from religious and theological thinkers such as Duns Scotus, Spinoza and Nietzsche. This dimension can also be traced in Deleuze’s later works, when he collaborated with Felix Guattari in creating an anti-Oedipal philosophy of difference after May 68. This paper seeks to reverse the tendency in contemporary scholarship ignore Deleuze’s ‘religious’ framework in his understanding of the ethical and the political. Towards this aim, we will refer to key texts in Deleuze’s corpus such as Expressionism in Philosophy, A Thousand Plateaus and others.

Keywords: difference, haeccities, identity, religion, theology

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20 The Necessity and Methods of Abolishing Discrimination and Religious Violence

Authors: Hossein Boroujerdi, Mohammad R. Sadeghi, Maryam Moazen Zadeh

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During the recent decades, the result of religious prophets has lost its attraction, and theology has become disfigured, so it has been made ugly. Undoubtedly, some of existing non-peaceful and harsh rules and measures within the religious books and contexts have been considered as the reasons and excuses for defamation of religions. Based on library sources and also extensive research in Quran and Islamic narratives, this study has aimed to find some alternative solutions and options to abolish and disregard those religious rules which are in contrary of human right charters and standards. The results have demonstrated that some of inhuman religious punishments such as execution, stoning, whipping as well as religious discriminations and warlike behaviors are in contrary of some other religious contexts and concepts. This finding have proved inadaptability between some religious contexts and religious records.

Keywords: adjustment and abolishment, discrimination, religious commands and laws, tolerance, violence

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19 A ‘Just and Loving Gaze’ on Sexuality and Attachment: Why I Think (Not) All Homosexual Relationships are Borne Out of an Abandonment and Attachment Crisis

Authors: Victor Counted

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John Bowlby's Attachment theory is often a framework used by many researchers to understand human relationship experiences with close 'others'. In this short brief on sexuality, I tried to discuss homosexual relationships from three attachment positions, or if you like, conditions, in relation to the compensation and correspondence hypothesis used to understand an individual's attachment orientation with an attachment figure who is seen as a secure base, safe haven, and some kind of target for proximity seeking. Drawing from the springs of virtue and hope in light of Murdock’s ‘just and love gaze’ model, I allowed myself to see the homosexual cases cited in positive terms, as I related to the situations and experiences of our homosexual ‘others’ from the guiding herald of Moltmann's theology of hope. This approach allowed me to conclusively convince readers to engage sexuality from a tolerating tendency of hope in our thinking and thoughts towards the actions and conditions of our dynamic world which is always plunging toward the future.

Keywords: attachment, wellbeing, sexuality, homosexuality, abandonment, tolerance of hope, wise fool

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18 A Comparative Study of Milton’s Paradise Lost and the Quran in Islam

Authors: Najmeh Dehghanitafti

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Paradise Lost, John Milton's epic poem of theology and cosmology, gained substantial critical attention in the twentieth century. Milton's illustration of Satan and Eve and his allusions to the Bible can be an interesting source of criticism for the scholars who try to analyze Milton's works in terms of religious studies. Therefore, various studies of Paradise Lost try to investigate this epic in terms of religions beyond Christianity. Paradise Lost's comparison with religious books such as the Qur’an in Islam in terms of character illustration created multiple translations of this epic into Arabic. Accordingly, this paper aims to compare Miltonic Satan versus Quranic Iblis based on Inani’s translation of Paradise Lost into Arabic. This study also tries to investigate Miltonic and Quranic view of Eve to find out the similarities and differences between Christianity and Islam in terms of feminism.

Keywords: Eve, feminism, Iblis, Paradise Lost, Satan, The Quran

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17 Spirituality in Adults with Developmental Disabilities in the Practice of Pastoral Care Ministry

Authors: Olutayo Stephen Shodipo

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This paper explores how individuals with disabilities understand and express their spirituality like everyone else can help provide church ministers and religious leaders with new knowledge of human experience and change the way pastoral care ministry is being practiced with this population. Disability literature has revealed studies on various aspects of disability. However, on the spirituality of people with disabilities, there is a gap. This paper offers a brief overview of what has been studied on the spiritual needs of adults with developmental disabilities (ADDs) and the church and the gap that still exists. Along with explaining this gap, it considers the reality of ADDs’ spiritual needs and why the church needs to validate their spirituality and religious expressions and create an inclusive environment where their spiritual experience and expressions can be enhanced and supported. This paper, then, aims to explore the diverse spiritual experiences of ADDs in faith communities, and their theological, moral, and social implications for Pastoral care ministry practices.

Keywords: spirituality, inclusive ministry, pastoral theology, developmental disability, pastoral care

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16 The Role of Interactive White Boards towards Achieving Transactional Learning in the Context of Open Distance Learning

Authors: M. Van Zyl, M. H. A. Combrinck, E. J. Spamer

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Due to the need for higher education in South Africa, the country experiences a rapid growth in open distance learning, especially in rural areas. It is difficult for people to enrol fulltime at contact universities, owing to work and financial constraints. The Unit for Open Distance Learning (UODL) at the North-West University (NWU), Potchefstroom campus, South Africa was established in 2013 with its main function to deliver open distance learning programmes to 30 000 students from the Faculties of Education Sciences, Theology and Health Sciences. With the use of interactive whiteboards (IWBs), the NWU and UODL are now able to deliver lectures to students concurrently at 60 regional open learning centres across Southern Africa as well as to an unlimited number of individuals with Internet access worldwide. Although IWBs are not new, our initiative is to use them more extensively in order to create more contact between lecturers and students. To be able to ensure and enhance quality education it is vital to determine students’ perceptions on the delivery of programmes by means of IWBs. Therefore, the aim of the study is to explore students’ perceptions for the use of IWBs in the delivery of programmes in terms of Moore’s Theory of Transactional Distance.

Keywords: interactive white board, open distance learning, technology, transactional learning

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15 A Comparative Analysis on the Perspectives of Secular and Non-Secular Male Groups on Female Masturbation

Authors: Marc Angelo C. Balon, Maxine Joy A. Yongoyong

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Female masturbation has been an age-old controversy. In fact, it is not widely talked about specifically in the Philippines since the Filipino culture still preserves the space for conservativeness. Although, considering the numerous and emerging studies on female masturbation, this study will focus on the perspectives of secular and non-secular male groups with regard to female masturbation. The objectives of this study is to identify the perceptions of these male groups and their taking on considering women who masturbate as their sexual partner, as a sexual object, and as a life partner and lastly, to have a comparative analysis of the perceptions of these male groups drawing out their sense of meaning on the masturbation of women. The researchers made use of purposive sampling technique and interview guide questionnaire. The secular male group were psychology students while the non-secular male group was drawn from a Catholic Church seminary in Tagaytay City, Cavite. Results showed that the secular male group had scientific perspectives such as exploring the genitals, contradicting moral perspectives on masturbation as a regular practice, while the non-secular male groups had theological perspectives in accordance with the fundamental moral theology, moral perspectives and perspectives on masturbation as a regular practice. Moreover, men who came from the non-secular group highly believe that masturbation is immoral. Otherwise, men who came from the secular group noted that masturbation is primary physiological need.

Keywords: secular, non-secular, masturbation, comparative analysis

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14 The Significance of Community Life in Promoting Unity in the Light of Acts 2:42

Authors: Takesure Mahohoma

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Community life is an epitome of the African axiom 'I am because we are, since we are therefore I am.' This culminates in the Ubuntu philosophy which is summarized in the Zulu words, 'umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu' (A person is a person through other people). This relationship gives honour to all people. This is the gist of the paper. This paper seeks to demonstrate the impact of community life in promoting unity from an African perspective. Using the proto-community in Acts 2:42, it is argued that community life is a solution to many social problems that divide African society today. The aim is to encourage all Africans and other people to cultivate a sense of belonging and valuing community life in the light of Acts 2:42. Hence we shall trace this theme from Old Testament, New Testament, and Christian history. The other section touches on the essence of community life and obstacles that hinder it. We shall offer spiritual suggestions and an integrative reflection. The nature of the paper is theology in general but spiritual in particular. As a spiritual paper, it is guided by the foundational approach. Thus, it employs the dialogical and integrative reflection method. The expected result is that freedom from all the miseries experienced is brought by living a community life. This is a life that gives greater assurance of enough food, education, health, peace, employment, and increased responsibility that values human dignity. Thus people are neighbours to each other. There is no stranger among them. The basic presumption is that there can be no development in any society without community life.

Keywords: community, seged, koinonia, neighbor

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13 The Beat of 'Desolation Row', 50 Years on

Authors: May Ziade

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Postgraduate studies in English language and literature at the University of Sydney provided opportunity for research into one of the most significant singer/songwriters of our time, Bob Dylan, and his masterpiece from the mid-1960s, ‘Desolation Row’. With a title alluding to Jack Kerouac’s Desolation Angels as well as John Steinbeck’s Cannery Row, ‘Desolation Row’ is Bob Dylan’s magnum opus. Recorded on August 4 1965, it takes pride of place as the last track on the revolutionary 1965 album of rock poetics, Highway 61 Revisited. From its inception, its epic proportions (ten long verses) and rich and baffling imagery got our attention - it amused, fascinated and beguiled. The song’s surreal and dreamlike landscape and its cast of characters, drawn from history, fiction, mythology, theology, and popular culture, lured us in and begged interpretation. What were they doing there? Where is Desolation Row? Do they want to escape from or go to ‘Desolation Row’? What was Dylan writing about and what were his influences? Through literary analysis and historical research, this paper will examine the song’s lyrics, the mid-60s context and Dylan’s vast influences to make sense, offer explanations and make connections. In particular, research findings place the Beat poets and oeuvre as a significant literary influence but it is a rich, multilayered text that straddles traditions and emerges as a paradox – a paradox that has endured and endeared itself to many. As it turns 50 this year, what better way to acknowledge this momentous occasion than at an international English language conference.

Keywords: analysis, Bob Dylan, beat context, desolation row

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12 Student Perceptions on Administrative Support in the Delivering of Open Distance Learning Programmes – A Case Study

Authors: E. J. Spamer, J. M. Van Zyl, MHA Combrinck

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The Unit for Open Distance Learning (UODL) at the North-West University (NWU), South Africa was established in 2013 with its main function to deliver open distance learning (ODL) programmes to approximately 30 000 students from the Faculties of Education Sciences, Health Sciences, Theology and Arts and Culture. Quality operational and administrative processes are key components in the delivery of these programmes and they need to function optimally for students to be successful in their studies. Operational and administrative processes include aspects such as applications, registration, dissemination of study material, availability of electronic platforms, the management of assessment, and the dissemination of important information. To be able to ensure and enhance quality during these processes, it is vital to determine students’ perceptions with regards to these mentioned processes. A questionnaire was available online and also distributed to the 63 tuition centres. The purpose of this research was to determine the perceptions of ODL students from NWU regarding operational and administrative processes. 1903 students completed and submitted the questionnaire. The data was quantitatively analysed and discussed. Results indicated that the majority of students are satisfied with the operational and administrative processes; however, the results also indicated some areas that need improvement. The data gathered is important to identify strengths and areas for improvement and form part of a bigger strategy of qualitative assurance at the UODL.

Keywords: administrative support, ODL programmes, quantitative study, students' perceptions

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11 Geometrical Analysis of Tiling Patterns in Azari Style: The Case of Tabriz Kaboud Mosque

Authors: Seyyedeh Faezeh Miralami, Sahar Sayyadchapari, Mona Laleh, Zahra Poursafar

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Tiling patterns are magnificent display of decoration in Islamic period. They transform the dusty and dreary facades to splendid and ornate ones. Due to ideological factors and elements of Azari style decorations, geometrical patterns and vegetative designs became prevalent and pervasive in religious sites like mosques. Objectives: The objective of this research is a study of tiling patterns in Tabriz Kaboud mosque, as a splendid work of architecture in Azari style. In this study, the geometrical designs and tiling patterns employed in the mosque decorations are examined and analyzed. Method: The research is based on a descriptive analysis method. Data and information are collected based on documents library and field study. Then, polished and brushed, the study resulted in an illustrative conclusion. Findings: In religious sites such as mosques, geometry represents ‘divination’ in Christian theology and ‘Unity with God’ or ‘Tawhid’ in Islamic terminology. In other words, science, literature, architecture, and all forms of human expression and representation are pointed towards one cause, unity or divination. Tiling patterns of Kaboud Mosque, mostly hexagonal, circular, square and triangle, form outstanding architectonic features which recount a story, a narration of divination or unification with the One.

Keywords: tiling, Azari style, Tabriz Kaboud Mosque, Islamic architecture

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10 Confess Your Sins to One Another: An Exploration of the Biblical Validity and the Psychological Efficacy of the Sacrament of Reconciliation in the Catholic Church

Authors: M. B. Peter

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The Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation has long been upheld, by the Catholic Church, as one of the Sacraments of healing, mainly due to the sense of peace, tranquility and psychological quiescence it accords the penitent upon receiving Sacramental absolution of sin through the action of the priest. This paper explores the Sacramental character of this practice and the psychological benefits of the celebration of the Sacrament. This is achieved in two parts: firstly, by the intellectual engagement of Sacred Scripture and the consolidated Sacred Tradition that the Catholic magisterium protects and, secondly, via a broad survey of the works of Carl Gustav Jung and Orval Hobart Mowrer regarding confession and forgiveness. The former will serve to demonstrate the Catholic belief of the divine institution of the Sacrament whilst the latter will demonstrate how this belief, coupled with the existing benefit of confessing guilt, collectively bolsters the Sacrament’s overall psychological efficacy. Fundamentally, the analysis of Jung and Mowrer’s works demonstrate that man, as a naturally religious being, has an inherent need for the confession of his wrong that he might be alleviated of psychological guilt in obtaining forgiveness of a (divinely ordained) minister who is sanctioned to absolve, i.e. the priest. The paper also presents the curative effect of the celebration of this Sacrament, illustrating how, without the act of confession, man remains in moral isolation from God and man; and, that with it, man is relieved of the mysterious feeling of guilt which lies at the root of his disquiet of mind and disturbance of will. Thus, the paper penultimately establishes how the Sacrament of Reconciliation is positioned in that place where psychology and theology meet: man’s sense of guilt. It is Jung’s views on confession and forgiveness that ultimately bridge the chasm between psychology and Christianity.

Keywords: Catholic, confession, Jung, Mowrer, penance, psychology, Sacrament of Reconciliation

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9 Rival Conceptions of Sovereignty in Modern South Asian Political Thought: An Analysis Through the Writings of Maulana Syed Abul Ala Maududi and Maulana Hifzurrahman Seoharvi

Authors: Mohammad Saif

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In the post-Westphalianworld order, the concept of sovereignty has been a fundamental area of inquiry in Political Science, International Relations, and International Law. Modern Islamic political thought has also dedicated a fair share of debate on the subject. The debate fundamentally revolves around the ‘ontological differentiation’ between western and Islamic political thought. While the centrality of the individual in western political thought regards the individual as the center of universe, Islamic Political thought provides that space to God. The modern liberal democratic principles suggest sovereignty as one of the major attributes of modern nation state; Islamists regard sovereignty as an attribute of God. However, the position regarding God’ssovereignty in Islamic political thought is not coherent in conception. Some scholars regard such a position as ‘the political interpretation of Islam’. This paper is an attempt to first analyze the fundamental discord between two rival political ideologies (western and Islamic), and then forward a debate on the subject of sovereignty in South Asian Islamic Political thought, particularly between Syed Abul Ala Maududi (ideological father of modern islamist movements) andHifzurrahmanSeoharvi (lesser known in Academia but highly influential in shaping Deobandi position of principles related to political nature of Islamic theology). Maududi regardssovereignty as an attribute of God and the rulers as subservient to Gods will, Seoharvi suggests that God's sovereignty does not entail that the caliph or amir cannot be a ruler or hakim, nor can his command or hukum be an order. Certain references have also been made to contemporary scholars like Sayidd Qutub, Rashid al Ghanouchi, who in one way or the other have contributed to the debate on ‘sovereignty in Islamic thought’.

Keywords: nation state, sovereigty, sovereignty of God (Hakimmiyah), deoband

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8 An Investigation into the Ideological Facets Involved in Western Interpretations of the History of Communism

Authors: Anna Stoutenburg

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With the rise of the so-called 'new left' within the United States, marked by social democratic figures such as Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, significant questions have been raised in response to those who would identify with the term 'socialist'. These queries typically revolve around the negatively perceived legacy of past and present countries that share the term in question, with the stark conclusion that not only is socialism a structure that does not work economically, but that it also tends to inflict more harm on those living under it that would be endured in a country functioning under capitalism. In order to examine these claims, the goal of this paper is to examine the legacy of anti-communist historiography in a western context, with the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, China, and modern Venezuela used as case studies for how this phenomenon operates. Not only will key portions of each nation’s history be re-examined, but there will also be a critical analysis of source cultivation and usage among western historians. The intent of this paper is not merely to deride previous attempts at historicizing and reporting on the events of the nations, but rather to attempt to glean a clearer picture that is free from anti-communist sentiments. Theoretical works that will be consulted in order to define this project are 'The Historiography of Communism' by Michael Brown, as well as 'Beyond Philosophy: Ethics, History, Marxism, and Liberation Theology' by Enrique Dussel. The latter will provide insights concerning why these questions are relevant in a larger context, namely by articulating how the means of liberation understood through an analectic method can be achieved structurally. For a majority of leftists, this question is integral, and by using history as a tool, the ways that political organizing can be used can be better understood, bridging the gap between the common assumption that the communist legacy is a dire one and the idea that it is something which needs to be completely lauded.

Keywords: anti-communism, history, ideology, Marxism

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7 The Saying of Conceptual Metaphors about Law, Righteousness, and Justice in the Old Testament: Cardinal Tendencies

Authors: Ivana Prochazkova

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Cognitive linguistics offers biblical scholarship a specific methodological tool for analysis and interpretation of metaphorical expressions. Its methodology makes it possible to study processes involved in constructing the meaning of individual metaphorical expressions and whole conceptual metaphors; to analyze their function in the text; to follow the semantic development of concepts and conceptual domains, and to trace semantic changes and their motivation. The legal language in the Hebrew canon is extremely specific and formalized. Especially in the preambles to the collections of laws in the Pentateuch, more general considerations of the motif of keeping and breaking the law are encountered. This is also true in the psalms and wisdom literature. Legal theory and the philosophy of law deal with these motifs today. Metaphors play an important role in texts that reflect on more general issues. The purpose of this conference contribution is to write all over the central metaphorical concept, conceptual metaphor ךרד תורה (TORAH/LAW IS A JOURNEY), its function in the Torah and principal trends of the further development in the Prophets and the Writings. The conceptual metaphor תורה ךרד (TORAH/LAW IS A JOURNEY) constitutes a coherent system in conjunction with other metaphors that include e.g., conceptual metaphors נחה תורה (TORAH/LAW LEADS); its variant רעה תורה (TORAH IS A SHEPHERD/GUIDE); מקור תורה (TORAH/LAW IS A FOUNTAIN/A SOURCE OF LIFE). Some conceptual metaphors are well known, and their using are conventional (עשׁר תורה TORAH/LAW IS RICHES, שׂשׂון תורה TORAH/LAW IS DELIGHT, דבשׁ תורה TORAH/LAW IS HONEY, שׁמשׁ תורה TORAH/LAW IS SUN ). But some conceptual metaphors are by its occurrence innovative and unique (e.g., שׁריון תורה TORAH /LAW IS BODY ARMOR, כובע תורה TORAH /LAW IS A HELMET, בגד תורה TORAH/LAW IS A GARMENT, etc.). There will be given examples. Conceptual metaphors will be described by means of some 'metaphorical vehicles,' which are Hebrew expressions in the source domain that are repeatedly used in metaphorical conceptualizations of the target domain(s). Conceptual metaphors will be further described by means of 'generic narrative structures,' which are the particular aspects of a conceptual metaphor that emerge during the metaphorical structuring of concepts. They are the units of the metaphorical vehicles – the Hebrew expressions in the source domain – that structure concepts in much the same way that the conceptual metaphor in the target domain does. And finally, they will be described by means of the network of correspondences that exist between metaphorical vehicles – or generic metaphorical structures – and the Hebrew expressions in the target domain.

Keywords: cognitive theology, conceptual metaphor in the Old Testament, conceptual metaphors of the Torah, conceptual domain of law, righteousness, and justice

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6 Wrestling with Religion: A Theodramatic Exploration of Morality in Popular Culture

Authors: Nicholas Fieseler

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The nature of religion implicit in popular culture is relevant both in and out of the university. The traditional rules-based conception of religion and the ethical systems that emerge from them do not necessarily convey the behavior of daily life as it exists apart from spaces deemed sacred. This paper proposes to examine the religion implicit in the popular culture phenomenon of professional wrestling and how that affects the understanding of popular religion. Pro wrestling, while frequently dismissed, offers a unique manner through which to re-examine religion in popular culture. A global phenomenon, pro wrestling occupies a distinct space in numerous countries and presents a legitimate reflection of human behavior cross-culturally on a scale few other phenomena can equal. Given its global viewership of millions, it should be recognized as a significant means of interpreting the human attraction to violence and its association with religion in general. Hans Urs von Balthasar’s theory of Theodrama will be used to interrogate the inchoate religion within pro wrestling. While Balthasar developed theodrama within the confines of Christian theology; theodrama contains remarkable versatility in its potential utility. Since theodrama re-envisions reality as drama, the actions of every human actor on the stage contributes to the play’s development, and all action contains some transcendent value. It is in this sense that even the “low brow” activity of pro wrestling may be understood in religious terms. Moreover, a pro wrestling storyline acts as a play within a play: the struggles in a pro wrestling match reflect the human attitudes toward life as it exists in the sacred and profane realms. The indistinct lines separating traditionally good (face) from traditionally bad (heel)wrestlers mirror the moral ambiguity in which many people interpret life. This blurred distinction between good and bad, and large segments of an audience’s embrace of the heel wrestlers, reveal ethical constraints that guide the everyday values of pro wrestling spectators, a moral ambivalence that is often overlooked by traditional religious systems, and which has hitherto been neglected in the academic literature on pro wrestling. The significance of interpreting the religion implicit in pro wrestling through a the dramatic lens extends beyond pro wrestling specifically and can examine the religion implicit in popular culture in general. The use of theodrama mitigates the rigid separation often ascribed to areas deemed sacred/ profane, ortranscendent / immanent, enabling a re-evaluation of religion and ethical systems as practiced in popular culture. The use of theodrama will be expressed by utilizing the pro wrestling match as a literary text that reflects the society from which it emerges. This analysis will also reveal the complex nature of religion in popular culture and provides new directions for the academic study of religion. This project consciously bridges the academic and popular realms. The goal of the research is not to add only to the academic literature on implicit religion in popular culture but to publish it in a form which speaks to those outside the standard academic audiences for such work.

Keywords: ethics, popular religion, professional wrestling, theodrama

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5 Religious Discourses and Their Impact on Regional and Global Geopolitics: A Study of Deobandi in India, Pakistan and Afghanistan

Authors: Soumya Awasthi

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The spread of radical ideology is possible not merely through public meetings, protests, and mosques but even in schools, seminaries, and madrasas. The rhetoric created around the relationship between religion and conflict has been the primary factor for instigating global conflicts – when religion is used to achieve broader objectives. There have been numerous cases of religion-driven conflict around the world be it the Jewish revolt between 66 AD and 628 AD or the 1119 AD the Crusades revolt or during the Cold War period or the rise of right-wing politics in India. Some of the major developments which reiterate the significance of religion in the contemporary times include: (1) The emergence of theocracy in Iran in 1979 (2) Resurgence of world-wide religious beliefs in post-Soviet space. (3) Emergence of transnational terrorism shaped by twisted depiction of Islam by the self proclaimed protectors of the religion. Therefore this paper is premised in the argument that religion has always found itself on the periphery of the discipline of International Relations (IR), and has received less attention than it deserves. The focus of the topic is on the discourses of ‘Deobandi’ and its impact both on the geopolitics of the region- particularly in India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan- and also at the global level. Discourse is a mechanism in use since time immemorial and has been a key tool to mobilise masses against the ruling authority. With the help of field surveys, qualitative and analytical method of research in religion and international relations, it has been found that they are numerous madrassas that are running illegally and are unregistered. These seminaries are operating in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Federally Administered Tribal Area (FATA). During the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, relation between religion and geopolitics was highlighted when there was a sudden spread of radical ideas, finding support from countries like Saudi Arabia (who funded the campaign) and Pakistan (which organised the Saudi funds and set up training camps, both educational and military). During this period there was a huge influence of Wahabi theology on the madrasas which started with Deoband philosophy and later became a mix of Wahabi (influenced by Ahmad Ibn Hannabal and Ibn Taimmiya) and Deobandi philosophy, tending towards fundamentalism. Later the impact of regional geopolitics had influence on the global geopolitics when the incidents like attack on the US in 2001, bomb blasts in U.K, Indonesia, Turkey, and Israel in 2000s. In the midst of all this, there were several scholars who pointed towards Deobandi Philosophy as one of the drivers in the creation of armed Islamic groups in Pakistan, Afghanistan. Hence this paper will make an attempt to understand the trend as to how Deobandi religious discourses originating from India have changed over the decades, and who the agents of such changes are. It will throw light on Deoband from pre-independence till date to create a narrative around the religious discourses and Deobandi philosophy and its spill over impact on the map of global and regional security.

Keywords: Deobandi School of Thought, radicalization, regional and global geopolitics, religious discourses, Whabi movement

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