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Religions, Volume 14, Issue 12 (December 2023) – 111 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): This essay discusses the pedagogical value of hagiology by examining how medieval Persian hagiographies can be used to explore the concept of “interpellation”: the process by which individuals are constituted as subjects in particular ideological systems. This essay uses an analysis of Rumi’s celebrated tale, “Moses and the Shepherd”, to demonstrate how hagiological approaches are valuable not just in understanding how a saint is constructed in a particular historical and cultural context but also how an audience is constructed and interpellated. The essay then introduces a pedagogical exercise that connects an analysis of Islamic hagiographies with an exploration of how students are interpellated with modern subjectivities in our contemporary ideological systems. View this paper
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0 pages, 868 KiB  
Article
Religion and Sexuality: Reading the Sixth Commandment (“You Shall Not Commit Adultery”) in the Context of Late Ming China
Religions 2023, 14(12), 1552; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14121552 - 18 Dec 2023
Viewed by 734
Abstract
This article examines concubinage in late Ming China through Foucaudian discourse analysis of sexuality in order to explore different responses to the Sixth Commandment by the Jesuits and Chinese literati. It will be interdisciplinary and conducted by way of philology, sexuality studies, feminist [...] Read more.
This article examines concubinage in late Ming China through Foucaudian discourse analysis of sexuality in order to explore different responses to the Sixth Commandment by the Jesuits and Chinese literati. It will be interdisciplinary and conducted by way of philology, sexuality studies, feminist studies, cross-cultural criticism, and inter-religious dialogue. Topics include the relationship between religion and sexuality, concubinage in late Ming China, the Jesuits’ attitude towards concubinage, and the case study of the Confucian Catholic Wang Zheng’s struggle. A cross-cultural study of the Six Commandment not only illustrates the complex interaction between religion, sexuality, and gender but also presents early encounters of the Chinese and Christian cultures and the dialogues between them. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue History and Theology of Chinese Christianity)
21 pages, 322 KiB  
Article
Pantheism from the Perspective of Wittgensteinian Nonoverlapping Magisteria (WNOMA)
Religions 2023, 14(12), 1551; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14121551 - 18 Dec 2023
Viewed by 957
Abstract
This essay examines pantheism within the framework of the ‘faith and reason’ field in the philosophy of religion, with an emphasis on the question of the relationship between pantheism and empirical–scientific rationality. I address this question from what I call the Wittgensteinian Nonoverlapping [...] Read more.
This essay examines pantheism within the framework of the ‘faith and reason’ field in the philosophy of religion, with an emphasis on the question of the relationship between pantheism and empirical–scientific rationality. I address this question from what I call the Wittgensteinian Nonoverlapping Magisteria (WNOMA) approach to religion and science. WNOMA affirms a categorial difference between religious and scientific language and attitudes. This difference is interpreted with the help of Wittgenstein’s distinction between religious and scientific beliefs and van Fraassen’s distinction between religious and empiricist stances. This means that WNOMA is antievidentialist regarding religious beliefs and sees the experiential and instinctive aspects of religion as more fundamental than the systematic–intellectual aspect. Part of the variety in contemporary pantheism relates to the question of whether the emphasis is on the experiential–spiritual side of pantheism or its intellectual side, i.e., whether pantheism is ‘hot’ or ‘cold’. I examine a few telling examples: Spinoza, Einstein, the World Pantheism Movement and a recent awe-some argument for pantheism by Ryan Byerly. The main contribution of this paper is a critical reading of these versions of pantheism from a WNOMA perspective, through which I hope to establish the plausibility and show some of the persuasive force of the WNOMA approach to pantheism, focusing on the relation of pantheism to scientific rationality on the one hand and felt experience on the other. I argue that hotter kinds of pantheism can be intellectually virtuous if they find a way to combine the empiricist stance and pantheist religious stance, even without a developed philosophical or theological system. I also argue that colder and philosophically rigorous pantheism can be problematic if it assumes religious evidentialism, neglects the experiential part of pantheism in favor of intellectualism or/and confuses the spheres of science and religion. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion, Science and Technology in Pantheism, Animism and Paganism)
21 pages, 1384 KiB  
Article
The Strategy of Interpreting the Daodejing through Confucianism in Park Se-dang’s Sinju Dodeokgyeong
Religions 2023, 14(12), 1550; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14121550 - 18 Dec 2023
Viewed by 681
Abstract
This research study examines Park Se-dang’s Sinju Dodeokgyeong, which was the first complete exegesis of the Daodejing (DDJ) in Korea. This study investigates the theoretical strategies that Park used to interpret the DDJ from a Neo-Confucian perspective and also examines the logical [...] Read more.
This research study examines Park Se-dang’s Sinju Dodeokgyeong, which was the first complete exegesis of the Daodejing (DDJ) in Korea. This study investigates the theoretical strategies that Park used to interpret the DDJ from a Neo-Confucian perspective and also examines the logical missteps that Park took to force a unity between Neo-Confucianism and Daoism. The core method for interpreting the DDJ that Park utilized in his attempt to assert the compatibility of Neo-Confucianism and Daoism can be summarized as “interpreting Daoism through Neo-Confucian theory”. This research study breaks down Park’s strategy for reinterpreting the DDJ, dividing Park’s argumentation into four parts: (1.) clarifying the historical hereticalization of the DDJ; (2.) identifying the ethics and treasured virtues of Confucianism and Daoism; (3.) the study of the cosmologies of Confucianism and Daoism; and (4.) interpreting Daoist moral ethics through Neo-Confucian cosmological theory. Park Se-dang’s strategy for forcing unity between Neo-Confucianism and Daoism had its limits. Among other things, Park attempted but failed to narrow the gap between Confucian and Daoist ethics and cosmology by converting the concept of "heaven" in the DDJ into a humanized heaven. Eventually, even though Park’s strategy failed, his work inspired other Silhak scholars of Joseon up to the 19th century and had a clear impact on the many subsequent reinterpretations of the DDJ. Full article
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26 pages, 886 KiB  
Article
“Mills of God”: Two Ways of Envisaging Justice and Punishment in Greek Antiquity
Religions 2023, 14(12), 1549; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14121549 - 18 Dec 2023
Viewed by 567
Abstract
This paper discusses two typical Greek traditions of envisaging punishments for wrongdoings: one is the religious idea of inherited responsibility, and the other is the invention and evolution of the notion of hell. The former idea, sometimes summarized by authorities such as Gustave [...] Read more.
This paper discusses two typical Greek traditions of envisaging punishments for wrongdoings: one is the religious idea of inherited responsibility, and the other is the invention and evolution of the notion of hell. The former idea, sometimes summarized by authorities such as Gustave Glotz, Eric Dodds, and Hugh Lloyd-Jones under the terms inherited guilt, ancestral fault, and responsabilité héréditaire, is one of the major themes running through the writings of authors of both the Archaic and Classical periods, and is found in genres such as elegy, historiography, oratory, and prominently tragedy. As a core idea of Greek literature, it suggests that the descendants of wrongdoers are punished not for their own sins but for those of their ancestors. With the exclusion of ideas of a punishing hell, an afterlife, and the transmigration of souls, the doctrine of inherited responsibility has its own necessity for sustaining belief in the efficacy of divine punishment, given the common human experience that evil generally escapes punishment. Solon is the first Greek author to make such a statement explicitly. The latter tradition has a much longer history, which runs from Homer to Plato. Nonetheless, the descriptions of hell from Homer onwards do not remain consistent and uniform. Its evolution with the gradual incorporation of religious ideas such as afterlife punishment and transmigration of souls witnesses the need for a much more self-sufficient interpretation of cosmic justice than the notion of inherited responsibility. One interesting fact about the two traditions is that both have coexisted in the same period of time in the testimony of contemporary authors and even in the same author, notably Herodotus and Plato. Nonetheless, “with the growing emancipation of the individual from the old family solidarity”, the former idea has to give way to the latter. And in turn, the notion of inherited responsibility that gradually becomes unacceptable prompts the maturation of hell by the introduction of new elements from eschatological movements. This paper is divided into five parts. The first part serves as an introduction. The second part discusses the Homeric depiction of the Hades, which represents an early Greek understanding of the life of the dead. The third part is devoted to a detailed analysis of Solon’s notion of inherited responsibility and the various factors that contribute to its final explicit articulation. The fourth part focuses on the Orphic ideas of afterlife trial and transmigration of souls and their introduction into what we may call Platonic hell culminant in antiquity, which aims to offer a more self-contained system of justice and punishment. The fifth part is a conclusion. Full article
23 pages, 11820 KiB  
Article
Heritage Sites, Devotion, and Quality Enhancement in Tourism: The Promotion and Management of Ancient Marian Places of Worship along the Appian Way in Puglia and Basilicata
Religions 2023, 14(12), 1548; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14121548 - 18 Dec 2023
Viewed by 714
Abstract
Religious tourism is a significant and growing field of tourism that overlaps with cultural tourism. It has the potential to improve the quality of life of those who live in places of faith or along routes of spiritual interest. Religious tourism involves a [...] Read more.
Religious tourism is a significant and growing field of tourism that overlaps with cultural tourism. It has the potential to improve the quality of life of those who live in places of faith or along routes of spiritual interest. Religious tourism involves a complex interplay of spiritual and economic motivations. Effective religious tourism management requires respect for spiritual values, partnerships, local engagement, and quality assessment. Devotional practices have evolved from medieval spiritual care to communal expressions and periodic rituals. This paper specifically analysed the characteristics of the Marian cult and pilgrimage flows to places of Marian faith. It examined their value potential from a religious and cultural perspective and their role as a particular attractor of experiential and quality tourism generated by the territorial context. The area of reference is the region of Puglia, which has often played the role of cultural bridge with the eastern coasts of the Mediterranean in the past. The second part of the paper focuses on the proposed itinerary along the Appian Way in its final route between Puglia and Basilicata. Marian shrines were sometimes the cause and sometimes the evidence of the cultural and economic poles that characterised the medieval and modern variants of this ancient road route. The study outlines a serial path that integrates the usual settlement or infrastructural levels of territorial knowledge with the Marian theme, which was analysed diachronically. An operational track in the contemporary territorial dimension emerged from the correlation of both the stratigraphic reading of the landscape and the interpretation of material and immaterial cultural heritage. This track aims to aggregate and promote the sustainable rediscovery of those places, which are largely cut off from the routes of mass tourism, in adherence to the most recent European and local cultural and landscape guidelines. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pilgrimage and Religious Mobilization in the World)
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8 pages, 213 KiB  
Article
Preaching Outside the Temple: On the Literary Witness of James Baldwin as the Word Made Public
Religions 2023, 14(12), 1547; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14121547 - 16 Dec 2023
Viewed by 1155
Abstract
It was the late Bishop Ithiel Conrad Clemmons, former minister of the First Church of God in Christ of Brooklyn, New York, who said of the late famed novelist/essayist James Baldwin that “he was America’s inside eye on the Black Holiness and Pentecostal [...] Read more.
It was the late Bishop Ithiel Conrad Clemmons, former minister of the First Church of God in Christ of Brooklyn, New York, who said of the late famed novelist/essayist James Baldwin that “he was America’s inside eye on the Black Holiness and Pentecostal Churches”. Though Baldwin admitted that the culture and ethos of the African-American Pentecostal church were “highly significant and indelibly imprinted upon him”, according to Baldwin, his faith community’s “naiveté about life appalled him and drove him away”. While Baldwin left behind the church of his youth, never to return, for the remainder of his writing career, the “backslidden” minister’s literary musings continued to be informed (in both style and content) by the formative religious tradition that he left behind. Though several studies have been undertaken that examine Baldwin’s significance to various aspects of the study of African-American religion and culture, precious little has been written regarding Baldwin’s continuing engagement of the idiom of African-American preaching, the idiom which cultural critic Michael Eric Dyson has nominated as the “jewel in the crown of Black Sacred Rhetoric”. While many studies of Baldwin include the fact that Baldwin was a preacher’s son and that Baldwin himself preached for a time during his youth, the account is yet to be given of how Baldwin’s writings continued to employ the rhythms, grammar, tones, and textures of the Black sacred rhetorical tradition, especially from beyond the borders of the African-American church. This essay seeks to expose not only how Baldwin self-consciously continued to stand in the rhetorical trajectory of the African-American preaching tradition, but the attempt is also to reveal how the writer secularizes the idiom, providing the Black Holiness preacher a hearing from beyond the church. Through a focus on Baldwin as a Black sacred rhetorician, sermonizing from beyond the church, this essay participates in the nearly 100-year-old conversation instigated by the early African-American literary and cultural critic James Weldon Johnson in God’s Trombones: Seven Negro Sermons in Verse (1927), regarding the neglected significance of the sermon and the preacher in African-American literature and Black expressive cultures. Baldwin’s sermonic is here examined as a highly distinctive mode of Black public theologizing. Full article
16 pages, 4149 KiB  
Article
A Paratext Perspective on the Translation of the Daodejing: An Example from the German Translation of Richard Wilhelm
Religions 2023, 14(12), 1546; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14121546 - 16 Dec 2023
Viewed by 704
Abstract
In the German translation history of the Daodejing, the version rendered by the renowned German sinologist, Richard Wilhelm, has vigorously propelled the study of Laozegetics in Germany and stands as a translation of historical and scholarly significance. Wilhelm complemented the concise main [...] Read more.
In the German translation history of the Daodejing, the version rendered by the renowned German sinologist, Richard Wilhelm, has vigorously propelled the study of Laozegetics in Germany and stands as a translation of historical and scholarly significance. Wilhelm complemented the concise main text through the use of diverse, precise, and appropriate paratexts, granting his translation both readability and academic rigor. This ensures the admiration of general readers and the recognition of professional scholars. Tailored to the linguistic preferences and educational levels of German readers, Wilhelm frequently employed highly recognizable theological, philosophical, and literary concepts within the German cultural system to elucidate the Daodejing. This translation strategy effectively satisfies the expectation horizon of target readers. In the paratexts, Wilhelm constructs a philosophical framework of Daoism, compares the thought of Confucianism and Daoism, and broadens the dialogue between Chinese philosophical thought and Western intellectual traditions, thereby bestowing upon the Daodejing a renewed vitality in the German-speaking world. Full article
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25 pages, 33182 KiB  
Article
Sacred Pathway, Devotional Praxis: Actors, Aché, and Landscape at the Sanctuary of Regla, Cuba
Religions 2023, 14(12), 1545; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14121545 - 15 Dec 2023
Viewed by 1124
Abstract
The ferry from Havana to Regla, Cuba, transports visitors from today’s cruise ship docks across a brief stretch of water in about 20 min. Despite its brevity, this watery passage symbolically foregrounds the Marian devotion on the southern rim of the grand harbor. [...] Read more.
The ferry from Havana to Regla, Cuba, transports visitors from today’s cruise ship docks across a brief stretch of water in about 20 min. Despite its brevity, this watery passage symbolically foregrounds the Marian devotion on the southern rim of the grand harbor. In this way, water conjoins African diasporic histories of enslavement, labor, survival, resistance, daily life, and religiosity within Havana Bay, into which two urban geographies project. Regla historically served as a municipality for dockworkers and shipwrights and became an enclave for identity creation, civil association, and religious worship for people of African descent. The church and sanctuary of Nuestra Señora de Regla (“Our Lady of Regla”) has nurtured this connection as it houses effigies of the venerated Virgin, adorned in blue. The Virgin of Regla represents one of two, along with El Cobre, of the most important Marian devotions on the island of Cuba and is the focus of insular and diasporic pilgrimage. In Regla, the Virgin’s nautical iconography decorates the sanctuary and historically connects her to the working populations who sustained this devotion as they serviced Havana Harbor with their labor. Adjacent to the church is a waterfront park that looks out on the water and the city of Havana beyond. Bordered on one side by a low wall, the park incorporates a large ceiba tree, ceiba pentandra, also known as the silk cotton or kapok tree, a tropical species with a large trunk and spreading tree canopy native to Mexico and Central America, the Caribbean, northern South America, and West Africa (with a similar variety found in South and Southeast Asia). This article considers landscape as a methodology for examining the interplay of this tree and the adjacent church as interwoven and mutually reinforcing sites of devotion for the worship of the Virgin Mary and the oricha Yemayá in Regla, Cuba, with a view toward a broader set of local and global spaces. Full article
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10 pages, 277 KiB  
Review
The Common Good According to Great Men of Prayer and Economists: Comparisons, Connections, and Inspirations for Economics
Religions 2023, 14(12), 1544; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14121544 - 15 Dec 2023
Viewed by 643
Abstract
This paper aims to present and compare contemporary concepts of the common good formulated by economists with reference to the understanding of the common good by the great men of prayer: Augustine of Hippo; Thomas Aquinas; Jacques Maritain; and Popes John XXIII, John [...] Read more.
This paper aims to present and compare contemporary concepts of the common good formulated by economists with reference to the understanding of the common good by the great men of prayer: Augustine of Hippo; Thomas Aquinas; Jacques Maritain; and Popes John XXIII, John Paul II, and Francis. It seeks to determine in what direction the economic theory of the common good can develop, taking into account inspiration drawn from Catholic social teaching (CST). Given the interdisciplinary nature of the common good, a historical and interdisciplinary approach, along with the descriptive method, was adopted. The paper highlights the tendency of economic theory toward one-dimensional and relativistic concepts of the common good and suggests a search for economic ideas of the common good that are simultaneously multidimensional and universalistic. It recognizes the achievements of CST, created by the great men of prayer, in enhancing the understanding of the category of the common good and posits that these teachings can serve as research inspiration for economists. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Christian Prayer: Social Sciences Perspective)
6 pages, 751 KiB  
Editorial
Special Issue “Historical Network Analysis in the Study of Chinese Religion”—Introduction
Religions 2023, 14(12), 1543; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14121543 - 15 Dec 2023
Viewed by 748
Abstract
The seven articles in this Special Issue use historical network analysis to investigate aspects of Chinese religious traditions [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Historical Network Analysis in the Study of Chinese Religion)
12 pages, 1648 KiB  
Article
Constructing a Sacred Site Overseas: The Japanese Reinvention of the Rujing Stūpa in Hangzhou
Religions 2023, 14(12), 1542; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14121542 - 15 Dec 2023
Viewed by 662
Abstract
A sacred site that draws pilgrims from distant regions is a distinctive resource for studying religion. Research into a site’s relevance to pilgrims and how it came to be founded contributes to a better understanding of religious activity. To address these issues, a [...] Read more.
A sacred site that draws pilgrims from distant regions is a distinctive resource for studying religion. Research into a site’s relevance to pilgrims and how it came to be founded contributes to a better understanding of religious activity. To address these issues, a thorough historical analysis of a sacred site’s records is essential. Such an analysis endeavors to distinguish the historical facts of a sacred site from its narratives and further discusses the significance of each. With such intent, this study focuses on the Rujing Stupa, a sacred site of significant importance to transnational pilgrimages that has yet to receive sufficient scholarly attention. The stupa, which is located at the Jingci Monastery in Hangzhou, China, is believed to hold the relics of Tiantong Rujing 天童如浄 (1163–1228), a Song Dynasty monk. Although the modern stele inscription at this location indicates that the stupa was founded in the 13th century, shortly after the monk’s death, this paper examines the historical reinventions within the inscription and traces the influence of Japanese narratives on such a reinvention. This study demonstrates that the Rujing Stupa was established by, and for, the Japanese Sōtō Buddhists. The Chinese monk’s connection to the Sōtō pilgrims lies in Rujing’s role as the master who instructed Dōgen 道元 (1200–1253), the founder of the Sōtō tradition, making his stupa a sacred site for the Sōtō community. Concerns of commemoration and reifying doctrinal authenticity motivated two generations of Japanese pilgrims to construct the Rujing stupa in the late 19th and 20th centuries, respectively. On the other hand, Rujing’s significance and the presence of the Sōtō tradition were scarcely acknowledged in China until the early modern period. Only in the late 20th century did Chinese Buddhists begin to appreciate this stupa. Examining the site’s historical reinventions and identifying the factors that shape its narrative, this case study offers insights into the investigation of sacred sites and suggests a concern for narrative in the examination of a site’s history and significance. Full article
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5 pages, 229 KiB  
Editorial
Sin, Sex and Democracy: Politics and the Catholic Church
Religions 2023, 14(12), 1541; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14121541 - 15 Dec 2023
Viewed by 628
Abstract
At first glance, the five terms chosen for the title of this Special Issue do not seem to fit together [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sin, Sex, and Democracy: Politics and the Catholic Church)
8 pages, 301 KiB  
Article
The Ecological Transition from the Perspective of the Poor
Religions 2023, 14(12), 1540; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14121540 - 14 Dec 2023
Viewed by 939
Abstract
In the last few years, a theological trend has developed in France that is committed to listening to the words of people in precarious situations. In the tradition of Father Joseph Wresinski, founder of ATD Fourth World, this theological movement seeks to hear [...] Read more.
In the last few years, a theological trend has developed in France that is committed to listening to the words of people in precarious situations. In the tradition of Father Joseph Wresinski, founder of ATD Fourth World, this theological movement seeks to hear the joys, the struggles, the hopes, the dreams, and the faith of those who live on the margins of the world. They are the first to be affected by social and environmental injustices. They are the first to fight poverty. They are the first to invent a sustainable way of life. Listening to and taking seriously the experiences and words of the very poor opens up new perspectives for theology, especially in the ecological field. Indeed, the link between the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor has become commonplace. According to the World Bank, it is even “evidence”. Certainly “everything is linked”, as Pope Francis writes in Laudato Si’, but the characterization of this link must be deepened. It is not simply a matter of juxtaposing these two cries, but of perceiving that it is only from the most excluded that fair, effective, and sustainable solutions can be proposed. Bringing their words and thoughts into our modern agoras is an essential anthropological, political, and theological challenge for ecological conversion. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Eco-Theology: Interrelationships of Religion, Nature, and Common Life)
15 pages, 298 KiB  
Article
The Concept of God in Shaping the Use of Maqasid by Historicist Thought in Turkey: The Case of İlhami Güler and Mustafa Öztürk
Religions 2023, 14(12), 1539; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14121539 - 14 Dec 2023
Viewed by 632
Abstract
In the modern era, the importance of Fazlur Rahman’s method of interpreting the Qur’an, which considers the historical dimension of revelation, is significant. Fazlur Rahman advocated renewal, emphasizing the maqasid in response to the new conditions and circumstances introduced by the modern era. [...] Read more.
In the modern era, the importance of Fazlur Rahman’s method of interpreting the Qur’an, which considers the historical dimension of revelation, is significant. Fazlur Rahman advocated renewal, emphasizing the maqasid in response to the new conditions and circumstances introduced by the modern era. Many theologians and thinkers in Turkey have taken note of and reinterpreted this method. In this study, I examine the perspectives of İlhami Güler and Mustafa Öztürk, who adopt a historicist approach to understanding and interpreting the Qur’an. I explore the particular conceptions of God and humans, on which they base their historicist perspective, according to the maqasid concept. I determine that their views on God’s attribute of speech (Kalam) and God’s relationship with time/history significantly shape their conception of God. I attempt to identify the relationship between their drawing of a distinction between word and meaning in the revelation of the Qur’an (lafdh and ma’na), and their efforts to renew Sharia law. Although both thinkers adopt a historicist approach, I highlight how they differ on some issues, especially on the word–meaning issue. Nevertheless, they converge on the idea that revelations are influenced by the human conditions prevailing at their time of emergence. Moving from that proposition, they argue that, today, while preserving the fixed structure of religion, Sharia should be updated in the light of current conditions. I demonstrate how they believe in the idea, especially in the case of Güler, that while God previously changed Sharia, humans should now initiate this change. In this updating activity, maqasid serves as a link binding religion and Sharia together. I suggest that they treat maqasid as a reference point representing the essence of religion (ad-Din) for the renewal of Islamic thought today. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue A Critique of the Modern Discourse of Maqāṣid)
18 pages, 556 KiB  
Article
Everything, Everywhere, All at Once: Maimonides on the Afterlife—Updated
Religions 2023, 14(12), 1538; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14121538 - 14 Dec 2023
Viewed by 666
Abstract
This paper examines the view of the afterlife that emerges upon a straightforward and literal reading of the works of Maimonides that pre-date his Guide to the Perplexed. This view, whether or not it truly reflects the underlying intentions of Maimonides, has a [...] Read more.
This paper examines the view of the afterlife that emerges upon a straightforward and literal reading of the works of Maimonides that pre-date his Guide to the Perplexed. This view, whether or not it truly reflects the underlying intentions of Maimonides, has a central place in Jewish philosophy to this day. The view has to face a number of well-known objections. I argue that once the background metaphysics and epistemology has been appropriately updated to reflect some of what we have come to know over the intervening centuries, an intriguing eschatology emerges. The result is a conception of the afterlife that is Maimonidean in spirit and which can face down the objections that plagued its intellectual predecessor. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Medieval Philosophy and Religious Thought)
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17 pages, 1264 KiB  
Article
Self-Determination and Absolute Dependence: A Comparison of the Relationship between the “Self” and the “Other” and Its Dimension in The Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch and Schleiermacher’s Christian Philosophy
by
Religions 2023, 14(12), 1537; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14121537 - 14 Dec 2023
Viewed by 715
Abstract
As a classic of Zen Buddhism, The Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch, starting from the core concept of “self-nature and self-determination”, fully demonstrates the “Self” dimension and the “self-mastery” and “self-bearing” spiritual temperament of Master Huineng, who put forward the idea [...] Read more.
As a classic of Zen Buddhism, The Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch, starting from the core concept of “self-nature and self-determination”, fully demonstrates the “Self” dimension and the “self-mastery” and “self-bearing” spiritual temperament of Master Huineng, who put forward the idea that “Buddhahood is realized within the essential-nature; do not seek for it outside yourself.” 佛向性中作,莫向身外求, and the spiritual temperament of “self-mastery” and “self-responsibility”. In contrast, Schleiermacher, as “the father of modern Protestant theology”, in his philosophical reflection on religion, grasped the notion of piety centered on “the feeling of absolute dependence” and enriched it with the substance of religious self-consciousness to establish and reveal the essence of religious faith and Christianity. This sharp contrast fully demonstrates the important difference of Buddhism and Christianity in dealing with the relationship between the “Self” and the “Other”. This essential difference reflects the fact that the Zen Buddhist classics represented by The Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch are both rooted in the Buddhist tradition and based on the traditional Chinese philosophical theory of mind and nature, based on which is the faith model of seeking liberation from the nature of the “Self”. In contrast, The Christian faith, as typified by Schleiermacher’s Christian philosophy, attempts to establish a model of faith that seeks salvation through devout faith in the Absolute Supreme, and to take this point as the essence and basis of religious faith and Christian faith. Full article
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19 pages, 313 KiB  
Article
The Intersection of Bernard Lonergan’s Critical Realism, the Common Good, and Artificial Intelligence in Modern Religious Practices
Religions 2023, 14(12), 1536; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14121536 - 13 Dec 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1095
Abstract
Artificial intelligence (AI) profoundly influences a number of societal structures today, including religious dynamics. Using Bernard Lonergan’s critical realism as a lens, this article investigates the intersections of AI and religious traditions in their shared pursuit of the common good. Beginning with Lonergan’s [...] Read more.
Artificial intelligence (AI) profoundly influences a number of societal structures today, including religious dynamics. Using Bernard Lonergan’s critical realism as a lens, this article investigates the intersections of AI and religious traditions in their shared pursuit of the common good. Beginning with Lonergan’s principle that humans construct their understanding through cognitive processes, we examine how AI-mediated realities align with or challenge traditional religious tenets. By delving into specific cases, we spotlight AI’s role in reshaping religious symbols, rituals, and even creating novel spiritual meanings. Using Lonergan’s insights on the balance between subjectivity and objectivity, I analyze AI’s potential to both create new sacred spaces and challenge religious orthodoxy. The crux of the discussion centers on the negotiation between religious values and technological innovation, assessing how AI can bolster religious life while maintaining its core essence. Ultimately, this article underscores the importance of the common good in the age of AI-driven religious evolution. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rethinking Digital Religion, AI and Culture)
9 pages, 194 KiB  
Article
Christopher Nolan’s Joker as a Consistent Naturalist (And That’s Still a Bad Thing)
Religions 2023, 14(12), 1535; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14121535 - 13 Dec 2023
Viewed by 597
Abstract
In this article, we discuss C. S. Lewis’s description, and critique, of metaphysical naturalism, and apply this to our reading of the Joker in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight. We argue that Nolan’s Joker is the most ethically consistent type of naturalist, [...] Read more.
In this article, we discuss C. S. Lewis’s description, and critique, of metaphysical naturalism, and apply this to our reading of the Joker in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight. We argue that Nolan’s Joker is the most ethically consistent type of naturalist, and that this makes his ethical position at once more praiseworthy than that of numerous naturalistic moral thinkers, such as Sam Harris, insofar as it is consistent, and yet blameworthy in that other naturalistic ethicists, inconsistent though they may be, at least, reasonably, assume a kind of objective morality via implicit supernaturalist assumptions about “right” and “wrong”. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue C. S. Lewis and Film)
8 pages, 228 KiB  
Article
Hailing and Hallowing: Persian Hagiographies, Interpellation, and Learning How to Read
Religions 2023, 14(12), 1534; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14121534 - 13 Dec 2023
Viewed by 630
Abstract
This essay discusses the pedagogical value of hagiology by examining how medieval Persian hagiographies can be used to explore the concept of “interpellation”: the process by which individuals are constituted as subjects in particular ideological systems. This essay uses an analysis of Rumi’s [...] Read more.
This essay discusses the pedagogical value of hagiology by examining how medieval Persian hagiographies can be used to explore the concept of “interpellation”: the process by which individuals are constituted as subjects in particular ideological systems. This essay uses an analysis of Rumi’s anecdote, “Moses and the Shepherd”, to demonstrate how hagiological approaches are valuable not just in understanding how a saint is constructed in a particular historical and cultural context but also how an audience is constructed and interpellated. The essay then introduces a pedagogical exercise that connects an analysis of Islamic hagiographies with an exploration of how students are interpellated with modern subjectivities in our contemporary ideological systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Comparative Hagiology: Issues in Pedagogy)
18 pages, 832 KiB  
Article
Minjung Theology of Korea and Ecological Thinking: Focusing on the Theological Imagination of Ahn Byung-Mu
Religions 2023, 14(12), 1533; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14121533 - 13 Dec 2023
Viewed by 614
Abstract
Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) criteria, currently used as a set of standards by socially conscious investors to evaluate a company’s operations before investing, are becoming an important global trend today. In particular, environmental and ecological crises are increasingly being seen as issues [...] Read more.
Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) criteria, currently used as a set of standards by socially conscious investors to evaluate a company’s operations before investing, are becoming an important global trend today. In particular, environmental and ecological crises are increasingly being seen as issues that will determine the sustainability of human civilization. Scholars of religion have been paying more attention to the issue as well. In fact, religion and environmentalism have emerged as sub-disciplines in, among others, religious ethics, religious studies, the sociology of religion, and theology. In view of this development, this paper aims to reexamine Minjung theology, literally meaning “the people’s theology”, which arose as a form of liberation theology in South Korea in the 1970s, from an ecological perspective, particularly focusing on the former’s view on the relationship and interrelationship between the individual and the environment. The paper pays special attention to the work of Ahn Byung-Mu, a founding scholar of Minjung theology, shedding light on the connection between his concept of gong, literally meaning “publicness”, and ecology, the characteristics of his ecological thoughts and their relevance to his view of god, and his views on bapsanggongdongche, literally meaning “the table community”. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion and Ecological Citizenship in the Asian Context)
16 pages, 266 KiB  
Article
Phantoms of Faith—Experiences of Rupture and Residue of Amputated Religiosity among Norwegian Ex-Charismatic Christians
Religions 2023, 14(12), 1532; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14121532 - 13 Dec 2023
Viewed by 1048
Abstract
This article explores non/religious emotions and experiences among a group of high-cost Christian charismatic disaffiliates in Norway. It is a case study of members of the Facebook community “The Journey” (no. “Reisen”). With a qualitative approach, it uses lifestory interviews from 24 ex-Charismatics [...] Read more.
This article explores non/religious emotions and experiences among a group of high-cost Christian charismatic disaffiliates in Norway. It is a case study of members of the Facebook community “The Journey” (no. “Reisen”). With a qualitative approach, it uses lifestory interviews from 24 ex-Charismatics to describe their experiences of what I call phantoms of faith. The article gives thick descriptions of the disaffiliates’ negotiations between current and past emotions and experiences and the explanations they have for these. It uses the metaphor of phantom to explore embodied and emotional religiosity, for which the analysis is inspired by the conceptual framework of Pagis and Winchester’s somatic inversions. The analysis shows how phantom faith experiences create ruptures and dissonance in the disaffiliates’ everyday lives and thus produce interpretative demands. The article argues that leaving charismatic Christianity, in this material, on an embodied and emotional dimension is much more complex than the cognitive and social dimensions of disaffiliation. Scholarly understandings of this phenomenon have implications for the disaffiliates who experience them, as well as the scholarly constructions of the spaces and categories between religion and non-religion. It argues that such experiences have been somewhat understudied in the literature and that current conceptualizations should be further developed. Full article
14 pages, 283 KiB  
Article
The Qur’an: An Oral Transmitted Tradition Forming Muslims Habitus
Religions 2023, 14(12), 1531; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14121531 (registering DOI) - 12 Dec 2023
Viewed by 815
Abstract
This paper examines the relationship between religious practices and the forming of moral dispositions in light of the Qur’an. Using Bourdieu’s concept of habitus, this paper explains the way religious practices mentioned in the Qur’an can form moral dispositions for Muslims. The question [...] Read more.
This paper examines the relationship between religious practices and the forming of moral dispositions in light of the Qur’an. Using Bourdieu’s concept of habitus, this paper explains the way religious practices mentioned in the Qur’an can form moral dispositions for Muslims. The question that this research aims to answer is whether being a Muslim has anything to do with how he/she is expected to behave in society. It also investigates how central the Qur’an is in Muslims’ lives. Moreover, it discusses how and why Muslims act the way they do and what guides their practices and actions. This paper aims to clarify the ethical, moral and spiritual consequences of embodying religious practices. For example, practices like prayer and charity may give Muslims moral direction and help them be good citizens. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue A Transdisciplinary Approach to the Study of Islam and Islamicate)
23 pages, 33399 KiB  
Article
Buddhist Pilgrimage at Mount Wutai: Architecture, Landscape, and Religious Heritage
Religions 2023, 14(12), 1530; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14121530 - 11 Dec 2023
Viewed by 961
Abstract
Mount Wutai, China’s earliest Buddhist center, dating to the Han Dynasty’s first century (206 BCE–220 CE), boasts over a hundred monasteries, numerous monuments, and ruins, drawing global pilgrims and travelers. Over its long history, as the geographical focus of imperial support shifted, the [...] Read more.
Mount Wutai, China’s earliest Buddhist center, dating to the Han Dynasty’s first century (206 BCE–220 CE), boasts over a hundred monasteries, numerous monuments, and ruins, drawing global pilgrims and travelers. Over its long history, as the geographical focus of imperial support shifted, the ideological underpinnings for structuring the monastic habitation on Mount Wutai also underwent a transformation, consequently altering the pilgrimage paths, monasteries, and mountain gates. However, there remains a paucity of understanding regarding these changes. This paper aims to map out the representative dynamic pilgrimage routines influenced by geo-capital shifts and to reveal the changeable Buddhist ideology of monasticism on Mount Wutai. Through archival studies on ancient transcripts and maps, the interpretation selects the three most significant periods in the development of Buddhism in Mount Wutai: the Northern Wei (386–534 CE), the Sui Tang (581–907 CE), and the Qing Dynasty (1630–1912 CE). The article indicates that Mount Wutai’s monastic strategies have transformed significantly, progressing from free monasticism to the Mañjuśrī maṇḍala mode and ultimately adopting a predominant Tibetan Buddhist character. These changes were driven by shifting Buddhist ideologies and heritage, with pilgrimages and monastic construction responding to these shifts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Religions and Humanities/Philosophies)
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16 pages, 824 KiB  
Article
Balancing the Poles of the Seesaw: The Parallel Paths of Eckhart and Hindu Vedānta toward Oneness with God/Brahman
Religions 2023, 14(12), 1529; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14121529 - 11 Dec 2023
Viewed by 690
Abstract
The ultimate aim of both Eckhart’s philosophy and Vedānta philosophy is to attain oneness with God/Brahman. Nevertheless, their different philosophical starting points and the conflict between the sublime ideal of the theory and reality means that their philosophies present a structural symmetry. They [...] Read more.
The ultimate aim of both Eckhart’s philosophy and Vedānta philosophy is to attain oneness with God/Brahman. Nevertheless, their different philosophical starting points and the conflict between the sublime ideal of the theory and reality means that their philosophies present a structural symmetry. They both have to face two dilemmas: “How can we claim that humans are already one with God?” and “Why is it that humans are not already one with God?”. Eckhart’s inherited tradition emphasizes the distinction between humans and God, while the Vedānta philosophical tradition emphasizes that “I am Brahman”. Each of them starts from one pole of the seesaw of the dilemma and encounters the other’s issue at the other pole. Eventually, they converge at the point of balance, with unity with God/Brahman realized in all human activities. Here, this worldly life becomes significant, all human work expresses the Divinity, and the importance of God is replaced by an impersonal Divinity that combines being and nothingness. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Medieval Theology and Philosophy from a Cross-Cultural Perspective)
24 pages, 4434 KiB  
Article
Six Rites of Allied Harmony: Changes in Ancient Chinese Wedding Ceremonies under the Influence of Confucianism
Religions 2023, 14(12), 1528; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14121528 - 11 Dec 2023
Viewed by 1818
Abstract
Ancient Chinese wedding ceremonies served as the solemn rituals for witnessing and establishing marriage, primarily aimed at forging kinship ties between two families and fulfilling the obligations of ancestral worship and lineage continuation. Within the Confucian tradition, the family and the state have [...] Read more.
Ancient Chinese wedding ceremonies served as the solemn rituals for witnessing and establishing marriage, primarily aimed at forging kinship ties between two families and fulfilling the obligations of ancestral worship and lineage continuation. Within the Confucian tradition, the family and the state have always been interconnected, and ancient Chinese weddings, dating back to the Zhou dynasty, have maintained the fundamental order of both the family and society. This article primarily explores the influence of Confucianism on ancient Chinese wedding rituals and customs, as well as the historical evolution of wedding ceremonies throughout different dynasties. According to Confucian principles, the main procedures of the wedding ceremony included six rituals: “Nacai” (proposal ceremony), “Wenming” (name inquiry), “Naji” (betrothal gift ceremony), “Nazheng” (gifts for the selection of the auspicious day), “Qingqi” (asking for a wedding date), and “Qinying” (wedding procession). These six rituals were collectively known as the “Six Rites”. This study found that, during the Qin and Han dynasties and the Tang and Song dynasties, there were two important stages of reform of wedding ceremonies under the influence of Confucianism. The “Six Rites” were streamlined and merged into the “Three Rites”, gradually becoming more secular. During the Ming and Qing dynasties, the interaction between Confucianism and the wedding ceremony weakened until the Republic of China period, when traditional constraints were broken. It is evident that the “Six Rites” have continued to serve as the template of traditional Chinese weddings and have been the important basis for subsequent wedding customs. Full article
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17 pages, 308 KiB  
Article
On Being a Listening Church: The U.S. Catholic Church and Black Lives Matter
Religions 2023, 14(12), 1527; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14121527 - 11 Dec 2023
Viewed by 739
Abstract
The article explores the intersection of Black Lives Matter and the synodal process within the U.S. Catholic Church, focusing on the church’s stance on racism and racial justice. Drawing upon Pope Francis’ call for the church to become a listening church, I argue [...] Read more.
The article explores the intersection of Black Lives Matter and the synodal process within the U.S. Catholic Church, focusing on the church’s stance on racism and racial justice. Drawing upon Pope Francis’ call for the church to become a listening church, I argue that the church currently lacks crucial elements of inclusivity, engagement with the lived experiences of the faithful, and a willingness to address conflict in the context of racial justice. I propose a closer examination of Black Lives Matter and the synodal process as a means for the church to adapt and become a genuinely attentive church, improving discussions on race relations in the United States. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Church, Ecumenism and Liturgy: Unfolding Synodality)
9 pages, 790 KiB  
Article
Unveiling Hangzhou’s Intellectual Legacy: Chinese Buddhist Reference Works and Knowledge Production in the Song and Beyond
Religions 2023, 14(12), 1526; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14121526 - 11 Dec 2023
Viewed by 1200
Abstract
This article explores Hangzhou’s multifaceted role in shaping Chinese Buddhist culture and contributing to knowledge production. As a vital hub of Chinese material and intellectual culture, Hangzhou’s significant contributions to Buddhism are emphasized, shedding light on its key role in disseminating Buddhist teachings [...] Read more.
This article explores Hangzhou’s multifaceted role in shaping Chinese Buddhist culture and contributing to knowledge production. As a vital hub of Chinese material and intellectual culture, Hangzhou’s significant contributions to Buddhism are emphasized, shedding light on its key role in disseminating Buddhist teachings and preserving knowledge. The study delves into the rich history of Buddhist reference works, particularly leishu, showcasing how these compilations were pivotal in organizing and transmitting Buddhist wisdom. The article connects Hangzhou’s intellectual legacy to the broader context of Chinese Buddhism, emphasizing its crucial position in the development and dissemination of Buddhist doctrines. Additionally, it highlights ongoing academic efforts to compile an Encyclopedia of Hangzhou Buddhist Culture, underscoring Hangzhou’s continued importance in contemporary Buddhist scholarship. Full article
12 pages, 798 KiB  
Article
Spiritual Christians in Republican China: Reconceptualization beyond Pentecostalism and Indigenization
by and
Religions 2023, 14(12), 1525; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14121525 - 10 Dec 2023
Viewed by 996
Abstract
Pentecostalism contributes significantly to Christian revivals as well as to the rise of indigenous churches in the non-Western world. This is due to its proximity to local religious traditions, such as the practices of dream interpretation, healing, and exorcism. However, Pentecostalism as a [...] Read more.
Pentecostalism contributes significantly to Christian revivals as well as to the rise of indigenous churches in the non-Western world. This is due to its proximity to local religious traditions, such as the practices of dream interpretation, healing, and exorcism. However, Pentecostalism as a term also reflects an American-dominated narrative; it has proven incapable of covering the main traits of indigenous Christian movements, either in the Global South or in China. For instance, in the 19th century—far before the birth of Pentecostalism as a modern term—both the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom (1851–1864) and the ministry of the legendary Pastor Hsi (Xi Shengmo 席胜魔, 1835–1896) expressed some Pentecostal characteristics. In the early 20th century, some indigenous churches, like the True Jesus Church and the Jesus Family, had clear connections with Pentecostal missionaries or organizations and showed obvious Pentecostal characteristics. However, leading evangelists such as Watchman Nee (Ni Tuosheng 倪柝声, 1903–1972) agreed with some practices of Pentecostalism and opposed others. Instead of claiming a Pentecostal identity (Ling’en pai 灵恩派), most Chinese Christians preferred to be defined as “spiritual” (Shuling 属灵). With the Spirit (Ling 灵) at the center, Chinese Christians went beyond the narrative of both Pentecostalism and indigenization; their exact aim was to seek the authentic Christianity of the apostolic age. “Spiritual Christian” (Shuling jidutu 属灵基督徒) would thus suggest a re-conception of part of the history of Christianity in China. Full article
14 pages, 264 KiB  
Article
“Let’s Propagate the Dharma”: A Critical Survey of the Activities of the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism’s Seventh Dharma Propagation Bureau
Religions 2023, 14(12), 1524; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14121524 - 09 Dec 2023
Viewed by 629
Abstract
The Jogye Order has been facing a deepening crisis since the turn of the millennium. The rapid decline in membership had been compounded by a growing loss of confidence in the order’s monastic leadership following a succession of scandals in the 1990s and [...] Read more.
The Jogye Order has been facing a deepening crisis since the turn of the millennium. The rapid decline in membership had been compounded by a growing loss of confidence in the order’s monastic leadership following a succession of scandals in the 1990s and 2010s involving sectarian infighting and high-level corruption. While the practice of “Dharma propagation” (pogyo) has been critical to Korean Buddhism’s revival over the twentieth century, the Jogye Order’s steadily worsening membership crisis has revitalized institutional interest in Dharma propagation. With the independent establishment of its “Dharma Propagation Bureau” (Pogyowon) in 1994, the order has steadily increased its financial and practical support of a diversity of propagation efforts as, over recent decades, the order knows that its long-term survival might very well depend on these efforts’ success. Given the crucial nature of the Jogye Order’s current propagation efforts, this article will conduct a critical examination of the recent history of the JO’s Dharma Propagation Bureau, with a particular focus on the Bureau’s activities under its seventh director, Ven. Jihong (in office 2016 through 2021). Full article
18 pages, 354 KiB  
Article
The Role of the Faith in Jesus Christ in the Family Experience of Grief
Religions 2023, 14(12), 1523; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14121523 - 09 Dec 2023
Viewed by 902
Abstract
Mourning is the state of grieving the loss of a close relationship. It manifests itself in multi-sided suffering affecting the mourner’s mental, physical and spiritual sphere. A particularly painful form of mourning is the family experience of grief. Although ways of expressing grief [...] Read more.
Mourning is the state of grieving the loss of a close relationship. It manifests itself in multi-sided suffering affecting the mourner’s mental, physical and spiritual sphere. A particularly painful form of mourning is the family experience of grief. Although ways of expressing grief depend on the culture, era and intensity of the interpersonal relationships, it is a universal human experience. This paper aims to answer the question about the role of the mourner’s faith in Jesus Christ in the bereaved family experience, as a work in the field of Roman Catholic dogmatic theology. The method used is the analysis of selected material from psychology and Catholic theology (Christology, anthropology, protology, eschatology), in order to synthetically present theological and practical conclusions. The author also quotes mourners’ testimonies. First, the author shows the elements of the psychology of mourning. However, his emphasis is on the next step, i.e., discussing the relationship between the mourner’s faith in Jesus and the family experience of grief. Furthermore, he deals with theories concerning the relationships between the living and the dead, which are contrary to the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church: annihilation, spiritism and reincarnation. Finally, the important role of the faith in Jesus in the mourning process is presented and completed by indicating possible directions for research on this issue. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Role of Religion in Marriage and Family Life)
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