Vol 34 No. 1 (2015)

Foreword

Athabasca University
Catherine Caufield holds a doctorate in Religious Studies from the Centre for the Study of Religion in the University of Toronto. She has received a number of awards, including a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Toronto and a Foreign Government Award with the Government of Mexico. She taught at the University of Alberta from 2002-2013 where she served in the Faculty of Nursing and the Faculty of Art’s Religious Studies Program and Latin American Studies Programs. Dr. Caufield coordinated the International Research Capacity-Building Program for Nurses to Study the Drug Phenomenon in the Americas, a program hosted by the Faculty of Nursing and funded by the Organization of American States. Her research areas of interest are hermeneutic literary theory and the expression of religion in contemporary local and global sociopolitical contexts. She has published numerous articles in referred journals, as well as the book Hermeneutical Approaches to Religious Discourse in Mexican Narrative. Her second monograph, Jewish Mexican Neomysticism, is currently in production at an academic press. She is the editor of Religious Studies and Theology.

Articles

Payame Noor University
Faculty of Theology and Islamic Studies, Department of Islamic Studies, Payame Noor University, Iran.
Payame Noor University
Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Educational Sciences And Psychology, Payame Noor University, Iran.
The Holy Qur’an is the most important factor shaping the development of the Islamic culture and civilization. It can be claimed that all attempts in the field of Islamic thought have been shaped on the basis of the Qur’anic literature, jurisprudence, ilm al-usul, theology, philosophy and gnosis. For instance philosophy, which found its way into the Muslim world from Greece, developed under the influence of Qur’anic teachings by Islamic philosophers and formed a new Islamic identity. Muslim philosophers adapted ideas and philosophical doctrines from the teachings of the Qur’an. They also used the Qur’anic verses in order to conceptualize and make new theories. They used the logic of the Qur’an for presenting philosophical arguments based on the analyses of this work. Among the Islamic philosophers, the contributions of Kindi, Suhrawardi, Avicenna, and Mulla Sadra were most significant.
Australia National University
David (PhD, Syd) is a Research Fellow at the School of Culture, History and Language, Australian National University. He previously did postdoctoral researches at the University of Edinburgh (UK) and Seoul National University, South Korea, and lectured at Charles Stuart University in Sydney, Australia after receiving a PhD (History) from the University of Sydney.
The 10th International Congress of Coptic Studies (ICCS) was held in September 2012 in Italy. However, when the Gnosticism and Manichaeism section was commenced, the congress atmosphere was rapidly changed by Karen King’s paper. It was originally assumed that the topic would be an attempt on the Tchacos Codex, but the Harvard scholar announced a new Coptic fragment in relation to the marital status of Jesus with Mariam. The new Coptic fragment was introduced as a rough rectangular shape, torn on all four corners. The amazing outbreak of the new Coptic papyrus took the attention of scholars and global faith communities in uncertainty and suspicion. Then, what is the new text about? Why is the Coptic teaching so controversial? What is the present tendency of the controversy? What is the truth? This paper will not only demonstrate the situation of the critical debate but also argue a new hypothesis that the new controversial manuscript is not an imperfect forgery but another notorious gnostic fragment unconfirmed.
Biola University
Johannes de Silentio, the pseudonymous author of Fear and Trembling , purports to be an individual who admires faith but cannot attain to its unearthly standards. The discontinuity between Kierkegaard, who self identified as a religious author, and de Silentio, who approaches Abraham in self-doubt, is apparent—and as a result, some have argued for an utter dissociation between these two authors. I argue that such dissociation undermines the potency of the work, especially with regard to the perspective on faith presented therein. The significance of de Silentio’s perspective becomes clear when set against the backdrop of Kierkegaard’s view of the relationship between anxiety and faith; in this light, de Silentio turns out to represent an early stage of the individual’s religious development, and Kierkegaard turns out to have recently surpassed this stage before writing the work.
The King's University, Edmonton, Alberta
John L. Hiemstra is Professor of Political Studies, Politics-History-Economics Program at The King's University, Edmonton, Canada.
Religiously generated conflict and intolerance around the world challenge the idea that religion can generate support for plurality, religious freedom, genuine toleration and democracy. Some argue, for example, that Islam is incompatible with democracy. This article argues that each religious tradition must explore its internal resources for how they might generate and support toleration and democracy. I explore the case of neo-Calvinism which shares a belief in God’s sovereignty with Islam, yet strongly supports religious freedom, toleration and democracy. The Dutch neo Calvinist leader, Abraham Kuyper (1837–1920) developed distinctive political ideas consistently based on Christian beliefs. This article opens by examining Calvin’s thought for intolerant political ideas. It presents Kuyper’s rationale for the legitimacy of “reforming” earlier Christian ideas and actions. The majority of the article analyzes Kuyper’s rationale for “tolerant public pluralism” in order to show how neo-Calvinist beliefs systematically shaped his political thinking.
University of Alberta
Jérôme Melançon is Sessional Lecturer, Political Studies and Philosophy, Departments of Social Science and of Fine Arts and Humanities at the University of Alberta, Canada.
An understanding of the debate on reasonable accommodations that has been taking place in Québec and the ensuing Charter of Values presented in 2013 requires an analysis of the historical and political boundaries separating political life from religious life. This paper argues that these boundaries have been structured by a history of laicization and by the mutually supporting roles of collective self-determination and laicity in Québécois identity. It presents a philosophical account of the work of Marcel Gauchet, Yvan Lamonde, and the report of the Bouchard-Taylor Commission on reasonable accommodations, and stresses the role of anticlericalism in the phases of the establishment of democracy in Québec, a society where the Catholic Church played a central social and institutional role.
Emmanuel College of Victoria University
Dr. Nazila Isgandarova is Spiritual and Religious Care Coordinator at Ontario Multifaith Council and Spiritual Care Provider at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. She is specializing in spiritual care and counselling. She has a Doctor of Ministry degree in pastoral counselling, marriage and family studies from Wilfrid Laurier University in 2011 and Master of Social Work from the University of Windsor. The title of her doctoral thesis is “The Effective Islamic Spiritual Care: Foundations and Practices of Imams and Other Muslim Spiritual Caregivers”. As an internationally published researcher, she focuses on Islamic thought, counselling, spiritual and religious care in a healthcare setting, counselling in a multi-faith context, and Muslim identity in the West, she has a strong desire and an awareness of the importance of, and willingness to be involved in educating the general public about Islamic spiritual care and counselling and diversity of Muslims. Nazila has authored several articles that appeared in different academic books and journals. Nazila is also a fiction writer. Very recently, Professor Jennifer Bryson, who is the Director of Islamic Studies at the Witherspoon Institute in Princeton, chose her novel The Nectar of Passion as a subject of her paper titled as “How Muslims are Countering Anti-Semitism Through Arts Today.” Dr. Bryson presented her paper at the International Conference on The Future of Social Relations: Rethinking Prejudice and Togetherness in Times of Crisis sponsored by the European Research Council of the European Commission. She described the Nectar of Passion as “a lovely story with good characters and tremendously positive themes.”
The primary goal of this article is to describe spiritual and religious considerations of music in Islamic spiritual care for enhancing spiritual care to Muslims. In medieval times in the Muslim world, music played an important role in healthcare practices. For example music was used not only to enhance spirituality of patients but also to improve their health. Many Muslim scholars and musicians used musical theory and techniques as a way of connecting patients with the Divine, inspiring hope and finding meaning in their crisis, suffering and illness. Therefore music can be used in spiritual care for Muslims as a tool to connect patients with spiritual sources of strength.

Reflections from the Field

Rutgers University
This essay offers a series of reflections about the challenges that arise for an ethnographer writing in the public sphere, especially when addressing controversial issues or moments of political uncertainty in sites of long-term fieldwork. In this case, Argentina, where the author has conducted fieldwork for over fourteen years, experienced a political crisis stemming from the unexplained death of a prosecutor in January 2015. In such moments of crisis, this essay asks, what is the role and responsibility of the academic voice? Inevitably, challenges arise when presenting ethnographically inflected work for a public audience, often leaving the author in a liminal space, “betwixt and between” the academic world and the public sphere. Yet, these challenges and liminal spaces can also expand the boundaries of one’s field of study, engaging new audiences while also offering powerful insights into the production of academic knowledge.

Book Reviews