- Sipco Vellenga – Geloof als innerlijke keuze: Over de kerkelijke, religieuze en maatschappelijke implicaties van individualisering
- Wido van Peursen – De blijvende boodschap van de Hebreeuwse Bijbel opnieuw verwoord: Kanttekeningen bij de Theologie van het Oude Testament van Hendrik Koorevaar en Mart-Jan Paul
- Hanneke Schaap-Jonker – Van Calvijn tot ons brein: Neuropsychologie en religie
- Arie Molendijk – Cruciale Teksten: Ernst Troeltsch, Die Absolutheit des Christentums (1902)
RELIGION AS INNER CHOICE: INDIVIDUALIZATION AND ITS IMPLICATIONS FOR CHURCH, RELIGION AND SOCIETY
Individualization is one of the basic traits of contemporary Western society. How are church and religion related to this trend? After defining individualization as a process in which people become more independent of their immediate environment, as well as of related traditional cultural patterns, values and norms, this article focuses on the consequences of individualization for church and religion. Individualization is seen to have three ecclesiastical implications: church individualization, increasing church mobility and church decline, as well as three religious implications: religious individualization, increasing religious mobility and an increase of the popularity of atheism. It is argued that individualization entails at least three social paradoxes: more freedom of choice but also a heavier burden upon the individual to make choices, less social restrictions but also a weakening of the sense of safety and belonging, and more informal ways of social behavior, but also social coarsening. Churches and religions which fully incorporate the positive aspects of individualization and at the same time clearly meet its negative aspects will have chances to flourish in late modern society.
Wido van Peursen:
A NEW EXPRESSION OF THE CONTINUING MESSAGE OF THE HEBREW BIBLE:
ANNOTATIONS TO THE THEOLOGIE VAN HET OUDE TESTAMENT OF HENDRIK KOOREVAAR AND MART-JAN PAUL
This contribution reviews the recently published Theologie van het Oude Testament by Hendrik Koorevaar and Mart-Jan Paul. Almost half a century has passed since the publication of Th.C. Vriezen’s Hoofdlijnen van de Theologie van het Oude Testament, during which time no such theology of the Old Testament has appeared in Dutch. Hence, the book under review meets a desideratum. Unlike its predecessor, it takes a more conservative view regarding the composition of the Bible and the relation between text and history. It opts for a ‘structural-canonical’ and a ‘thematictheological’ approach and the overall structure of the canon plays an important role. This article evaluates the various choices made in this book and their relationship to current developments in Old Testament scholarship.
FROM CALVIN TO OUR BRAINS: NEUROPSYCHOLOGY AND RELIGION
Neuropsychological studies on religion are discussed and categorized within two paradigms, namely a localizing paradigm, which searches for specific brain areas which are involved in religion, and a network paradigm, which emphasizes relationships between neural systems and considers neural correlates of religious cognitions, emotions and practices to be embedded within general brain systems. The results of the empirical studies which are discussed seem to support the latter approach more than the former. Implications for the study of religion are explored.
Arie L. Molendijk:
ERNST TROELTSCH’S THE ABSOLUTENESS OF CHRISTIANITY (1902)
Ernst Troeltsch was one of the most influential intellectuals of the late Wilhelmine Empire and the early Weimar Republic. He considered his book The Absoluteness of Christianity (first published in 1902) the starting point of his work. The issue at stake here were the consequences of the historical turn in the humanities for theology. This turn implies a new phase in the history of Christianity, as Troeltsch wrote to his colleague Adolf Harnack. Troeltsch was harshly criticized for this point of view by, among others, Karl Barth, who deemed Troeltsch’s dogmatics idle and non-binding talk. This essay argues that Troeltsch’s attempt to historicize theology and to come to appraisals on the basis of socio-historical research has to be taken seriously, unless one is prepared to pay the price of the marginalisation of the discipline.