- Eleonora Hof – Het gewicht van het zwaartepunt: Recht doen aan het wereldchristendom
- Peter-Ben Smit – Diversiteit in het onderwijs van het Nieuwe Testament: Over het nut van biografische, levensbeschouwelijke en culturele diversiteit
- Bob Becking – Hizkia in drievoud: Het beeld van deze koning in 2 Koningen 18–20 in drie historische contexten
- Karin Neutel – De betekenis van het verleden in het hedendaagse debat over jongensbesnijdenis: ‘Social imaginaries’ en het geval van Paulus
- Lucien van Liere – Cruciale Teksten: Theodor W. Adorno und Max Horkheimer, Dialektik der Aufklärung, Philosophische Fragmente (1947)
WEIGHING THE CENTRE OF GRAVITY: DOING JUSTICE TO WORLD CHRISTIANITY
Uncritically claiming that Christianity’s centre of gravity has shifted from the West to the global South is problematic because such a claim does not pay sufficient attention to the underlying power dynamics at play. I critique the popular conception of World Christianity where the West is tacitly omitted from the ‘World’ of World Christianity and therefore retains its normative character. Furthermore, I critique the usage of the concept of centre of gravity, because it perpetuates the language of power. Dismantling the binary between the West and ‘the rest’ involves both a theological reappropriation of centre and periphery and renewed attention to the history of Christianity.
DIVERSITY IN TEACHING NEW TESTAMENT STUDIES: ON THE VALUE OF
BIOGRAPHICAL, IDEOLOGICAL, AND CULTURAL DIVERSITY
This paper argues that attention for the biographical, ideological, and cultural diversity, as it is present in a typical New Testament class room, can be very productive, especially when paying attention to the intercultural hermeneutics involved. In fact, this approach leads to new scholarly insights, also of a historical nature, and may well be more viable and even more productive than a supposedly ‘neutral’ approach.
THREEFOLD HEZEKIAH: THE IMAGE OF THE KING IN 2 KINGS 18–20 IN THREE HISTORICAL CONTEXTS
This contribution contains a test case for Römer’s theory of a threefold redaction of the Deuteronomistic History. His theory cannot be tested empirically, but gives the impres-sion of being coherent. Applying his insights to the reports on king Hezekiah (2 Kings 18–20) yields some interesting and functional insights. It turns out that the memory on Hezekiah was adapted to new situations: a role model in the age of Josiah, a hero in the exilic period, and a mirror for particularism in the Persian period.
THE MEANING OF THE PAST IN THE CONTEMPORARY DEBATE ON CIRCUMCISION OF BOYS: ‘SOCIAL IMAGINARIES’ AND THE CASE OF PAUL
This article explores perceptions of the past, and in particular of the apostle Paul, in recent newspaper articles that discuss male circumcision, using Charles Taylor’s category of the ‘social imaginary’. Applying Taylor’s category of the ‘imaginary’ to this contemporary debate shows that the past is constructed in several ways, sometimes in understanding history as progress, but also as a warning or a deciding factor in contemporary oppositions. Views of the past that mention Paul locate his relevance for contemporary attitudes in his presumed rejection of physical circumcision and emphasis on inner attitudes, but can draw very different conclusions from this for contemporary attitudes towards circumcision.
Lucien van Liere:
THEODOR W. ADORNO AND MAX HORKHEIMER, DIALEKTIK DER AUFKLÄRUNG, PHILOSOPHISCHE FRAGMENTE (1947)
In 1947, Theodor W. Adorno and Max Horkheimer, two members of the so-called Frankfurt School of Sociology published The Dialectic of Enlightenment. The book, written in exile, did not study national-socialism as an accident or exception in European history, but rather as the result of an ongoing process of rationalization. The authors included a fierce critique of the capitalist modus of (re-)production as ‘culture industry’ that would in the end eliminate rational individuality. Although in the 1940ies the book did not receive very enthusiastic receptions, in the revolutionary sixties of the 20th century, the analytical frame developed in the book received more and more attention. Thinking about theology and religious studies in the 21st century, questions about perceptions of human dignity and individuality cannot go without relating these perceptions to the cultural context in which these are produced.