This issue offers ten engaging articles and nineteen book reviews whose range covers theology, biblical studies, history, and pastoral studies.
Reflecting the institutional interplay between academic theology and religious diversity is a cluster of five essays that reference Germany and Canada. Descriptive and explanatory, the group questions indirectly the viability of continuing to distinguish between an insider’s and outsider’s point of view on theological education.
In particular, development of theological studies in Germany in this century is accommodating Islamic and Jewish theologies vis-à-vis secular expectations in state universities where Christian theology has had a monopoly for centuries. Four of the five discuss the emergence of a new model of relating academic theology to religiously diverse social reality. One of the four describes the German academic landscape of theology and religious studies. Two others focus on Jewish theology, and another on the production of Islamic theological knowledge or development of Islamic theological studies as a discipline, distinct from Islamic studies, and funded by the state. In contrast to them, the opening article distinguishes between ethico-political and scholarly aims in discussing the claim of an increase in Canadian religious diversity, and how a prejudicial assumption of that claim might subvert realizing a ‘‘just and peaceful society.’’
Can universal human community as a category by Edith Stein be philosophically defended? One of the remaining five articles offers a defence on phenomenological and theological grounds, considering critiques along the lines of Esposito and Foucault. Another focuses on Buddhist Christian relation in answering the question of how to find room in Asia for Christ. In its analysis of Pieris’s theology, it proposes that working and dialoguing with other faith traditions to alleviate suffering and poverty is the most constructive theological approach.
Eternal conscious torment constitutes hell, according to the traditionalist account. That implicates a major aspect of reality as being in rebellion against God. According to one essay, it poses a problem in believing that God is perfect or good, and as such may require that the traditionalist account abandon the notion of hell as eternal torment. In a similar tenor, another article asks whether mysticism can be diabolical. It adopts a broad definition of mysticism as introvertive psychological awareness of unity and claims that in Dostoevsky a range of mystical experiences is diabolical. [End Page 157]
The closing article has an implicit argument that the foundation for the common good to be shared with newcomers and refugees requires acceptance of responsibility and gratitude that correlates with seeing the world as a gift rather than possession.
Read on to the book review section for recent publications by familiar names that include Peckham, Berkman, Fensham, and O’Gara from Toronto. [End Page 158]