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Identity, environment, and deity

Controversial poet Ronald Stuart Thomas was considered to be one of the leading writers of the twentieth century. This book, in three parts, interprets the development of a major theme over Thomas's twenty-seven volumes, probing particular themes and poems with a meticulous insight. The themes of identity, environment, and deity treated reflect the major preoccupations of his life and work. The book presents a comprehensive examination of these major themes as they occur across Thomas's substantial oeuvre, while providing an expanded frame within which the considerable complexity of Thomas's work can be explored. It suggests that such poetic explorations and revelations of identity provide the prima materia of the poetry and form an underlying foundation to Thomas's poetry viewed as a single body of work. Thomas's treatment of the natural world, in particular the theology of nature mysticism vital to much of his work, is then discussed. The book also looks closely at Thomas's increasing preoccupation with science. It explores his philosophical concern with a scientific register for poetry, his own experimentation with that register, his subtle ambivalence towards applied technology, his ongoing critique of 'the machine', and his view of modern physics. Finally, examining Thomas's 'religious poetry', the book re-focuses on the exact nature of his poetic approach to a 'theology of experience' as reflected in his 'mythic' and 'via negativa' modes. It highlights Thomas's 'reconfiguring' of theology, that is, his insistence on the central validity and importance of individual spiritual experience, both as absence and as presence.

Perspectives on civilisation in Latin America

, liberationists have borne witness to class and civilisational memories. By creating the spaces for making memory and then reinterpreting memory in relation to scripture, liberation theology was able to introduce dialogical construction of cultural memory and traditions. Comparable developments occurred in the Pacific in black liberation theology movements (Shilliam, 2015). In Latin America, the spaces for memory-​making look particularly pertinent to the interface of indigenous- and Euro-​America where modernity is an experience of violent social imaginaries. Where the

in Debating civilisations
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this point tried to follow the rules of scholastic and theological argumentation, will now be framed in what they conceive of as moral terms; henceforth they will appeal to the rule of authority only to provide context for reliable human experience. This differentiation between kinds of discourse, however, cannot denote the presence of rigid boundaries between different realms of human experience, since it is an essential characteristic of the authors’ thought that the truth theologically determined must correspond at some level with the reality of sensory experience

in The Malleus Maleficarum and the construction of witchcraft
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Interrogating civilisational analysis in a global age

Contemporary civilisational analysis has emerged in the post-Cold War period as a forming but already controversial field of scholarship. This book focuses on the scholarship produced in this field since the 1970s. It begins with anthropological axioms posited by Ibn Khaldun, Simon Bolivar and George Pachymeres. Three conceptual images of civilisations are prominent in the field. First, civilisations are conceived as socio-cultural units, entities or blocs in an 'integrationist' image. They emerge out of long-term uneven historical processes. Finally, in a 'relational' image civilisations are believed to gain definition and institute developmental patterns through inter-societal and inter-cultural encounters. The book traces the history of semantic developments of the notions of 'civilisation' and 'civilisations' coextensive with the expansion of Europe's empires and consubstantial with colonialism. Early modernities are more important in the long formation of capitalism. Outlining the conceptual framework of inter-civilisational engagement, the book analytically plots the ties instituted by human imaginaries across four dimensions of inter-civilisational engagement. It also interrogates the relationship between oceans, seas and civilisations. Oceanian civilisation exhibits patterns of deep engagement and connection. Though damaged, Pacific cultures have invoked their own counter-imaginary in closer proximity to past islander experiences. Collective memory provides resources for coping with critical issues. The book also explores Latin American and Japanese experiences that shed light on the engagement of civilisations, applying the model of inter-civilisational engagement to modern perspectives in culture and the arts, politics, theology and political economy.

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pervasive. This examination of individual collections allows one a view into the most concentrated treatment and development of such themes by Thomas, as well as a deeper grasp of the character of the individual volumes, each of them significant milestones in the oeuvre as a whole. My chief purpose in these final chapters is to highlight and explore what might be called Thomas’s ‘reconfiguring’ of theology, that is, his insistence on the central validity and importance of individual spiritual experience, both as absence and as presence. That insistence radically expands

in R. S. Thomas
Nonconformist religion in nineteenth-century pacifism

popularisation of biblical criticism, liberal Quakers regarded the Bible as fallible and therefore had no certain source of theological knowledge. Thus a new emphasis developed on religious experience as the foundation for faith, and the concept of the Inner Light was successfully revived as a core doctrine. However, the new liberal Quakerism also conflicted with some of the Quietists’ central tenets, particularly the rejection of the study of religion and of organised social action. Anti-intellectualism had been a persistent characteristic of Quietism and one of its enduring

in ‘The truest form of patriotism’
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much as definite ‘stages’ in a strict theological development by Thomas but, rather, as manifestations of the poet’s deepening spiritual probe, his grappling with the nature of deity and its relation to human experience. The title, Frequencies, itself indicates a widening range to the poet’s probe of divinity, pointing to an chapter7 28/1/05 1:34 pm Page 176 176 Expanding deity awareness of spiritual ‘vibrations’ or ‘signals’ coming simultaneously from distances without and within. Far from being disposed of, the mythic God is still very much the God of

in R. S. Thomas

experience 29 existence, as a structural bridge enabling us to think the relation between past and future (or to think ‘narrative’, as it were). He begins from a consideration of the great transgressive moment of death. Meditating on a question whose theological basis is doubt about resurrection, Augustine asks whether it is possible to believe in ghosts: ‘can one be living and dead at the same time?’. In response, he proposes a sophisticated argument in which he establishes an absolute opposition between being alive and being dead. That strict opposition then allows him

in The new aestheticism
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episcopacy that occurred through the Tridentine period, for it hides the debates and the developments in episcopal theology and practice that preoccupied bishops and other reformers. That flux was nowhere more evident than in the French church, one of the major bastions of catholicism, with an overwhelmingly Catholic population and monarchs who prided themselves on the impeccable Catholic credentials of ‘most Christian king’ and ‘eldest son of the Church’. Amid the vigorous reform currents of this seventeenth-century realm, there arose an unprecedented debate on the nature

in Fathers, pastors and kings
Libraries, friends and conversation

difficult or unfamiliar languages). Supplementing the works of religious learning are a generous collection of classical sources by Cicero, Justin, Caesar, Seneca, Lucan, Virgil, Horace, and, perhaps significantly both a Latin and Italian edition of Lucretius de rerum natura. It would not however be sensible or appropriate to suggest that somehow these works were a determinant of the character of Toland’s intellectual disposition. In contrast to the works on theology and classical antiquity, there were, scattered amongst the piles in the room, a few volumes (by Sarpi

in Republican learning