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DepositReview of Rajiv Malhotra’s Being Different: An Indian Challenge to Western Universalism

Malhotra is generally portrayed by American and European philosophers as a theologian and he is relegated to the backwaters of Hindutva. This review makes a strong case for Malhotra’s scholarship and contextualizes him within the domains of philosophy and even Liberation Theology. Malhotra’s scholarship has been non-pejoratively assessed in this review. The reviewer’s bias is towards Christianity and not Hinduism. Therefore this review is all the more important to Malhotra’s critics.

MemberMarika Rose

I am a Postdoctoral Fellow in Philosophical Theology at the University of Winchester, an Honorary Research Fellow at the Queen’s Foundation for Ecumenical Theological Education, and reviews editor for Theology and Sexuality. My research focuses on the intersection of contemporary continental philosophy of religion and Christian systematic theology. My PhD thesis, ‘A Theology of Failure: Ontology and Desire in Slavoj Žižek and Christian Apophaticism’ brought the recent ‘materialist turn’ in continental philosophy to bear on existing debates about the relationship between Christian mystical theology and contemporary philosophies of difference, otherness and negativity. I argued that Žižek’s materialist thought offers resources for re-conceptualising Christian identity without the idealism which so often characterises Christian theology and tends to cover over both the dependence of Christianity theology on resources drawn from non-Christian traditions and the ways in which Christianity’s failures are not simply incidental but deeply entangled with the basic structures of Christian thinking. A monograph based on my thesis is forthcoming with Fordham University Press. Since finishing my thesis I have continued to develop my work on Žižek in more critical directions, exploring in particular the entanglement of Christianity and Eurocentrism within his work, and have begun to explore the role of Christianity in contemporary constructions of whiteness and European identity, drawing on resources from black and liberation theologies. My current project focuses on the cultural and theological shift from angels to cyborgs as key figures for imagining the futures of human life in order to ground a broader exploration of the process of disenchantment – the disappearance of a Christian-Neoplatonic vision of the world in which everything exists within a hierarchical system of signs which point to God – and subsequent re-enchantment – the emergence of a digitised, machinic capitalism in which everything exists within an algorithmic system of signs in which everything enables the circulation of surplus value.

MemberAlexander Chow

Alexander Chow is Lecturer in Theology and World Christianity in the School of Divinity, University of Edinburgh. He is an American-born Chinese who was raised in Southern California.  He completed his PhD in theology at the University of Birmingham, followed by a postdoctoral fellowship at Renmin University of China, where he was doing research in Chinese Christianity and teaching in the School of Liberal Arts. Alex joined the University of Edinburgh in September 2013 and is an editor of the journal Studies in World Christianity (Edinburgh University Press). Alex has written a number of articles on Christianity in China, and more broadly, in East Asia. He has written two books, Theosis, Sino-Christian Theology and the Second Chinese Enlightenment (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013; Chinese edition: Institute of Sino-Christian Studies, 2015) and Chinese Public Theology: Generational Shifts and Confucian Imagination in Chinese Christianity (Oxford University Press, 2018).

Memberdeniseopeia

DENISE STARKEY is Associate Professor of Theology and Religious Studies and the Director of the Women’s and Gender Studies program at The College of St. Scholastica. She is the recipient of the 1st Benedictine Professor of General Education Award. Her academic interests include Feminist, Liberation and Political Theologies; Spirituality and Mystical Theology; Christian Ethics and Social Justice; Feminist Theory/Philosophy/Ethics; and Theology and Psychology. Denise received her Ph.D. in Constructive Theology (with highest honors) from Loyola University-Chicago. She is the author of The Shame that Lingers: A Survivor-centered Critique of Catholic Sin-talk (2009) and a contributing author to Religion and Men’s Violence Against Women (2015). Her current research explores practices of pilgrimage and multiple religious belonging in order to construct a nomadic spirituality of home for survivors of violence. She is also president of the Board of Directors of the FaithTrust Institute, a national, multifaith organization working to end sexual and domestic violence.

MemberTaylor Weaver

I am a current doctoral student working with Ward Blanton at the University of Kent. My main research interest is in Pauline conceptions of community, particularly in regards to the recent philosophical interest in Paul. Primarily, my work is concerned with re-thinking community in Paul using recent debates about conceptualizing community in ‘continental’ philosophy, while also balancing historical-critical Pauline constructions. I teach various subjects at Kent and I also teach Popular Culture and Theology at Canterbury Christ Church University.

MemberAdam Rasmussen

Dr. Rasmussen is a Professorial Lecturer in the Department of Theology at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. He teaches “Introduction to Biblical Literature,” with an emphasis on feminist interpretation, and occasional offerings of “Women in Christianity,” a course of his own design that explores women from Eve to Thérèse of Lisieux. He is also a Senior Lecturer in the Humanities Division of Brescia University’s online program, where he teaches theology, biblical studies, and church history courses. He has a Ph.D. in Theology and Religious Studies from The Catholic University of America, specializing in historical theology and early Christianity. His research focuses on Basil of Caesarea, Origen, and the interface between theology and science in their writings. His first book, Genesis and Cosmos, is forthcoming from Brill’s Bible in Ancient Christianity series. His current research focuses on Basil and the human body, physiology, and medicine. He has also begun a fresh translation of Basil’s Hexaemeron. He sometimes blogs (and Tweets) about issues in the Catholic church today, particularly Pope Francis and his discontents (e.g.).

DepositWhere Three Or More Are Gathered: Gay Polyamorous Friendship as an Ecclesial Phenomenon

Given the contemporary emergence of polyamory as a visible social reality in light of the Obergefell decision, the question of exactly who in the LGBTQIA community has “won” takes a newfound urgency. Within history and Christian tradition, gay “polyamory” defined by friendship has a long and rich presence that even has taken a uniquely clerical character. Within such communities, where amor and filia have long enjoyed an ambiguous yet rich relationship, a certain Communio emerges whose character I interpret as ecclesial. I argue that gay polyamory is an embodied ethic that creatively deconstructs socio-sexual ethics, and that this performs the crucial theological task of resistance and liberation from bodies that perpetuate normalized socio-sexual ethics. By examining the development and invention of moral categories within sexual ethics and their relationship to normativity and its transgression, this paper explores the phenomenon of gay polyamorous friendship as a form of ekklesia.