• Postliberal positions in public theology

      Fulford, Ben; University of Chester (Bloomsbury, 2022-06-30)
      In this chapter, I seek to show that, contrary to widespread caricatures as fideists eschewing publicly intelligible critical scrutiny, or sectarians advocating Christian disengagement from the public realm, postliberal theologians have a deep commitment to publicness in both these senses, which arises from their commitment to the irreducible particularity of Christian beliefs, practices and the stories which norm them. It is, I argue first, because of this commitment to Christian particularity and the orientation to the public it entails, that they are critical of attempts to establish the public status of Christian belief and practice on a putatively universalist foundation or general theory of human existence or religion. They pursue this critique in order to preserve the public character of Christian faith. Second, to different degrees, they seek to mobilise what they take to be core resources of Christian tradition, not least its central scriptural narratives, in order to frame, orient and exemplify constructive Christian engagement with public issues and events. Third, they have sought to find ways to articulate the modes and terms of critical public accountability for Christian beliefs and practices without lapsing back into the very modes of theological and ethical argument against which they protest. These tend to liken the public intelligibility of Christian meanings to those of the culture of a community, to combine realist, coherentist and pragmatic understandings to describe what it means to call Christianity ‘true’, which admit of a range of public ways of assessing Christian discourse without subordinating it to a distorting set of criteria.
    • A lot of snow out of one cloud: : A Concordance Analysis of Ursula K. Le Guin’s Hainish Cycle

      Hay, Jonathan; University of Chester (Hélice, 2021-12-09)
      Whereas prior academic studies of the Hainish Cycle have been primarily produced by means of textual analysis, I demonstrate that a concordance analysis of its six novels reveals significant, yet heretofore overlooked, ecological aspects of Le Guin’s series. As becomes apparent, snow imagery literalises the Hainish Cycle’s New Wave moves from technological, to biological and sociological concerns, emphasising the series’ significant challenge to the technophilic assumptions and eschatological foundations of the preceding Golden Age. Accordingly, this article demonstrates the primacy of the datum of snow within the narratives of the Hainish Cycle novels, and delineates its important contribution to the series’ SFnal dialectic on aggregate.
    • Neocolonial Auspices: Rethinking the Ekumen in Ursula K. Le Guin’s Hainish Cycle

      Hay, Jonathan; University of Chester (International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts (Idaho University), 2021-12-01)
      Although the Ekumen in Ursula K. Le Guin’s Hainish Cycle have frequently been read as a utopian social body, their policy of contacting native cultures frequently provokes the erasure of that same cultural multiplicity which they purport to value. Hence, the uneven cultural synthesis enacted by the Ekumen across the galaxy cannot be intended as a positive epistemology of multicultural society. Rather, throughout the Hainish Cycle, the colonial practices of the Ekumen rhetorically contrast the series’ emphasis upon the multifaceted forms of life and culture found across the unassimilated worlds of the galaxy. Accordingly, Le Guin’s series problematizes the colonial practices of the Ekumen through what we might profitably term its mundane dialectic, which consequently engenders a cogent means of neocolonial discourse.
    • The Social History of a Medieval Fish Weir, c. 600-2020

      Pickles, Thomas; University of Chester (Taylor & Francis, 2021-10-27)
      This paper presents the longue durée social history of a medieval fish weir. It reveals the significant role of fishing and fish weirs in the construction and reconstruction of social structures and cultural identities. It focuses on an enigmatic annual ceremony – the construction of the Horngarth or Penny Hedge at Whitby, North Yorkshire. It begins by arguing that this descends from the construction of a medieval intertidal fish weir. It then explores the possible social and cultural contexts in which it originated and the social and cultural circumstances that perpetuated its construction to the sixteenth century. It proceeds to consider the social and cultural changes that undermined its original function and transformed its significance in the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries, and how an invented tradition about it became important to the local identity and national reputation of the town.
    • What is Pure Land Buddhism?

      Dossett, Wendy; University of Chester (Equinox Publishing, 2021-10-25)
      A short introductory essay on Pure Land Buddhism addressing its history, texts, teachings and internal diversity.
    • Are Alcohol and Drugs ever acceptable to Buddhists?

      Dossett, Wendy; University of Chester (Equinox Publishing, 2021-10-25)
      This short chapter explores the ways in which the fifth precept has been interpreted in different social locations, as well as Buddhist ritual use of entheogens, the association of spirituality and psychedelics, and Buddhist approaches to addiction recovery.
    • Editorial and Contents of Flash Fiction Magazine (11.2)

      Blair, Peter; Chantler, Ashley; University of Chester (University of Chester, 2021-10-01)
      Editorial and Contents.
    • Disrupting the Rituals of Grief: Conflict, Covid-19 and the Fracturing of Funerary Tradition

      Critchell, Kara; University of Chester (Peter Lang, 2021-09-01)
      This chapter considers the disruption of the funerary ritual during the Covid-19 pandemic and reflects on the connections between these disruptions and state intervention in funerary practice during the Second World War. Through an analysis of how such intervention has occurred, and the language of sacrifice that has been evoked in both instances, it will be suggested that the fracturing of the formal rituals of death and commemoration has not only led to complicated grief amongst individuals, but that it could also result in long- term societal trauma.
    • A New and Living Way A Study of Leviticus as Rhetoric A Multi-Disciplinary Critique of Moshe Kline’s Approach to the Reading and the Writing of the Book

      Alexander, Philip; Morgan, Jon; Collins, Matthew; Hocking, Paul J. (University of Chester, 2021-09)
      This research is focused on the rhetoric of Leviticus as a bounded book, and on the different ways that scholars argue for its structure and purpose. In so doing, it examines the validity of Milgrom’s words that “structure is theology,” asking if the compositional structure of the book indicates its ideological thrust. The thesis question is epistemological—how can one know? How can one know if the book of Leviticus has a coherent literary structure (its composition), and, if so, what purpose that structure is meant to serve (its suasive intent)? The thesis method is empirical—on what evidence is knowing based? The thesis conclusion is that the final form of the book of Leviticus does indeed show strong evidence of an internal literary structure with suasive intent. However, given that a series of scholars since Milgrom have proposed various literary structures and purposes for the book, how can one know which are most plausible? Are there rhetorical-critical tools one can use to appraise any proposal, to gain evidence of its plausibility? This thesis takes the form of an empirical Case Study, and models a multi-disciplinary, rhetorical-critical approach to appraising a proposal by Moshe Kline, evaluating his reading based on his understanding of how the writing was structured. The thesis intends to test and evaluate the validity and reliability of the exemplar proposal, not to defend it. My main contribution to the field is therefore both specific and general: specifically, to evaluate, using literary-critical tools, the plausibility and significance of Kline’s composition proposal in the context of others, and, then generally, to demonstrate how these tools may be used by scholars to appraise the adequacy of other composition proposals. The assumption here is that the use of a range of tools will limit researcher bias and increase the validity of conclusions in rhetorical-critical studies. In simple terms, use of a suite of methods can help in discerning whether any specific proposal of literary composition constitutes an adequate explanation of the evidence regarding the structure and purpose of the text. The evidence from the specific Case Study is sufficient to confirm the plausibility (the validity and reliability) of Kline’s composition proposal, though a number of provisos are indicated. It concludes that the composition of Leviticus projects a sanctifying journey, “a new and living way.” Further depth is added to the study because Kline’s model of Leviticus’ composition proposes not just a new reading of Leviticus but also argues for a new paradigm of writing in certain ancient texts. Therefore, this thesis not only evaluates Kline’s reading of Leviticus but also his paradigm of writing itself.
    • Book Review: Planning in the Early Medieval Landscape, by John Blair, Stephen Rippon and Christopher Smart

      Pickles, Thomas; University of Chester (Oxford University Press, 2021-08-12)
      A book review of John Blair, Stephen Rippon, and Christopher Smart, Planning the Early Medieval Landscape (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2020).
    • Review of Ecofeminist Science Fiction: International Perspectives on Gender, Ecology, and Literature

      Hay, Jonathan; University of Chester (The Science Fiction Foundation, 2021-08-06)
      Book review of Ecofeminist Science Fiction: International Perspectives on Gender, Ecology, and Literature, ed. Douglas A. Vakoch (Routledge, 2021, 232pp, £120).
    • The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Family Names in Britain

      Parkin, Harry; University of Chester (Oxford University Press, 2021-08-03)
      A dictionary of family names found in Britain in the present day. A concise version of the Oxford Dictionary of Family Names in Britain and Ireland (2016).
    • Peggy the Tutor, Mentor, Colleague and Friend.

      Dossett, Wendy; Burns, Andrew; Schmidt, Bettina; University of Chester; Alister Hardy Society; Religious Experience Research Centre, University of Wales Trinity St David (Religious Experience Research Centre, 2021-08-03)
      Introduction to the Festschrift - Essays in Honour of Peggy Morgan
    • Eastern Presence: Metropolitan responses to the Indian Army, 1914-15

      Grady, Tim; Ewence, Hannah; Dawson, Owen J. (University of Chester, 2021-08)
      The mobilisation of the British empire during the First World War created new spaces for encounter between British and Indian society. Between August 1914 and December 1915, the Indian army dispatched over 100,000 Indian servicemen to the Western Front as part of Indian Expeditionary Force A. The thesis’s objective is to improve understanding of how Western and, more specifically, British society responded to the presence of these Indian servicemen. It reconsiders British perspectives of the Indian solider, reflects upon how these perspectives impacted the discourse which surrounded the sepoys, and the effect it had on the Indian army’s colonial hierarchy. As a result, ‘Eastern Presence’ furthers understanding of British conceptions of racial identity and colonialism within the context of the First World War and demonstrates the impact that these conceptions had on the Indian army’s hierarchical structure. To achieve this goal, the thesis uses the geographical and locational settings experienced by Indian servicemen during their stay in Western Europe to analyse their interactions with various parts of British and Western society. Through its analysis of these interactions, ‘Eastern Presence’ challenges much of the existing historiography by arguing that variances in conceptions of race can be identified, depending on the part of British society which experienced the encounter. It consequently concludes that British society demonstrated varying degrees of knowledge, empathy, and perception towards the colonial ‘other’ in its midst.
    • ‘I’m Gonna Be the Best Friend You Could Ever Hope For—And the Worst Enemy You Could Ever Imagine’: Frank Miller’s All Star Batman & Robin, the Boy Wonder and the Problem of the Boy Sidekick in the Twenty-First-Century Superhero Narrative

      Andrew, Lucy; University of Chester (Palgrave Macmillan, 2021-07-25)
      Andrew examines the representation of the boy sidekick/adult detective relationship in Frank Miller’s All Star Batman & Robin, the Boy Wonder (2005–2008). The chapter explores the ways in which Miller’s graphic novel revises, rewrites and problematises the classic Batman/Robin relationship, with particular emphasis on power, violence and abuse. It explores the disturbing parallels that the text draws between the boy sidekick and the love interest, the troubling power imbalance between the adult superhero and his boy sidekick, and the dangers inherent in introducing an innocent and traumatised boy into the violent world of an adult crime fighter. The chapter concludes by identifying how tonal and structural shifts in the comic-book medium have contributed to the growing prevalence of problematised Robin figures in twenty-first-century Batman narratives.
    • Introduction: Step Forward, Sidekicks

      Andrew, Lucy; Saunders, Samuel; University of Chester (Palgrave Macmillan, 2021-07-25)
      Saunders and Andrew offer a definition of the sidekick in crime fiction and provide a brief account of the origins and development of this figure from the nineteenth century to the present day. They outline significant moments in the history of the sidekick, establish key trends in the construction of the sidekick, and identify and interrogate widely held views about the sidekick’s function and representation in crime fiction. They make a case for the wider significance of the sidekick beyond the role of help-mate or foil to the infallible detective and point towards the key contributions that the sidekick has made and continues to make to the canon of crime fiction. They also offer a brief introduction to each of the essays and key themes/ideas explored by contributors throughout the collection.
    • The Posthuman Trajectory of Isaac Asimov’s Foundation Universe

      Hay, Jonathan; University of Chester (Burrowing Wombat Press, 2021-06-30)
      When Isaac Asimov began to expand the fictional universe of his acclaimed Foundation Trilogy in 1982—almost thirty years after the publication of its prior entry, Second Foundation (1953)—he did so with the express intention of assimilating its continuity into a unified “history of the future” with his Robot and Galactic Empire series. Although the Foundation Universe has received little critical attention to date as a unified series, the analysis of it cumulatively reveals its significantly mundane and repetitive aspects. Demonstrably, the rhetorical function of such banal components renders the series conspicuously posthuman.
    • Were the Early Christians Really Persecuted

      Middleton, Paul; University of Chester (Amsterdam University Press, 2021-06-30)
      In their writings, the Early Christians presented themselves as a suffering community, facing intolerance and misunderstanding from Jew and Gentile alike, to the extent that in Acts, the Jewish community in Rome are made to declare of early Christianity, ‘we know that people everywhere are talking against this sect’ (Acts 28.22). However, historians generally recognise that while members of the early Church undoubtedly did face some harassment, there was no empire-wide policy against Christianity until well into the third century, and even then, these were short lived. Where Christians experienced persecution, it tended to be localised, sporadic, and random, and resulted from pockets of prejudice rather than any official imperial interest in the Church. If we see those who take at face value the deutero-Pauline claim that ‘all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted’ (2 Tim 3.12) as representing a ‘maximalist’ view of persecution, then, in direct contrast, what might be termed a ‘minimalist’ account is gaining popularity among scholars. Minimalists go beyond the view that Christians faced ‘periodic persecution’, and conclude that in all significant respects, the Christian narrative of persecution is a constructed myth. Moreover, they tend to turn Christian charges against their pagan neighbour of intolerance back onto the early Church, arguing that in a Roman environment of general imperial tolerance towards varieties of beliefs and practices, it was Christian intolerance and intransigence that led to their appearances before magistrates. However, this was not persecution in any meaningful sense, but prosecution. Both maximalist and minimalist accounts of early Christian experiences of suffering construct a context in which a generally tolerant group encounter an intolerant ‘other’. Depending on which approach is adopted, either Christians or Romans were the ‘victims’ of intolerance. In light of this apparent scholarly paradigm shift, I return to the basic question: were the early Christians persecuted? First I outline the formerly dominant ‘persecution paradigm’, arguing that this way of presenting Christian experience is already promoted in New Testament texts. Next, I evaluate recent revisionist ‘minimalist’ accounts, noting that the idea Christians invented—or at least exaggerated—the extent of the persecution can be found as far back as the eighteenth century. These re-evaluations offer an important and valuable corrective to the maximalist approach. However, minimalists, I argue, tend to simply replace a one-sided Christian reading of history with an equally skewed Roman perspective. Instead, I offer a reading which might be categorised as ‘modified minimalism’, in which I sidestep the persecution/prosecution dichotomy, and conclude that while it is certainly the case that Romans would have understood their (albeit limited) actions against Christians as prosecutions designed to protect the integrity of the State, Christians experienced those actions, not without reason, as persecution. I argue that Christians and Romans were indeed ‘tolerant’ of the other—just not where it mattered!
    • The Gülen Movement: Between Turkey and international exile

      Tee, Caroline; University of Chester (Brill, 2021-06-24)
      This is a chapter introducing the Gülen Movement to a general scholarly readership, as part of a Handbook of Islamic Sects and Movements.
    • Spirit-Centred Personhood: re-reading anorexia nervosa through a feminist practical theological frame

      Graham, Elaine; Babb, Julie B. (University of Chester, 2021-06)
      Anorexia nervosa is a ‘frequently lethal illness’ (Watson et al, 2019). Watson et al make this assertion as they and other researchers seek to understanding the role that genes play in the illness and its lethality. Recent biological research such as this has vastly extended knowledge about anorexia, as has recent psychological and sociological research into the illness. However, researchers in these areas acknowledge that understanding of anorexia remains insufficient notwithstanding the new knowledge that they are generating through their painstaking work (Nunn et al, 2011). I argue across this thesis that biological, psychological and sociological models of anorexia are unable to generate more sufficient understanding because they are limited by the binary opposition that structures discourse in the West. I claim that this limitation results from the way in which Aristotle’s metaphysical figuration of the subject of discourse as a universal male continues to frame subjectivity in the West: a framing of subjectivity that I argue the experience of female anorexia brings into view when engaged in an interdisciplinary dialogue with feminist practical theology. In order to respond to the limitation that inheres in biological, psychological and sociological models of anorexia, and to generate more sufficient understanding of the illness, I develop a model of spirit-centred personhood through which to embody subjectivity and women with anorexia. I establish a reflexive narrative methodology to underpin the dialogic nature and dialectic movement of the theoretical framework of this model. I argue that these combine through the relational subjectivity that is embodied by the intrapersonal and interpersonal dimensions of the traits of my model. My model of spirit-centred personhood thus enables me to respond to the research problem in two important ways. First, it enables me to generate knowledge from an embodied and sexuate location as it frames my engagement with the philosophy of Luce Irigaray, my key conversation partner. Second, it enables me to employ that knowledge to embody subjectivity in theory and women with anorexia in practice. In enabling me to respond in these two ways, my model assists me to achieve the overarching aim of this research project: namely, to enable women with anorexia to recover and sustain recovery across time.