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Religion and Economy

Session Chair: N.N. | Friday, August 28, 9-11 a.m. | Venue

Jelle Creemers

Loyalty to God, Trust in the State: Adaptation and Transformation in Discourse on Financial Support in Belgian Faith Mission Churches

Three Canadian Plymouth Brethren couples landed on Belgian soil in the 1970’s to bring the Gospel to this Catholic nation. The “faith principle” was upheld, implying that support from newly established congregations was refused and converts were taught to trust God for all financial needs. Forty years later, a denomination with 26 churches (the Evangelische Christengemeenten Vlaanderen) is the fruit of this work. Ten Flemish Gospel workers now work fulltime in the ECV assemblies. The “faith principle” is still part of the theological discourse, but the meaning is shifting as ecclesial policies have changed fundamentally. Five of the workers are paid by a private foundation and the other five receive full salaries from the Belgian State as Protestant ministers. On the basis of interviews and archival research, this paper aims to uncover discursive evolutions regarding “the faith principle”, finances, and biblical hermeneutics in the praxis and principles of the ECV.

Toshiki Shimizu

Economic theology: constructing the concept of man-wealth relationship from calling to charity through early modern British religious discourses

I provide a systematization of the "economic theology". By this term I mean economic discourses within theology, specifically, on the man-wealth relationship and its connection to fundamental religious values, like God and salvation. My formulatory focus here is on secular labour as a God’s calling and on charity as a religiously-sanctioned economic action, in other words, wealth-gaining and wealth-using in faithful forms. My material focus is on 18th century British thinkers, especially on John Wesley, a theologian and a leader of a popular religious movement. Max Weber mis-cited Wesley in his religio-economic history a century ago, and has been criticized. However, by extending Weber’s views on the religious or aesthetic use of wealth, we can construct another new framework for religio-economic history. Wesley’s "economic theology" and comparing it in various traditions he inherited clarify the diversity in early modern West, and help reconstructing the historical view of the religion-economy relation.

Pranabanand Jash

Management System in the Buddhist Sangha

A study of some aspects of internal administrative set up of the monastic Order (Vihara) as well as the mechanism of the monastic hierarchy system is critically examined in the paper. Utilizing Buddhist Pali text and other contemporary literary works it throws light on the designations and status of the officials who were responsible for an easy and smooth running of the administration of the Samgha. Textual writings tend us to believe that in every sphere of activities of the monastery a strong and well organized management involvement were executed. There is no iota of doubt that the rules and regulations of the Order were neither drawn up in their entirety in Buddha’s life time, nor were formulated in their entirety after his demise (parinibbana). It’s a gradual process and is incorporated subsequently with the requirement of the socio-religious aspirations of the common milieu.

Tetsuya Tanaka

Regulating Freedom of Worship: Rani Sati Temple Management after Implementation of the Commission of Sati (Prevention) Act in India

This paper analyzes the contemporary issue of the management of Rani Sati temple in Rajasthan, western India. This temple commemorates a legendary widow from the Jalan lineage of the Agrawal caste, who was alleged to conduct a custom of widow immolation, namely Sati, in 1295, and became one of the most famous Satimatas (deification of the immolated widows) in India. Since the Commission of Sati (Prevention) Act was implemented to prohibit worship of the immolated widows in 1988, the temple has begun lawsuits to protect the basic right of religious freedom against public interference of the Rajasthan State. The precedents of court battles show that legal legitimacy of the Act is ambiguous. While the Indian state must prohibit Satimata worship, it must protect the rights of religious freedom. This paper discloses multiple discourses of the “freedom of worship” in the regulated Hindu temple.


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