Imaginative construction captured the methodological orientation of Gordon D. Kaufman (1925-2011), who in later work used the word mystery when speaking of the ultimate. Among his books are An Essay on Theological Method (1975) and In Face of Mystery: A Constructive Theology (1993). He published in Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science (1992, 2001, 2003a, b, 2005, 2007), and has been remembered here before (Drees 2012). In this issue of Zygon, Myriam Renaud considers the earlier work of Kaufman. Jerome Soneson and Patrick Woolley pay attention to method and epistemology. Thomas James analyzes his work as an ecological theocentrism, while Karl Peters takes Kaufman as a partner for his articulation of Christian naturalism. These papers come from a symposium at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Religion in November 2012 in Chicago.
Why should Gordon Kaufmans mid-career theological method be of renewed interest to contemporary theists? Two distinguishing characteristics of the West today are its increasing religious pluralism and the growing numbers of theists who rely on hybrid approaches to construct concepts of God. Kaufmans method is well suited to this current state of affairs because it is open to diverse religious and theological perspectives and to perspectives from science and secular humanism. It also militates against the weaknesses inherent to hybrid approaches—ad hoc constructs of God unable to motivate their holders to overcome human self-centeredness and so to contribute to the well-being and fulfillment of others. It achieves this by providing checks to reduce the risk of producing human-writ-large God-constructs. Lastly, Kaufmans method provides criteria to help theists identify humane and humanizing experiences, relationships, concepts, images, and texts (i.e., the basic material from which God-constructs are fashioned) from the plethora of options available, whether religious, cultural, or secular.
constructive theology • God • humanization • hybrid theology • Immanuel Kant • Gordon Kaufman • lived religion • theological method
Myriam Renaud is a Ph.D. Candidate in Theology at the University of Chicago Divinity School. She is 2012-13 Lecturer in Theology at Meadville Lombard Theological School, 2012-13 Junior Fellow in the Martin Marty Center for the Advanced Study of Religion, and Managing Editor of Sightings, the twice-weekly publication of the Marty Center. She may be contacted at the Martin Marty Center, The University of Chicago Divinity School, 1025 E. 58th St., Chicago, IL 60637, USA; e-mail: mrenaud @ uchicago.edu.
The Legacy of Gordon Kaufman: Theological Method and Its Pragmatic Norms by Jerome P. Soneson
I argue that themost significant contribution and legacy of Gordon Kaufmans work rests in his theological method. I limit my discussion to his methodological starting point, his concept of human nature, as he develops it in his book, In Face of Mystery. I show the relevance of this starting point for cultural and theological criticism by arguing two points: first, that this starting point embraces religious and cultural pluralism at its center, providing a framework for intercultural and interreligious discussion and cooperation, and second, that Kaufmans interpretation of religion that emerges out of this starting point embodies pragmatic criteria for evaluating and reconstructing alternative cultural and religious worldviews, so that they may function more adequately within the changing contexts of life.
anthropology • culture • historicism • Gordon Kaufman • pragmatism • relativism • theological method
Jerome P. Soneson is Associate Professor of Religion and Head of the Department of Philosophy and World Religions, University of Northern Iowa, Baker 135, Cedar Falls, IA 50614-0501, USA; e-mail: soneson @ uni.edu.
Kaufmans Debt to Kant: The Epistemological Importance of the Structure of the World Which Environs Us by J. Patrick Woolley
Gordon Kaufmans constructive theology can easily be taken out of context and misunderstood or misrepresented as a denial of God. It is too easily overlooked that in his approach everything is an imaginary construct given no immediate ontological status—the self, the world, and God are products of the imagination. This reflects an influence, not only of theories on linguistic and cultural relativism, but also of Kants ideas of pure reason. Kaufman is explicit about this debt to Kant. But I argue there are other aspects of Kants legacy implicit in his method. These center around Kaufmans engagement with observed patterns in nature. With Paul Tillichs aid, I bring this neglected issue to the fore and argue that addressing it allows one to more readily capitalize upon the Kantian influence in Kaufmans method. This, in turn, encourages one to tap more deeply into the epistemic underpinnings of Kaufmans approach to the science-religion dialogue.
epistemology • Immanuel Kant • Gordon Kaufman • mystery • ontology • religious dialogue • science-religion dialogue • space • Paul Tillich • time
J. Patrick Woolley is a Postdoctoral Fellow at Oxford University, Harris Manchester College, Mansfield Road, Oxford OX1 3TD, United Kingdom; e-mail: patrick.woolley @ hmc.ox.ac.uk.
Gordon Kaufman, Flat Ontology, and Value: Toward an Ecological Theocentrism by Thomas A. James
Gordon Kaufmans theology is characterized by a heightened tension between transcendence, expressed as theocentrism, and immanence, expressed as theological naturalism. The interplay between these two motifs leads to a contradiction between an austerity created by the conjunction of naturalism and theocentrism, on the one hand, and a humanized cosmos which is characterized by a pivotal and unique role for human moral agency, on the other. This paper tracks some of the influences behind Kaufmans program (primarily H. Richard Niebuhr and Henry Nelson Wieman) and then utilizes the flat ontology that emerges in the work of philosopher/sociologist of science Bruno Latour and of environmental philosopher Timothy Morton in order to point toward a reconstructed immanent theocentrism that no longer stakes meaning and value on the unique place of the human. Such a theology remains theocentric, but is now fully ecological.
dark ecology • ecological theology • flat ontology • immanence • Gordon Kaufman • Bruno Latour • Timothy Morton • naturalism • H. Richard Niebuhr • theocentrism • transcendence • Henry Nelson Wieman
Thomas A. James is Pastor of Covenant Presbyterian Church, 21575 West 10 Mile Road, Southfield, MI 48075, USA; e-mail: tomjames811 @ gmail.com.
A Christian Naturalism: Developing the Thinking Of Gordon Kaufman by Karl E. Peters
This essay develops a theological naturalism using Gordon Kaufmans nonpersonal idea of God as serendipitous creativity in contrast to the personal metaphorical theology of Sallie McFague. It then develops a Christian theological naturalism by using Kaufmans idea of historical trajectories, specifically Jesus trajectory₁ and Jesus trajectory₂. The first is the trajectory in the early Christian church assuming a personal God in the framework of Greek philosophy that results in the Trinity. The second is the naturalistic-humanistic trajectory of creativity (God) that evolves from nonpersonal interactions in the universe and life to creativity in persons and is manifested in Jesus as love. This is elaborated further with Dean Keith Simontons Darwinian understanding of genius and Marcus Borgs analysis of Jesus as Jewish mystic, teacher of alternative wisdom, and nonviolent resister to the domination system of the Roman Empire. What makes Jesus a religious genius is his exemplifying unconditional, universal love—a new mode of creativity (God) that has evolved from nonhuman to a human form.
Christology • creativity • Darwinian evolution • Gordon Kaufman • metaphor • nonviolent resistance • religious naturalism
Karl E. Peters is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy and Religion, Rollins College, and a former editor and coeditor of Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science. He can be reached at 30 Barn Door Hills Road, Granby, CT 06035, USA; e-mail: kpeters396 @ cox.net.
Islam and Biomedical Ethics
Islamic Bioethics in the Twenty-First Century by Mohammed Ghaly
Islamic bioethics is in good health, this article argues. During the twentieth century, academic researchers had to deal with a number of difficulties including the scarcity of available Islamic sources. However, the twenty-first century witnessed significant breakthroughs in the field of Islamic bioethics. A growing number of normative works authored by Muslim religious scholars and studies conducted by academic researchers have been published. This nascent field also proved to be appealing for research-funding institutions in the Muslim world and also in the West, such as the Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF) and the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO). On the other hand, the article argues that contemporary Islamic bioethics is in need of addressing news issues and adopting new approaches for the sake of maintaining and improving this good health in the future.
bioethics • environment • ethics • interdisciplinarity • interpretation • Islam • science • theology and science • Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science
Mohammed Ghaly is assistant professor of Islamic Law and Ethics, Leiden Institute for Religious Studies, Faculty of Humanities, Leiden University, Matthias de Vrieshof 1, Postbox 9515, 2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands; e-mail: m.ghaly @ hum.leidenuniv.nl.
Global Bioethics: Transnational Experiences and Islamic Bioethics by Henk ten Have
In the 1970s bioethics emerged as a new interdisciplinary discourse on medicine, health care, and medical technologies, primarily in Western, developed countries. The main focus was on how individual patients could be empowered to cope with the challenges of science and technology. Since the 1990s, the main source of bioethical problems is the process of globalization, particularly neoliberal market ideology. Faced with new challenges such as poverty, inequality, environmental degradation, hunger, pandemics, and organ trafficking the bioethical discourse of empowering individuals is no longer sufficient. Global bioethics nowadays is concerned with applying and implementing a universal ethical framework. Islamic bioethics has contributed to creating such framework (exemplified in the UNESCO Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights) while at the same time it is continuously articulating and interpreting this framework in specific settings and contexts.
bioethics • human rights • Islam • medicine
Henk A. M. J. ten Have is Director of the Center for Healthcare Ethics at Duquesne University, Fisher Hall 300, 600 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15282, USA; e-mail: tenhaveh @ duq.edu.
Womb Transplantation and the Interplay of Islam and the West by Amel Alghrani
In Saudi Arabia in 2000 the worlds first human uterus transplant was attempted with some success. In 2011 the second successful human uterus transplant took place in Turkey. Doctors in the United Kingdom have recently announced that uterus transplants will be carried out in the UK if doctors can raise enough funds to complete their research. As scientists continue to make progress in this domain this is anticipated to be the next breakthrough in the arena of assisted reproductive technologies. The procedure is designed to restore fertility in women unable to gestate due to an abnormal, damaged, or absent uterus. At present, the only other option for such women to achieve genetic motherhood is via surrogacy, which in Islam is widely regarded as haram or forbidden. This article examines the benefits of this technology so as to facilitate discourse between Islam and the West. It argues for Islamic scholars to consider these advances so as to ensure Muslims living as minorities in Western countries, such as the United Kingdom, are able to utilize such technology (if indeed regarded as permissible) should the government move to enact legislation to permit this procedure.
bioethics • Islam • reproduction
Amel Alghrani is a lecturer in Family and Medical Law, University of Manchester School of Law, Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9PL, United Kingdom; e-mail: Amel.Alghrani @ manchester.ac.uk.
The Interplay between Religious Leaders and Organ Donation among Muslims by Shoaib A. Rasheed and Aasim I. Padela
Bioethics and health researchers often turn to Islamic jurisconsults (fuqah ā ) and their verdicts (fat āw ā) to understand how Islam and health intersect. Yet when using fatw ā to promote health behavior change, researchers have often found less than ideal results. In this article we examine several health behavior change interventions that partnered with Muslim religious leaders aiming at promoting organ donation. As these efforts have generally met with limited success, we reanalyze these efforts through the lens of the theory of planned behavior, and in light of two distinct scholarly imperatives of Muslim religious leaders, the ilm ī and the isl āh ī.We argue for a new approach to health behavior change interventions within the Muslim community that are grounded in theoretical frameworks from the science of behavior change, as well the religious leadership paradigms innate to the Islamic tradition. We conclude by exploring the implications of our proposed model for applied Islamic bioethics and health research.
bioethics • fatwa • health care • Islam • medical ethics • Muslims • organ donation • theory of planned behavior • Ulama
Shoaib Rasheed is a medical student at the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine and a trainee with the Initiative on Islam and Medicine, part of the Program on Medicine and Religion at the University of Chicago. He may be contacted at 3629 Euclid Drive, Troy, MI 48083, USA; e-mail: srasheed @ osteo.wvsom.edu. Aasim I. Padela holds three positions at the University of Chicago: Director, Initiative on Islam and Medicine, Program on Medicine and Religion; Assistant Professor of Medicine, Section of Emergency Medicine, Department of Medicine; and Faculty, Maclean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics. He may be contacted at 5841 S. Maryland Avenue, MC 5068, The University of Chicago, Chicago, IL 60637, USA; e-mail: apadela @ uchicago.edu.
Islamic Verdicts in Health Policy Discourse: Porcine-Based Vaccines as a Case Study by Aasim I. Padela
In this article, I apply a policy-oriented applied Islamic bioethics lens to two verdicts on the permissibility of using vaccines with porcine components. I begin by reviewing the decrees and then proceed to describe how they were used by health policy stakeholders. Subsequently, my analysis will highlight aspects of the verdicts ethico-legal arguments in order to illustrate salient legal concepts that must be accounted for when using Islamic verdicts as the basis for health policy. I will conclude with several suggestions for facilitating a more judicious use of verdicts in policy-relevant discourse. My analysis is meant to contribute to the dialogue between science and religion, and aims to further efforts at developing health policies that value health while accommodating religious values. In the encounter between the Islamic tradition and global public health, a multidisciplinary dialogue, where Islamic legists become aware of the health policy implications of their ethico-legal pronouncements, and where health policy actors gain a literate understanding of Islamic ethico-legal theory, will lead to verdicts that better meet the needs of patients, health workers, and religious leaders.
ethics • health policy • Islam
Aasim I. Padela holds three positions at the University of Chicago: Director, Initiative on Islam and Medicine, Program on Medicine and Religion; Assistant Professor of Medicine, Section of Emergency Medicine, Department of Medicine; and Faculty, Maclean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics. He may be contacted at 5841 S. Maryland Avenue, MC 5068, The University of Chicago, Chicago, IL 60637, USA; e-mail: apadela @ uchicago.edu.
Collective Religio-Scientific Discussions on Islam and HIV/AIDS: I. Biomedical Scientists by Mohammed Ghaly
During the 1990s, biomedical scientists and Muslim religious scholars collaborated to construe Islamic responses for the ethical questions raised by the AIDS pandemic. This is the first of a two-part study examining this collective legal reasoning (ijtihād jam āī). The main thesis is that the role of the biomedical scientists is not limited to presenting scientific information. They engaged in the human rights discourse pertinent to people living with HIV/AIDS, gave an account of the preventive strategy adopted by the World Health Organization, and offered an (Islamic) virtue-based preventive model. Finally, these scientists tried to draft a number of Islamic legal rulings (aḥkām), usually seen in Islamic jurisprudence as the exclusive business of Muslim religious scholars. This multilayered role played by the scientists reflects intriguing developments in the Islamic religio-ethical discourse in general and in the field of Islamic jurisprudence in particular.
bioethics • compassion • ethics • faith • HIV/AIDS • ijtihād (study of Islamic principles to derive legal opinions from the law) • interdisciplinarity • Islam • science
Mohammed Ghaly is assistant professor of Islamic Law and Ethics, Leiden Institute for Religious Studies, Faculty of Humanities, Leiden University, Matthias de Vrieshof 1, Postbox 9515, 2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands; e-mail: m.ghaly @ hum.leidenuniv.nl.
Law and Ethics in Islamic Bioethics: Nonmaleficence in Islamic Paternity Regulations by Ayman Shabana
In Islamic law paternity is treated as a consequence of a licit sexual relationship. Since DNA testing makes a clear distinction between legal and biological paternity possible, it challenges the continued correlation between paternity and marriage. This article explores the foundations of paternity regulations in the Islamic ethico-legal tradition, with a particular focus on what is termed here the licit sex principle, and investigates the extent to which a harm-based argument can be made either by appeal to or against Islamic paternity regulations. It argues that in Islamic bioethics the definition of harm and its boundaries is a function of both: (1) identification of legal and religious rights and the extent to which these rights are violated; and (2) balancing and reconciling perceived harm against both specific principles in relation to a given issue and also the overarching objectives of Islamic law. The article is divided into three main sections addressing the Islamic legal, ethical, and bioethical dimensions of paternity.
bioethical principles • DNA testing • Islam • Islamic bioethics • Islamic ethics • Islamic law • nonmaleficence • paternity
Ayman Shabana is visiting assistant professor at the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Qatar, Education City, P.O. Box 23689, Doha, Qatar; e-mail: as2432 @ georgetown.edu
Islam and Bioethics in the Context of Religion and Science by Willem B. Drees
This paper places Islam and bioethics within the framework of religion and science discourse. It thus may be seen as a complement to the paper by Henk ten Have (2013) with which this thematic section in Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science opens, which places Islam and bioethics in the context of contemporary bioethics. It turns out that in Zygon there have been more submitted articles on Islam and bioethics than on any other Islam-related topic. This may be a consequence of the global nature of the bioethical issues, driven by advancement in science and technology, which allows for conversation across cultural and religious boundaries even when the normative references and argumentative methods are tradition-specific.
bioethics • ecology • Islam • medicine • playing God • Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science
Willem B. Drees is professor of philosophy of religion and ethics at the Leiden University Institute for Religious Studies, Leiden University, The Netherlands, and the editor of Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science. He can be reached at PO Box 9515, 2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands; e-mail: w.b.drees @ hum.leidenuniv.nl.
It is argued that there are good scientific grounds for accepting that cognition functions in a way that reflects embodiment. This represents a more holistic, systemic way of thinking about human beings, and contributes to the coordination of scientific assumptions about mind and body with those of the faith traditions, moving us beyond sterile debates about reductionism. It has been claimed by Francisco Varela and others that there is an affinity between Buddhism and embodied cognition, though it is argued here that they are less closely aligned than is sometimes assumed. Embodied cognition also accords well with the holistic strand of thinking about human nature in Judeo-Christian thinking. While accepting the persuasiveness of the general case for cognition being embodied it is suggested here that some forms of cognition are more embodied than others, and that it may be one of the distinctive features of humans that they have developed a capacity for relatively nonembodied forms of cognition.
brain • cognition • embodiment • mind
Fraser Watts is a Fellow of Queens College Cambridge, and directs the Psychology and Religion Research Group in the University of Cambridge. He may be contacted at Faculty of Divinity, West Road, Cambridge, CB3 9BS, United Kingdom; e-mail: fnw1001 @ cam.ac.uk.
From Embodied to Extended Cognition by John A. Teske
Embodied cognitive science holds that cognitive processes are deeply and inescapably rooted in our bodily interactions with the world. Our finite, contingent, and mortal embodiment may be not only supportive, but in some cases even constitutive of emotions, thoughts, and experiences. My discussion here will work outward from the neuroanatomy and neurophysiology of the brain to a nervous system which extends to the boundaries of the body. It will extend to nonneural aspects of embodiment and even beyond the boundaries of the body to prosthetics of various kinds, including symbioses with a broad array of cultural artifacts, our symbolic niche, and our relationships with other embodied human beings. While cognition may not always be situated, its origins are embedded in temporally and spatially limited activities. Cognitive work also can be off-loaded to the body and to the environment in service of action, tool use, group cognition, and social coordination. This can blur the boundaries between brain areas, brain and body, and body and environment, transforming our understanding of mind and personhood to provide a different grounding for faith traditions in general, and of the historically dualist Christian tradition in particular.
cognition • embodiment • emotion • externality • mental representation • neurophysiology • self-boundaries • simulation • social interaction • symbolic
John A. Teske is a professor of psychology at Elizabethtown College, Elizabethtown, PA 17022, USA; e-mail: teskja @ etown.edu.
Embodied Cognition in Classical Rabbinic Literature by Daniel H. Weiss
Challenging earlier cognitivist approaches, recent theories of embodied cognition argue that the human mind and its functions are best understood as intimately bound up with the human body and its physiological dimensions. Some scholars have suggested that such theories, in departing from some core assumptions of the Western philosophical tradition, display significant similarities to certain non-Western traditions of thought, such as Buddhism. This essay extends such parallels to the Jewish tradition and argues that, in particular, classical rabbinic thought presents a profoundly nondualistic account of the body-soul relation in its connection to cognition, action, and embodiment. Classical rabbinic texts therefore model the possibility of engaging with Western conceptions such as God and the soul, while doing so in a manner that resonates strongly with many aspects of contemporary scientific theories. Thus, beyond their value as historical documents, insight into the texts and concepts of classical rabbinic Judaism can contribute to the further development of new theories of intellect and cognition.
Bible • body • cognition • dualism • embodied • Judaism • rabbinic • self • soul • Talmud
Daniel H. Weiss is Polonsky-Coexist Lecturer in Jewish Studies, Faculty of Divinity, University of Cambridge, West Road, Cambridge, CB3 9BS, UK; email: dhw27 @ cam.ac.uk.
Individuality in Theological Anthropology and Theories of Embodied Cognition by Léon Turner
Contemporary theological anthropology is now almost united in its opposition toward concepts of the abstract individual. Instead there is a strong preference for concrete concepts, which locate individual human being in historically and socioculturally contingent contexts. In this paper I identify, and discuss in detail, three key themes that structure recent theological opposition to abstract concepts of the individual: (1) the idea that individual human beings are constituted in part by their relations with their environments, with other human beings, and with God; (2) the idea that individual human beings are unique entities; (3) the idea that individual human beings cannot be conceptualized in atemporal terms. Subsequently, I seek to demonstrate that theories of embodied cognition offer broad, if not unconditional, support for the concept of the concrete individual. As such, I suggest, theories of embodied cognition provide a valuable resource for dialogue between contemporary science and theological anthropology.
culture • embodied cognition • identity • individual • narrative • person • relationality • uniqueness
Léon Turner is a Senior Research Associate at the Faculty of Divinity of the University of Cambridge, West Road, Cambridge, CB3 9BS, United Kingdom; e-mail: lpt21 @ cam.ac.uk.
Embodied Cognition, Character Formation, and Virtue by Warren S. Brown and Kevin S. Reimer
The theory of embodied cognition makes the claim that our cognitive processes are, at their core, sensorimotor, situated, and action-relevant. Our mental system is built primarily to control action, and so mind is formed by the nature of the body and its interactions with the world. In this paper we will explore the nature of virtue and its formation from the perspective of embodied cognition. We specifically describe exemplars of the virtue of compassion (caregivers of individuals with developmental disabilities in LArche communities), speculating as to what might have been the formative influences in their character development. Embodied formation is understood in the context of the openness of human cortical systems to formation by social interactions, and in terms of the openness to reorganization and change of complex dynamical systems. Specific formative influences explored include interpersonal imitation, social attachment, language, and story.
character formation • complex systems • embodied cognition • virtue
Warren S. Brown is Director of the Lee Edward Travis Research Institute and Professor of Psychology, Graduate School of Psychology, Fuller Theological Seminary, 180 N. Oakland Ave., Pasadena, CA 91101, USA; e-mail: wsbrown @ fuller.edu. Kevin S. Reimer is Executive Director for the Office of Research and Grants, Azusa Pacific University, P. O. Box 7000, Azusa, CA 91702, USA; e-mail: kreimer @ apu.edu.
Time in Eternity: Pannenberg, Physics, and Eschatology in Creative Mutual Interaction by Robert John Russell, reviewed by James F. Moore