Representation of Mary receiving the Holy Spirit, in the presence of the angel Gabriel.
Comparative theology is just what it sounds like: a dialectic between two or more religions based on their doctrinal solutions to the great problems of human existence rather than on their external forms of organisation and worship etc. The easiest way to do some comparative theology is two find two religious texts that are writing about the same thing and assess the similarities and differences.
We did something very similar near the start of these sessions when we contrasted a Babylonian creation myth with the Old Testament ones. Here, near the end of these sessions, we are going to look at the Annunciation, the announcement to Mary the mother of Jesus that she is to have an important son. We are going to read a couple of pieces from the Muslim scripture (the Qur’an) alongside an account from the New Testament.
In this session we look at the fourth Gospel (sometimes called the ‘Spiritual Gospel’) through the most famous part, the prologue. (more…)
The Risen Christ
We began the previous discussion on Jesus’ biography by listing various titles that he had. Two of these are especially famous- 1) the Christ, i.e. the Messiah, the ‘Lamb of God’ and Saviour of the World, and 2) the Son of God; God the Son. We will look at the first of these -what God does in Jesus- in future discussions on salvation. In this session we will continue looking at who Christians believe in, concentrating on the image of the Son of God. (more…)
From Peter Hardy, Chaplaincy Assistant:
I have had the privilege of being able to attend several talks recently. No longer a student, I find myself gaining a new appreciation for that blandest certainty of student life: the lecture. I know all too well how difficult it is to attend lectures fully awake [and indeed fully sober] so I shall not exhort students to do so, but I will make the more realistic suggestion that we at least find some ways to show respect to those who endow us with the gift of knowledge. With tuition fees being dramatically raised from next year, there is the very real danger of teachers -and indeed education itself- being taken for granted as something that is bought rather than experienced through personal interaction.
The talk I enjoyed the most was given by the University’s Sikh Society. In what I read about Sikhism briefly beforehand it said it was a notably accommodating culture- and this was certainly true of this event. Although I was an outsider I felt just as much part of the community as one is made to feel at the Chaplaincy [yes, a shameless plug]. Other things that particularly strike me about this culture is that disagreement is welcomed as leading to fruitful discussion rather than avoided as something that leads to confrontation, and that out of respect for the virtue of humility the speaker did not want us to clap after the talk had finished.
Perhaps these give us some ideas of how to we could be more respectful of the educational environment. If we are humble by not putting ourselves above others then everyone can feel welcome and an attitude of discussion rather than confrontation can flourish to the benefit of all. In doing so we can respect not only the gift of knowledge but the more precious gift of interpersonal communication, the value of which is expressed in a concept common in both eastern and western religion: the One Eternal Word through which all the world’s creativity and wisdom is spoken.