ResearchLinks – 10.05.12
Religion & Liberty Online

ResearchLinks – 10.05.12

Call for Papers: “Economics, Christianity & The Crisis: Towards a New Architectonic Critique”

The 2008 credit crisis is not only a crisis in economics, but also a crisis in the basic concepts and assumptions that underlie our thinking about economics, economics as a science. Critical analyses are called for of both economic practices and economic theory. New concepts and paradigms are needed. The first Kuyper Seminar Amsterdam aims at exploring what resources the Christian tradition has to offer for developing a sustainable and just economy of the future.

Book Note: “Reason, Religion, and Natural Law”
Jonathan A. Jacobs, ed. Reason, Religion, and Natural Law: From Plato to Spinoza. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012.

This edited volume examines the realizations between theological considerations and natural law theorizing, from Plato to Spinoza. Theological considerations have long had a pronounced role in Catholic natural law theories, but have not been as thoroughly examined from a wider perspective. The contributors to this volume take a more inclusive view of the relation between conceptions of natural law and theistic claims and principles. They do not jointly defend one particular thematic claim, but articulate diverse ways in which natural law has both been understood and related to theistic claims.

Book Note: “Ordered Liberty”
James E. Fleming and Linda C. McClain. Ordered Liberty: Rights, Responsibilities, and Virtues. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2012.

Many have argued in recent years that the U.S. constitutional system exalts individual rights over responsibilities, virtues, and the common good. Answering the charges against liberal theories of rights, James Fleming and Linda McClain develop and defend a civic liberalism that takes responsibilities and virtues—as well as rights—seriously. They provide an account of ordered liberty that protects basic liberties stringently, but not absolutely, and permits government to encourage responsibility and inculcate civic virtues without sacrificing personal autonomy to collective determination.

Book Review: “Sacred Consumption in a Secular Market”
Hillary Warren. There’s Never Been a Show Like Veggie Tales: Sacred Messages in a Secular Market. New York: AltaMira Press, 2005. Reviewed by Charles Brown (Albright College).

Furthermore, more evangelical companies have been purchased by non-Christian corporations with general market distribution networks that have been convinced of the profitability of Christian products. Warrren points out that as Veggie Tales grew in popularity the company felt pressure to meet the demands of the marketplace. Eventually, the company began licensing Veggie Tales merchandise, like T-shirts, toys, and Bible covers. Attempting such diversification created strain on the company; by September 2003 the company filed for bankruptcy in order to facilitate the sale of the company to a non-Christian entity, Classic Media LLC, and to continue with product releases. As Warren notes, “major conglomerates didn’t suddenly ‘get religion’; what they got was a need for diversification so that if hip-hop sales fall, gospel might remain stable” (p. 105). This, in turn, has the ability to shape the message because mainstream companies are more likely to promote products with a broader nonsectarian appeal. In short, “the economics of merchandising and media shape children’s video–even children’s video produced for religious or evangelical ends” (p. 104).

Call for Papers: “Anthropological Reformations – Anthropology in the Era of Reformation”

Call for Papers, Third RefoRC Conference, 2013 Berlin. The topic for plenary papers of the Third RefoRC Conference will be “Anthropological Reformations – Anthropology in the Era of Reformation”. Our aim is to engage in an interdisciplinary discussion about the establishment and debates on anthropological concepts and their changes in the age of the Reformation. Plenary speakers include Klaus Bergdolt (Cologne), Jutta Eming (Berlin), Wolfgang Fuhrmann (Vienna), Ronnie Po-chia Hsia (Penn State), Andrew James Johnston (Berlin), Risto Saarinen (Helsinki), Notger Slenczka (Berlin), Johan Verberckmoes (Louvain), Anna Vind (Copenhagen) and Elke Anna Werner (Berlin).

Jordan J. Ballor

Jordan J. Ballor (Dr. theol., University of Zurich; Ph.D., Calvin Theological Seminary) is director of research at the Center for Religion, Culture & Democracy, an initiative of the First Liberty Institute. He has previously held research positions at the Acton Institute and Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, and has authored multiple books, including a forthcoming introduction to the public theology of Abraham Kuyper. Working with Lexham Press, he served as a general editor for the 12 volume Abraham Kuyper Collected Works in Public Theology series, and his research can be found in publications including Journal of Markets & Morality, Journal of Religion, Scottish Journal of Theology, Reformation & Renaissance Review, Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Faith & Economics, and Calvin Theological Journal. He is also associate director of the Junius Institute for Digital Reformation Research at Calvin Theological Seminary and the Henry Institute for the Study of Christianity & Politics at Calvin University.