Religiosity is one aspect without which Ethiopian society cannot be fully understood. Unfortunately, however, the nexus between religion, politics and development is one of the underexplored, if totally neglected, areas. This book, therefore, aims to map out the terrain of the discourse in religion-social change nexus in Ethiopian using the notion of covenant as an interpretive tool. This project sets out by discussing Ethiopian political theology and its role in triggering and/or hindering social change in the past. After thoroughly analyzing and carefully evaluating religious, political and cultural nature of the Ethiopian society, this book finds out that the covenant-thinking, for both historical and cultural reasons, is of basic importance to Ethiopian identity and way of life. Based on this finding, the book postulates an argument that covenant-thinking, for historical and cultural reasons, is one of the most suitable conceptual devices that can help to marshal a healthy social, political and economic change in Ethiopia. However, in order to overcome historical and conceptual pitfalls associated to covenant-thinking in Ethiopia in the past, this book sets out to reinterpret and redirect the notion of covenant in such a way that it can contribute to a healthy social change. As a way of doing this, the books makes critical comparisons between Ethiopian covenant thinking and two other traditions where covenant thinking vis-a-vis sociopolitical reality is prominent: Jewish tradition and Dutch Reformational philosophy. The comparison is done with an intention, on the one hand, to examine the relevance of covenant-thinking in (post)modern plural societies, and on the other, to make sure if, albeit these traditions have their own inadequacies, these traditions can offer conceptual tools to overcome weaknesses in the Ethiopian covenant thinking.
"Nature and the city have most often functioned as opposites within Western culture, a dichotomy that has been reinforced (and sometimes challenged) by religious images. Bohannon argues here that cities and natural environments, however, are both connected and continually affected by one another. He shows how such connections become overt during natural disasters, which disrupt the narratives people use to make sense of the world, including especially religious narratives, and make them more visible. This book offers both a theoretical exploration of the intersection of the city, nature, and religion, as well as a sociological analysis of the 1997 flood in Grand Forks, ND, USA. This case study shows how religious factors have influenced how the relationship between nature and the city is perceived, and in particular have helped to justify the urban control of nature. The narratives found in Grand Forks also reveal a broader understanding of the nature of Western cities, highlighting the potent and ethically-rich intersections between religion, cities and nature. "
This book presents an interdisciplinary study of the role of spirituality and religious ritual in the emergence of complex societies. Involving an eminent group of natural scientists, archaeologists, anthropologists, philosophers, and theologians, this volume examines Catalhoyuk as a case study. A nine-thousand-year old town in central Turkey, Catalhoyuk was first excavated in the 1960s and has since become integral to understanding the symbolic and ritual worlds of the early farmers and village-dwellers in the Middle East. It is thus an ideal location for exploring theories about the role of religion in early settled life. This book provides a unique overview of current debates concerning religion and its historical variations. Through exploration of themes including the integration of the spiritual and the material, the role of belief in religion, the cognitive bases for religion, and religion's social roles, this book situates the results from Catalhoyuk within a broader understanding of the Neolithic in the Middle East.
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