Vol. 3, No. 2
Winter 2021

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The New Testament in Jewish-Christian Dialogues

Zev Garber

Vol. 3, No. 2

Winter 2021

Pages: 201-212

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$2.99

DOI: 10.33929/sherm.2021.vol3.no2.01

The Christian biblical canon consists of the Old Testament (referenced as the Hebrew Bible by Jews), New Testament, and Apocrypha for some denominations (e.g., the Roman Catholic Church). The name “New Testament” is associated with, but misapplied with the Berit Ḥadasha/“New Covenant” which the Lord was to make with the Houses of Israel and Judah, not with Nations (Jer 31:30). A more accurate association/understanding is “new covenant in my (Jesus) blood” (Luke 22:20; 1 Cor 11:25); “new covenant not of the letter but of the Spirit” (2 Cor 3:6); “the veil remains when the old covenant (Torah) is read” (2 Cor 3:14); and so on. The New Testament embraces 27 separate books of different size, composition, and focus. They include the Four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John), the Acts of the Apostles, 13 Epistles by Paul, the Epistle to the Hebrews, Epistles by Peter, James, John, and Jude, and John’s Revelation (the Apocalypse). This article discusses the teachings and person of Jesus, as well as events in first-century Christianity (primarily spelled out in the Gospels and Pauline literature), evaluated from the perspective of Jewish-Christian polemics, apologetics, and respectful co-existential dialogue.

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The Spiritual Brain: Intimations or Hallucinations of God?

Evan Fales

Vol. 3, No. 2

Winter 2021

Pages: 214-236

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2.99

DOI: 10.33929/sherm.2021.vol3.no2.02

Do mystical experiences make it rational to believe in God? A fair number of theistic philosophers have thought so, and, for the mystic who is ignorant of current scientific findings, perhaps that conclusion is correct. But the ignorant are not best qualified to judge: let us see how science might inform judgment. Here I will focus most particularly on the neurological basis of mystical experiences (MEs). It might initially seem that the evidence for such a basis is theologically benign—neutral on the question whether MEs may reasonably be considered veridical perceptions of the divine. I shall argue that this is a mistake.

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A Survey of Covid-19 Deaths Among American Clergy

J.M. Dixon

Vol. 3, No. 2

Winter 2021

Pages: 238-251

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Free

DOI: 10.33929/sherm.2021.vol3.no2.03

This research aims to discover the number of clergy deaths in the United States that resulted from complications associated with coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19). The FaithX Project, in association with researchers from the Global Center for Religious Research (GCRR), conducted a survey of sixteen major Christian denominations in the United States. The methodology for this study was to contact leaders in these denominations (via email and phone) who oversaw specific church judicatories. The research took place from January to June of 2021. There was an average response rate of 23.12% across the sixteen Christian denominations contacted. 169 judicatories responded to the survey and a total of 118 clergy deaths were reported, with the Catholic Church recording the most: 43 deaths. The average overall death rate for these denominations was 0.23%, with the highest rate being the Catholic Church at 0.73%. Utilizing this information, it can be estimated that somewhere between 1,008 and 1,099 total clergy in the United States died from Covid-19.

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Supernatural Resurrection and its Incompatibility with the Standard Model of Particle Physics

Robert Greg Cavin; Carlos A. Colombetti

Vol. 3, No. 2

Winter 2021

Pages: 253-277

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3.99

DOI: 10.33929/sherm.2021.vol3.no2.04

In response to Stephen Davis’s criticism of our previous essay, we revisit and defend our arguments that the Resurrection hypothesis is logically incompatible with the Standard Model of particle physics—and thus is maximally implausible—and that it cannot explain the sensory experiences of the Risen Jesus attributed to various witnesses in the New Testament—and thus has low explanatory power. We also review Davis’s reply, noting that he evades our arguments, misstates their conclusions, and distracts the reader with irrelevancies regarding, e.g., what natural laws are, what a miracle is, and how “naturalism” and “supernaturalism” differ as worldviews. Contrary to what Davis claims (even in his abstract), we do not argue that “if the Standard Model of particle physics (SM) is true, then the resurrection of Jesus did not occur and physical things can only causally interact with other physical things.” Davis distorts our claims and criticizes straw men of his own creation.

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The Power and Control Dynamics of Growing Up in an Abrahamic Faith Environment

Gill Harvey

Vol. 3, No. 2

Winter 2021

Pages: 279-294

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4.99

DOI: 10.33929/sherm.2021.vol3.no2.05

Family and religion have been shown to be important to the majority of people in both the United Kingdom and the United States. Numerous research studies suggest that childhood relationships and environment are influential to mental health and well-being, with research on religious families significantly increasing in the last few decades. The purpose of this study is to explore counselors’ experiences of the influence of a fundamentalist religious upbringing on mental health and well-being in adulthood, across the Abrahamic traditions within the United Kingdom. The primary objectives are to psycho-educate professionals to recognize and understand the influence of a fundamentalist religious upbringing on mental health and well-being in adulthood, and to add to the sparse literature on this largely hidden topic. In-depth, qualitative, non-structured interviews were conducted with eight counselors (one withdrew at pre-analysis stage), who were collaborative co-researchers throughout the process. The focus of this article aligns with one of the interpretative readings of the interview transcripts undertaken by the researcher and co-researchers during the research process, namely appraising issues of power and control. The author outlines her insider researcher background, chosen methodology, co-researcher recruitment, and ethical considerations, before sharing the co-researchers’ stories around the power and control dynamics of a fundamentalist religious upbringing. The co-researchers’ adult religiosity is briefly outlined, before some brief reflections conclude the article.

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Antisemitism in the American Religious Landscape: The Present Twenty-First Century Moment

Steven Leonard Jacobs

Vol. 3, No. 2

Winter 2021

Pages: 296-323

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2.99

DOI: 10.33929/sherm.2021.vol3.no2.06

This contribution is an examination of so-called “religious antisemitism” vis-à-vis the various Christian religious communities and/or denominations at the present time, framed by the recognition that, over the last several years, an increase in antisemitism in the United States has been shown by figures compiled by both the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). It is further framed by examining the 2015 Pew Research Center Report “America’s Changing Religious Landscape,” and its 2016 “If the U.S. had 100 people: Charting America’s Religious Affiliations.”

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From Minority to Maturity: The Evolution of Later Lollardy

R. E. Stansfield-Cudworth

Vol. 3, No. 2

Winter 2021

Pages: 325-352

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1.99

DOI: 10.33929/sherm.2021.vol3.no2.07

Though English supporters of the Oxford theologian John Wycliffe (d.1384)—known as “Lollards”—had been drawn from academic and noble/gentry circles during the later-fourteenth and early-fifteenth centuries, persecution, equation of heresy with sedition, and the failure of Sir John Oldcastle’s Rebellion (1414) ensured overt abandonment of Lollard ideas. Consequently, post-1414 (“later”) Lollardy in England has been characterized as an amorphous, introverted network—appealing to those of lesser socio-economic status—being unworthy of description as a sect because of its deficiency of organization. However, the movement’s consistency and infrastructure are reappraised by considering its heterogeneity in terms of society (demography, literacy, and socio-economic status), interactions (modes of dissemination), and motivation, participation, and organization (appreciating the dynamics of religious movements). From a comparative perspective, Lollardy’s acephalous, reticulate infrastructure—similarly to that of Waldensianism and other movements—may have proved beneficial by facilitating adaptability during persecution thereby ensuring Lollardy’s survival until the Reformation.

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A Better Mousetrap: Rube Goldberg and Jewish American Assimilation

Steve Gimbel, Stephen Stern, and Olivia Handelman

Vol. 3, No. 2

Winter 2021

Pages: 354-365

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1.99

DOI: 10.33929/sherm.2021.vol3.no2.08

Rube Goldberg’s cartoons made him the first Jewish-American comedy star, but on the surface his works seem completely American and not at all Jewish. While the content of his most famous comic strip “The Inventions of Professor Lucifer Gorgonzola Butts” is reflective of the American ethos of innovation that was flourishing at the time, his religious roots are present in the form of the cartoons. There are strong structural similarities between these drawings and the European Jewish joke cycle concerning the wise men of Chelm that lampoon the byzantine Talmudic arguments of the rabbinate. In adopting this Jewish form of humor, but substituting the American civil religion of modernist innovative capitalism in the place of Talmudic interpretation as its focus, Goldberg’s humor signals the interest of Jewish Americans to be both Jewish and fully American.

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Dataset Analysis of English Texts Written on the Topic of Jesus’ Resurrection: A Statistical Critique of Minimal Facts Apologetics

Michael J. Alter and Darren M. Slade

Vol. 3, No. 2

Winter 2021

Pages: 367-392

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4.99

DOI: 10.33929/sherm.2021.vol3.no2.09

This article collects and examines data relating to the authors of English-language texts written and published during the past 500 years on the subject of Jesus’ resurrection and then compares this data to Gary R. Habermas’ 2005 and 2012 publication on the subject. To date, there has been no such inquiry. This present article identifies 735 texts spanning five centuries (from approximately 1500 to 2020). The data reveals 680 Pro-Resurrection books by 601 authors (204 by ministers, 146 by priests, 249 by people associated with seminaries, 70 by laypersons, and 22 by women). This article also reveals that a remarkably high proportion of the English-language books written about Jesus’ resurrection were by members of the clergy or people linked to seminaries, which means any so-called scholarly consensus on the subject of Jesus’ resurrection is wildly inflated due to a biased sample of authors who have a professional and personal interest in the subject matter. Pro-Resurrection authors outnumber Contra-Resurrection authors by a factor of about twelve-to-one. In contrast, the 55 Contra-Resurrection books, representing 7.48% of the total 735 books, were by 42 authors (28 having no relevant degrees at the time of publication). The 42 contra authors represent only 6.99% of all authors writing on the subject.

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Book Review: The Annotated Passover Haggadah Edited by Zev Garber and Kenneth Hanson

Mehak Burza

Vol. 3, No. 2

Winter 2021

Pages: 394-401

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Free

DOI: 10.33929/sherm.2021.vol3.no2.10

The Annotated Passover Haggadah, coedited by Professors Zev Garber and Kenneth Hanson, is a meticulous collaboration that incorporates a set of essays by various authors. The book offers unique reflections from myriad vantage points to the well known and often repeated story of the Jewish ritual. The essence of The Annotated Passover Hagaddah lies not only in the central theme of celebration of the Haggadah but also in the numerous ways in which it can be celebrated in other traditions, as well as how it has evolved through times. It is this renewed prospect that imparts multiple connotations to the Jewish Passover ritual. The book has an eclectic prominence that manifests through a careful hermeneutical exploration of the Passover Haggadah from the Judeo-Christian prism. With significant overlaps between the Christian and Jewish liturgy, this culturally rich interfaith volume transcends the scope of the Jewish ritual of Passover and Haggadah.