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July 2011

Contents

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| editorial |
Ron Miller (1938-2011)
Jim Kenney and Alan Race

| creative encounters |
The Spirit of the Commons
Jim Kenney

The Legacy of Heart Mountain
Sodo Mori
Translated by Rosan Yoshida Edited by Erin Davis

Untold Stories Holocaust Memorial Day 2011
Julian Harrison

The Universality of Imam Husain’s Message A north Indian experience
Fatima Imam

Creating Integral Prayers and Meditations
Charles Burack

Religious Diversity and Evangelical Thought Pre-1980s Robert Boyd

| reflections |
Plural Voices
Alan Race and Michael Hilton

| practically speaking |
Religious Upbringing and Contemporary Challenges
in a Globalized Era
Donald Reeves

| focus on the interreligious movement |
Fellowship of Faiths: A Communion of Spirit
Alister Hardy Society and World Congress of Faith
Marcus Braybrooke

| in review |
Review Article: Identity – Thick and Thin
Ron Miller

Review Article: An Integral Approach to Religion and the Divine
K.L. Seshagiri Rao

| poetry |
Inside my Heart
Imran Mogra

I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud
William Wordsworth

| prayers and meditation |
From the East A Traditional Theravada
Buddhist blessing and
A traditional Hindu saying

The Fruitful Tree Jeremiah 17:7-8

The Striding Lions of Babylon

The magnificent roaring beast on the cover of this issue is one of the famous “Striding Lions” of Babylon. During the reign of the great nebuchadnezzar II (604-562 BCE), some 120 such roaring lions lined the “Processional Way” – the most important street in ancient Babylon. The roadway led from the inner city through the Ishtar Gate to a special festival house north of the city.

In Babylonian culture, the lion was sacred to Ishtar, the goddess of love and war who was believed to be the source of the glory of the empire. Because of the rarity of stone in southern Mesopotamia, molded glazed bricks were used in building. Black, white, blue, red, green, and yellow reliefs of bulls and dragons, as well as the extraordinary parade of lions, decorated the byways of the city.

The Assyrian empire fell before the combined onslaughts of Babylonians and Medes in 614 and 612 BCE. In the empire’s final days, nabopolassar (r. 625—605 BCE), who had been in Assyrian service, established a new dynasty with its capital in Babylon. During the reign of his son, nebuchadnezzar II (r. 604—562 BCE), the neo-Babylonian empire reached its peak. This was largely attributable to nebuchadnezzar’s ability as a statesman and general. He maintained friendly relations with the Medes in the east while vying successfully with Egypt for control of trade on the eastern Mediterranean coast. He is perhaps best known in the West as the biblical conqueror who captured Jerusalem and ordered the “Babylonian Captivity” of the Jews. When the neo-Babylonian empire fell to the Persians in 539 BCE, Cyrus the Great decreed that captive peoples (including the Jews) be allowed to return to their homelands. Cyrus also permitted the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem.

Photo by Cetta Kenney


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