EISSN : 20771444
Current Publisher: MDPI (10.3390)
Total articles ≅ 1,827
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Latest articles in this journal
Religions, Volume 10; doi:10.3390/rel10120665
Abstract:This article analyses museum responses to the contemporary tensions and violence in response to images of Muhammad, from The Satanic Verses to Charlie Hebdo. How does this socio-political frame effect the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NY, the V&A and British Museum in London, and the Louvre in Paris? Different genres of museums and histories of collections in part explain differences in approaches to representations of Muhammad. The theological groundings for a possible ban on prophetic depictions is charted, as well as the widespread Islamic practices of making visual representations of the Prophet. It is argued that museological framings of the religiosity of Muslims become skewed when the veneration of the Prophet is not represented.
Religions, Volume 10; doi:10.3390/rel10120663
Abstract:In this response essay, I consider Jon Keune’s proposal to prioritize the act of comparison over definitional agreement when beginning an exercise in comparative hagiology. Reflecting on my own experience as the respondent for a panel at the 2018 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Religion (AAR), which saw me comparing two very different “hagiographical texts,” I argue in support of Keune’s approach by stressing its advantage in pushing conceptual creativity and collaborative inclusivity. In the process, I accept Massimo Rondolino’s invitation to consider his working re-definition of “hagiography”, which I take as a starting point for thinking through some of the questions my panel’s unconventional primary texts raise and how they might recommend revisiting our categories. In the end, I advocate for a capacious view of potential comparanda as one of the best ways to foster a process of continuous self-reflection and scholarly development.
Religions, Volume 10; doi:10.3390/rel10120664
Abstract:I argue that by participating in religious cultural phenomena, the protagonists of Xu Dishan’s and Su Xuelin’s fiction cultivate values that allow them to overcome their sense of social alienation by making them feel more confident about their ability to strengthen their relationships with others. These values include selflessness in the literature of both authors, as well as compassion in Su Xuelin’s literature. I further argue that these two authors’ literary narratives use the category of religion to label these values as existing outside of the space of human social interactions. This then allows protagonists to view the cultivation of these values as an ostensibly perfected resolution to their feeling of social alienation, which in the first place is caused by the imperfect sphere of human social interactions. The two case studies upon which this study draws to exemplify the argument include Yuguan from Xu Dishan’s Yuguan and Xingqiu from Su Xuelin’s Thorny Heart.
Religions, Volume 10; doi:10.3390/rel10120662
Abstract:The Universities and Muslim Seminaries Project (UMSEP) addresses three key issues in the narrative of Muslim communal identity and religious leadership in Britain today: firstly, the need for the accreditation of Darul Ulooms (Muslim seminaries) and external validation of their programmes; secondly, understanding the career trajectories of Darul Uloom graduates, and exploring good practice; thirdly, understanding emerging leadership models in the British Muslim community. This project is a community-led, positive response to a large Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)-funded research project (Re/presenting Islam on campus) conducted between 2015–2018, which identified discrimination against Muslim staff and students and the politicization of their identity due to counter terror securitisation measures. The community project summarized here in interim form proposes powerful and informed antidotes to discrimination: pathways to mutual recognition in higher education. We used interviews, workshops, and surveys and triangulated our findings to draw our draft conclusions. Firstly, we found enough interest in universities and Darul Ulooms to proceed with accreditation for an Islamic course with the same standing as a degree. Secondly, we identified barriers to career pathways for Muslims. Thirdly, we developed new models of Muslim community leadership, most notably Muslim chaplaincy with spiritual components: a career path with specific significance for Muslim women.
Religions, Volume 10; doi:10.3390/rel10120657
Abstract:Grappling with the marginalization of the marginal in Western thinking, this paper sets up a dialogue between Emmanuel Levinas’s philosophy and Johann Baptist Metz’s political theology in order to learn from their thoughts on the suffering of victims. For both Levinas and Metz, the idea of theodicy as an explanation of suffering is linked to the ontological conception of time and history, and therefore useless and unjustifiable by nature. The essential question of this research is how to give meaning to the concrete suffering of humanity in order to redeem history from the concept of an evolutionary progress which limits the possibility of hearing the cries of the victims of history. This article will show how Levinas’s and Metz´s rejection of traditional theodicy is closely related to the concepts of memory and history and, therefore, the paper will demonstrate how traditional theodicy becomes for both thinkers an ethical theodicy. Consequently, the ethical account of theodicy replaces the attempt to negotiate the goodness and power of God with the pain of human beings. From this perspective, ethics is shaped by a response to the cry of victims which summons the subject to understand freedom as limited and subordinated to ethical responsibility. In responding to suffering, philosophy and theology can meet beyond idealism and dogmatism.
Religions, Volume 10; doi:10.3390/rel10120658
Abstract:Chinese translations of Buddhist sūtras and Chinese Buddhist literature demonstrate how stūpas became acknowledged in medieval China and how clerics and laypeople perceived and worshiped them. Early Buddhist sūtras mentioned stūpas, which symbolize the presence of the Buddha and the truth of the dharma. Buddhist canonical texts attach great significance to the stūpa cult, providing instructions regarding who was entitled to have them, what they should look like in connection with the occupants’ Buddhist identities, and how people should worship them. However, the canonical limitations on stūpa burial for ordinary monks and prohibitions of non-Buddhist stūpas changed progressively in medieval China. Stūpas appeared to be erected for ordinary monks and the laity in the Tang dynasty. This paper aims to outline the Buddhist scriptural tradition of the stūpa cult and its changes in the Chinese Buddhist Canon, which serves as the doctrinal basis for understanding the significance of funerary stūpas and the primordial archetype for the formation of a widely accepted Buddhist funeral ritual in Tang China.
Religions, Volume 10; doi:10.3390/rel10120660
Abstract:This paper argues that a virtue-informed methodology is foundational to best practice in scholarly, collaborative, and comparative hagiological work. Following a discussion of how this resonates with Todd French’s work in this volume, I then draw from my experience as an educator to outline how a virtue-based approach might play out in pedagogy. Finally, I offer two metaphors for an “other-person centered” collaborative–comparativist mindset. Both of these are taken from my lived, and conversational “apprenticeship” in comparative hagiology on the Argentine–Brazilian border. Reflection on these metaphors, as well as their generative experiences, demonstrates the need for holistic self-reflection in the comparative study of religions, and of “hagiography” in particular.
Religions, Volume 10; doi:10.3390/rel10120659
Abstract:The anthropology of Christianity has emerged as an exciting field in the last decade or so. Themes of interest for us in India and South Asia in general include issues of caste, conversion and belief, the ideas of sin and morality, individualism, and the like. As part of this growing field, the issue of belief in particular has gained considerable importance. It has been argued that the strict reliance on belief is obstructive and counterproductive for the understanding of non-Western Christianity, particularly where religious affiliations may be shifting rather than stable. Moreover, it has been suggested that belief could be laid aside in favor of the notion of commitment, wherein the latter term encompasses presence, embodiment, shared social location, and the like. This paper argues that while the discourse oscillates between belief on the one hand and commitment on the other, the intermediating term between these might be community. There are social and spiritual divisions, which the available discourse does not immediately allow us to contend with. In the words of one Dalit Catholic, the church must be with its people, the Bishop-Shepherd must ‘smell’ his sheep. This paper will explore how it is precisely the absence of community that Dalit Catholics experience when they find that Christian equality becomes physical separation and Christian fraternity remains outside the social domain and will suggest the implications this has for the anthropology of Christianity.
Religions, Volume 10; doi:10.3390/rel10120661
Abstract:The article describes the different models for understanding the origin of the Samaritans: the Samaritans’ own view; Flavius Josephus’ two stories; a model based upon the results of the excavations of the cities of Samaria and Shechem, plus information from ancient authors; new insights from the Dead Sea Scrolls; and models based on the results of the Mount Gerizim excavations; and the Delos inscriptions. Each of these models has its modern followers in scholarship, and their various adherents are named. A last part of the article is devoted to the state of the question of the origin of the Samaritans. The presentation is organized according to the sources because the material at hand has produced different solutions to the pertinent questions. Through quoting the texts and presenting the results of the excavations, the author gives the reader an opportunity to form her or his own opinions, both on the different theories and on the origin of the Samaritans.
Religions, Volume 10; doi:10.3390/rel10120656
Abstract:Many museums are now taking religion much more seriously, and there is a lot of academic interest in the subject. But many of the changes are very slow, and many museums are still ignoring religion.