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The present volume sets Swahili religious tracts available in Kenya and Tanzania in their context. The book starts with an overview of tracts in Swahili from the 19th century to the present day, an examination of Swahili as a religious language, and an introduction to Swahili versions of the Bible and Qurʾān. Chesworth then introduces the range of tracts currently available, examining eight in detail. In particular he considers how they present scripture in order to promote their own faith, Islam or Christianity, whilst denigrating the ‘other’. Finally, the volume discusses the impact from modern media on these tracts.
Approches nouvelles de la violence et de la démocratie
L’islam Ouest-africain compte plusieurs confréries soufies notamment au Nord-Nigeria, au Niger et au Sénégal, des pays où la Tijāniyya occupe une place importante dans la sphère publique. Dans la première partie de ce livre, par une perspective comparatiste utilisant les concepts de démocratie, de laïcité, de domination et de violence, l’auteur montre comment ceux-ci sont déployés au niveau local surtout dans le champ politique sénégalais. Dans une deuxième, il s’engage dans un décryptage des relations complexes entre religion et politique dans le Sénégal des deux régimes d’alternance, utilisant alors une approche bourdieusienne de la domination. Bien des marabouts interviennent pour arrêter les projets de personnalisation du pouvoir central. Leur intervention politique sous forme d’appel à la non-violence parvient à stabiliser le Sénégal.

West African Islam has several Sufi orders, particularly in Northern Nigeria, Niger and Senegal, countries where the Tijāniyya occupies an important place in the public sphere. In the first part of this book, through a comparative perspective therefore using the concepts of democracy, secularism, domination and violence, the author depicts how these categories are exercised at the local level, especially in the political field. In the second part, he engages in deciphering the complex relations between religion and politics in the so-called alternance regimes between 2000 and 2020, using a Bourdieusian approach to domination. Many marabouts intervene to stop the projects of personalization of the central power. The author concludes that there is a new form of community democracy that Sufi guides use to politically stabilize Senegal.
The Fatimid Egyptian Convert Who Shaped Christian Views of Islam
Author: David Bertaina
Būluṣ ibn Rajāʾ (ca. 955–ca. 1020) was a celebrated writer of Coptic Christianity from Fatimid Egypt. Born to an influential Muslim family in Cairo, Ibn Rajāʾ later converted to Christianity and composed The Truthful Exposer (Kitāb al-Wāḍiḥ bi-l-Ḥaqq) outlining his skepticism regarding Islam. His ideas circulated across the Middle East and the Mediterranean in the medieval period, shaping the Christian understanding of the Qurʾan’s origins, Muḥammad’s life, the practice of Islamic law, and Muslim political history. This book includes a study of Ibn Rajāʾ’s life, along with an Arabic edition and English translation of The Truthful Exposer.

Abstract

Based on ethnographic materials, the article discusses Muslim women’s narratives as an expression of the process of identity negotiation in the post-Soviet cultural context. Muslim women’s narratives based on Islamic, ethnic, gendered epistemologies are intertwined with each other and hybrid. Muslim-Tatar women’s identity as women, Muslims and Tatars is tied together, while simultaneously being fragmented and peripheral to male identity. Since the Russian state imbues veiling with political meaning, Muslim women identity is politicized, therefore veiling as a part of Muslim-Tatar women’s identity is negotiated not only inside of the Muslim-Tatar community, but outside due to external discourses.

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In: Journal of Religion in Europe

Abstract

This article investigates an episode of anti-Catholic polemic in the late eighteenth century in Germany. It shows how fear over the influence of “crypto-Catholics” masquerading as Protestants and exponents of Enlightenment triggered the conceptualization of “Catholicism” as a social and cultural force beyond Church membership. It shows how Friedrich Nicolai played a leading role in suggesting that Catholics posed a distinct threat to the Enlightenment and the progressive achievements of the last few decades. Guided by Reinhart Koselleck’s insights into the temporalization of fundamental concepts, this article shows how the conceptualization of Catholicism was part of the larger attempt to navigate the dissolution of feudal society. It argues that placing Catholics on the wrong side of history was thus generative of the modern historical regime.

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In: Journal of Religion in Europe

Abstract

Understanding of space is central in migrant identity-building and integration to a host society. Identity also relates to time, which is effectuated by memory. This article shows how the interplay between religiosity and space may be central to believers’ identity narratives. Religiosity and memories of the past may affiliate migrants to a specific country. Through narrative analysis, I have shown five different ways Russian speakers from various denominations in Finland affiliate spatially—whether to the past country which does not exist anymore, country of origin, two home countries, host country or the global society. Each narrative has its own way of memorizing. The article shows multiplicity in Russian-speaking believers’ life courses and present-day identity-building in Finland. The article also demonstrates, in a migration situation, the effect on identity narratives of denominational background and recognition as sectarian or necessity of remediation.

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In: Journal of Religion in Europe

Abstract

In recent years, the involvement of Swiss wine-crafters (vignerons) with ‘holistic spiritualities’ has become more visible. Through the use of esoterically driven preparations, energetic crystals, and neo-shamanic ‘vision questing’ practices, vignerons have incorporated alternative self-healing practices in their workplace. Under the umbrella term ‘biodynamic farming,’ vignerons are experimenting and delineating a new professional and relational ethos, be it with humans or nonhumans (e.g., grapevines). In the context of the Swiss vineyards, however, the engagement of vignerons with ‘holistic spiritualities’ has also forced them to grapple with potential social stigmas. This article examines the social uses, dynamics, and dilemmas resulting from the gradual ‘spiritualization’ of vignerons’ workplaces.

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In: Journal of Religion in Europe
Author: Randi Marselis

Abstract

This article explores the potential of combining material analysis with object-elicited memory work in order to explore the role of objects in lived religion. It presents a case study on two traditional cross pendants, a Dagmar Cross and a Huguenot Cross, and analyses the cultural-historical contexts of the two crosses, including their importance for specific national and religious memory communities. Furthermore, the memory work sections of the article foreground how the pendants were used as transgenerational gifts during a mixed-faith upbringing in a transnational family. The article argues that such a multidimensional approach is helpful for unfolding the potential meanings of religious objects in lived religion.

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In: Journal of Religion in Europe
Author: Judith Roads

Abstract

This empirical case study provides a new approach to the understanding of discursively constructed Quaker identity in the seventeenth century, from the point of view of those opposed to the dissenting Christian movement. This article asks how others may have viewed adherents to the Quaker communities in England. The findings illustrate a range of negative and denigrating discourses that go beyond abstract religious controversy to sow manufactured fear of the Quaker community. Overt and covert linguistic mechanisms used by anti-Quaker writers reveal expressions of emerging moral panic underlying unsubstantiated accusations attacking the minority Quaker community.

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In: Journal of Religion in Europe

Abstract

Based on extensive fieldwork across Belarus, this article analyses an ongoing discussion within the Belarusian Orthodox Church (BOC) regarding various issues that are key in assessing the country’s identity politics and politico-ideological developments. Since the independence of Belarus in 1991, the Church has continuously played an important public and societal function. A special agreement, signed between the Church and Belarusian Government in 2003, has fostered Church cooperation with various governmental institutions, including educational establishments. Discussing the contribution of the BOC to the construction of a distinct Belarusian national identity, we will address the national language, relationships with the state, foreign policy orientation and the Church’s autocephaly. The empirical part of this study is based on seventeen in-depth interviews with clergymen and laypeople from the BOC. Our study shows that Church representatives have not hesitated to develop their profound perspectives on the important issues of identity politics and the relationships of the BOC and state, and these perspectives were often reflective of wider debates within Belarusian intellectual circles.

Open Access
In: Journal of Religion in Europe