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What constitutes the core values, tenets, cultural, historic, and ideological parameters of secularism in international contexts? In twelve chapters, this edited work examines current tensions in liberal secular states where myriad rights and freedoms compete regarding education, healthcare, end-of-life choices, clothing, sexual orientation, reproduction, and minority interests. It explores the legal complexity of defining a ‘religion’ through judicial decisions and scrutinises Christianity, Hinduism and Islam’s relative success in accommodating religious pluralism.

Part One explores the religious practice and persecution nexus, COVID-19’s effect on religious freedom, religious education, burqas/headscarves, and religious culture in civil law. Part Two explores the constitutional principle of secularism in Member States of the Council of Europe, US Religious Clauses, and religious freedom in South Africa, UK, Australia, and India.
Editor / Translator: Daniel Canaris
The True Record of the Lord of Heaven (Tianzhu shilu, 1584) by the Jesuit missionary Michele Ruggieri was the first Chinese-language work ever published by a European. Despite being published only a few years after Ruggieri started learning Chinese, it evinced sophisticated strategies to accommodate Christianity to the Chinese context and was a pioneering work in Sino-Western exchange. This book features a critical edition of the Chinese and Latin texts, which are both translated into English for the first time. An introduction, biography, and rich annotations are provided to situate this text in its cultural and intellectual context.
The purpose of the Annual Review of the Sociology of Religion is to investigate the “new” role of religion in the contemporary world, which is characterized by cultural pluralism and religious individualism.

It is the aim of the series to combine different methods within the social scientific study of religion. Contributions to the series employ an interdisciplinary and comparative approach at an international level, to describe and interpret the complexity of religious phenomena within different geopolitical situations, highlighting similarities and discontinuities. Dealing with a single theme in each volume, the series intends to tackle the relationship between the practices and the dynamics of everyday life and the different religions and spiritualities, within the framework of post-secular society. All contributions are welcome, both those studying organizational aspects and those exploring individual religiosity.

The series has published an average of one volume per year over the last five years.
Die vorliegende Reihe möchte das Gespräch der christlichen Theologien mit nichtchristlichem Nachdenken über die letzte Wirklichkeit beflügeln und ein Forum für die sich neu entwickelnde Forschungsrichtung der Komparativen Theologie bieten. Dabei geht es darum, Wege zum Verstehen nichtchristlicher Religionen auszuloten, in denen die Verschiedenheit der je anderen Weltzugänge angemessen gewürdigt wird, ohne die Geltungsansprüche der eigenen Religion in unzulässiger Weise zu relativieren. Zugleich geht es darum, Debatten zwischen christlichen Theologien und nichtchristlichen Weltzugängen nachzuzeichnen und so ein freundschaftlich-solidarisches Ringen um die eine Wahrheit aus der Sicht verschiedener Religionen zu stärken. Und schließlich soll hermeneutisch zu einem besseren Verstehen über Religionsgrenzen hinweg beigetragen werden. Getragen sind diese Bemühungen von der Einsicht, dass das bessere Kennenlernen der anderen immer auch eine Hilfe ist, um sich selbst besser zu verstehen und das eigene Nachdenken über Gott bzw. die letzte Wirklichkeit zu vertiefen.
Um diese Ziele zu erreichen, kommen in den Beiträgen zur Komparativen Theologie Theologen und Theologinnen bzw. Gelehrte verschiedener religiöser Traditionen miteinander und mit Vertreterinnen und Vertretern der Religions- und Kulturwissenschaften ins Gespräch, um so im interdisziplinären Gespräch die religionsbezogene Forschung zu vertiefen und im Methodenspektrum zu erweitern. Dabei werden gesellschaftlich brisante und für das interreligiöse Gespräch zentrale Fragestellungen ausgewählt und theologisch bearbeitet. Der Vergleich über Religionsgrenzen hinweg soll auf diese Weise Orientierungsleistungen für Menschen heute erbringen und das dialogische Profil der Theologien schärfen.

The book series, Contributions to Comparative Theology, stimulates the conversation of theologies of different religions and provides a forum for the newly developing research field of Comparative Theology. It advances ways to fathom and understand other religions, in which the diversity of another’s religious view of the world is adequately acknowledged without impermissibly relativizing the truth claims of one's own religion. At the same time, the series portrays real debates between Christian theologies and non-Christian worldviews, showing the ways in which a friendly pursuit of the one truth can be charted without compromising the integrity of one’s own religious commitments. Finally, by working hermeneutically, this series contributes to a better understanding of the differences that lie across religious boundaries. These efforts are underlined by the awareness that getting to know each other better is also helpful to arrive at a better understanding of one’s self and to deepen one's thinking about God – or ultimate reality.
To achieve these goals, theologians of various religious traditions come together in conversation with each other and also with representatives of religious and cultural studies. In the ensuing interdisciplinary dialogue, understandings of religion are deepened and expanded as socially and religiously challenging issues and topics, particularly those that feature prominently in interreligious conversation, are investigated theologically to reveal the unique contribution that Comparative Theology can make to advancing a civil dialogue and a civic culture. Theological investigations across disciplinary and religious boundaries thus provide resources for sharpening the dialogical profile of different theologies through the medium of Comparative Theology.
Studies on the Contact between Christianity and Other Religions, Beliefs, and Cultures
A series emerging from discussions within an interdisciplinary research group at the Free University of Amsterdam, Currents of Encounter deals with specific concerns of theology of religion, philosophy of religion, comparative religion, and missiology, exploring the relation between the Christian faith and contemporary culture as well as the encounter between Asian, African, Latin American, and Western contextualizations of Christianity.
The aim of Currents of Encounter is to stimulate discussion and reflection on its theme from various presuppositional and methodological points of view. The underlying assumption of this aim is that the interdisciplinary avenue - neither an exclusively positivist nor a purely normative theological approach - provides the best means of access to a better understanding of the problems and potentialities inherent in the encounter between Christianity and the world of which it is a part.

Abstract

This article uses the philosophy of Tristan Garcia to theorize about religion and to identify religion as an object without essentializing it (scientistic reduction) or reducing it to culture (as in critical theory). It proposes a radical speculative ontology for analyzing religion in opposition to late-liberalism’s determining effects on the study of religion. In juxtaposition with Graham Harman’s object-oriented ontology and Quentin Meillassoux’s speculative philosophy, Garcia’s philosophy offers a unique perspective about the irreduction of religion and classification within religious studies, especially through his philosophy of intensities. His perspective on the concatenation of human and nonhuman objects and their assemblages compliments and builds upon the current scholarship in material religion. In particular, his philosophy of intensities enables religion and religions to be dispersed into countless temporal instances and evaluated in limitless levels of intensity in a classificatory system set to avoid reductionism and neoliberalism.

In: Method & Theory in the Study of Religion
Volume Editor: Pim Valkenberg
A Companion to Comparative Theology offers a unique survey of a rapidly developing field of modern theology in 32 chapters coordinated by five editors. Its first part discusses some of the main historical developments in theology and religious studies before 1985 that are relevant for understanding contemporary approaches in comparative theology. The main part of the companion traces developments in five specific areas of comparative research, starting with classical approaches by Christian comparative theologians, and continuing with responses by scholars from Jewish, Islamic, Hindu, Buddhist and Chinese religious comparative perspectives. The final part of the companion highlights a number of new avenues in comparative theology, discussing new methods, new forms of awareness, new partnerships with other fields of study, and finally some preliminary conclusions.

Contributors are: Nadeen Mustafa A Alsulaimi, María Enid Barga, Bede Benjamin Bidlack, André van der Braak, Francis X. Clooney, Catherine Cornille, Jonathan Edelmann, Marianne Farina, James L. Fredericks, Rouyan Gu, Paul Hedges, Holly Hilgardner, Daniel Joslyn-Siemiatkoski, Louis Komjathy, Christian S. Krokus, LAI, Pan-chiu, Kristin Johnston Largen, John Makransky, Jerry L. Martin, Vahid Mahdavi Mehr, Marianne Moyaert, Emmanuel Nathan, Robert Cummings Neville, Hugh Nicholson, Jerusha Tanner Rhodes, Devorah Schoenfeld, Klaus von Stosch, Axel Marc Oaks Takacs, Pim Valkenberg, Maureen L. Walsh, Kijin James Wu

Abstract

The rational choice approach to religion (RCAR) applies neoclassical economic principles to religion to create models of religious behavior. It presents both those principles and the resulting models as universal. Most critics of that approach have challenged those models’ empirical predictions. In contrast, this article develops an ‘upstream’ critique of the theory by examining the problems with its chosen approach in economics itself. The history of that discipline shows that the utility-maximizing figure of Homo economicus is a modern construct, as is the notion of a self-correcting free market. Both are contextual and ideological, not universal. Early 20th-century sociologists already provided a comprehensive and radical rebuttal of these ideas – a critique that was a major source of the early sociology of religion. Recent alternative approaches by economists show that neoclassical formalism even fails to account for basic economic phenomena. Models built on this formalism – such as RCAR – thus cannot be naively imported to explain religious action. This does not mean that the sociology of religion should avoid economics tout court. Some non-formalist economic approaches show much more promise.

In: Method & Theory in the Study of Religion
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.
In: Mixed Messages: Using the Bible and Qur'ān in Swahili Tracts