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Performing Splendour in Catholic and Protestant Contexts
A multidisciplinary international group of leading scholars study the concept of magnificence as a social construction in seventeenth-century Europe. Although this period is previously described as the ‘Age of Magnificence’, thus far no attempts have been made to look how the term and the concept of magnificence functioned. The authors focus on the way crucial ethical, religious, political, aesthetic, and cultural developments interacted with thought on magnificence in Catholic and Protestant contexts, analysing spectacular civic and courtly festivities and theatre, impressive displays of painting and sculpture in rich architectural settings, splendid gardens, exclusive etiquette, grand households, and learned treatises of moral philosophy.
Contributors are: Lindsay Alberts, Stijn Bussels, Jorge Fernández-Santos, Anne-Madeleine Goulet, Elizabeth den Hartog, Michèle-Caroline Heck, Miguel Hermoso Cuesta, José Eloy Hortal Muñoz, Félix Labrador Arroyo, Victoire Malenfer, Alessandro Metlica, Alessandra Mignatti, Anne-Françoise Morel, Matthias Roick, Kathrin Stocker, Klaas Tindemans, and Gijs Versteegen.
Terror and Intrigue
In Gnostic Countercultures, fourteen scholars investigate countercultural aspects associated with the gnostic which is broadly conceived with reference to the claim to have special knowledge of the divine, which either transcends or transgresses conventional religious knowledge. The papers explore the concept of the gnostic in Western culture from the ancient world to the modern New Age. Contributors trace the emergence, persistence, and disappearance of gnostic religious currents that are perceived to be countercultural, inverted, transgressive and/or subversive in their relationship to conventional religions and their claims to knowledge. The essays represent a selection of the papers delivered at the international congress Gnostic Countercultures: Terror and Intrigue convened at Rice University, March 26-28, 2015. The essays were originally published in Gnosis 1.1-2 (2016) and are available for the first time under separate cover.

Abstract

A belief-as-benefit effect (BABE)—the positive association between well-being and religiosity/spirituality—is recurrently reported. Past BABE research has however been critiqued for predominantly utilizing unrepresentative samples, questionable psychometric measures and bivariate designs. Employing a multivariate design, I explore the incremental validity of the BABE in two community samples. Hierarchical models—initially including socio-demographic factors and religiosity/spirituality and subsequently adding trait agreeableness and conscientiousness—are used. Simple correlations confirm the BABE (with an unexceptional effect size). However the unique association observed using multivariate estimation is substantially weaker and occasionally indicates an adverse association. That cross-sectional analyses cannot establish cause is fully acknowledged. Yet, establishing cause is not the current aim; multivariate models are simply used to substantiate the cross-sectional BABE.

In: Secular Studies
Author: Luke W. Galen

Abstract

The recent report by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life is intended to “offer a new and complementary lens with which to glean new insights into religion and public life”. The technique of cluster analysis was used on measures of religious and spiritual beliefs, yielding seven groups, two consisting primarily of nonreligious or secular individuals. There are “breadth-versus-depth” tradeoffs involved in this approach. A belief-based typology is an improvement upon a grouping that uses religious denomination, which undercounts secular individuals. But the theoretical implications of this typology for understanding secular individuals necessitate scrutiny, including how the use of meaning in life as a marker of well-being may be misleading in the case of the nonreligious.

In: Secular Studies
Author: Richard Carrier

Abstract

To oppose Secularism modern Christians depend on myths about the historical development of civilization. Such as the myth of a Christian America, imagining such things as that the United States Constitution was based on Biblical Christian principles. Parallel to this myth is another about science: that the Scientific Revolution, and therefore modern science, was based on Biblical Christian principles and could not have occurred (and therefore cannot continue) without them. Necessary to this are several false claims, most particularly that ancient pagans never did and never could have made any significant scientific progress, and that Christian theology was essential to doing so. These myths are here dispelled with recourse to a survey of the actual facts of the matter.

In: Secular Studies
Author: Paula Montero

Abstract

Using Davis Buckley’s (2013) notion of “Benevolent Secularism” this article examines how the evangelical movement in Brazil, in particular, the neopentecostal movement, challenges the historical stability of relations between state and religion. Until very recently this relationship was based on cooperation between the Catholic Church and the State in the one hand and an inter-religious coalition led by Catholicism in the other. In this text, I will first discuss the concept of “benevolent secularism” and its theoretical-methodological implications. Then, I will present empiric examples to describe how Christian religions relate to politics in Brazil. Those examples will test the applicability of Buckley’s concept to represent Brazilian secularism. And, they will also demonstrate the heuristic virtues of this concept for the understanding of the impact of the evangelical modus operandi in the configuration of the secular in Brazilian society.

In: Secular Studies
In: Sacrifice in Modernity: Community, Ritual, Identity
In: Sacrifice in Modernity: Community, Ritual, Identity
In: Sacrifice in Modernity: Community, Ritual, Identity