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Abstract

This article describes three different readings of the creation story of Eve and Adam, occurring over the life span of Henny Dons, a Protestant Christian and first-wave feminist in early-twentieth-century Norway. I discuss her changing understandings of this creation account over the course of her life. More broadly I explore her approach to biblical reading (as receiving, arranging, and iterating) and how this shaped her as a religious feminist subject. I argue that what is going on in her iterated re-readings is not fully captured by the frame of self-cultivation. Rather, this religious feminist subject shows us a series of woman-word operations that receive and arrange a variety of material and discursive entities together in a circuit of “being created woman.”

Open Access
In: Religion and Gender
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Abstract

Stained glass windows created by Jean-Pierre Raynaud and Pierre Soulages for the Abbeys of Noirlac and Conques employ a minimalistic style sensitive to their Romanesque contexts but also express qualities one might call Cistercian, even though only one of the commissions was created for an actual Cistercian abbey. As a form of monasticism, “Cistercian” signifies values of simplicity, poverty, and austerity presented by the founders of the Cistercian Order as essential to the monastic life and embodied in the rigor of their architecture. Natural light is a key element in Cistercian fenestration, differing significantly from the display of color associated with Gothic stained glass. I argue that a form of neo-Cistercianism is evident in and exemplified by the works of Raynaud and Soulages for their respective abbey commissions, in which an aesthetic of restraint and economy aims, above all, to treat the configuration of light as the primary consideration.

Open Access
In: Religion and the Arts

Abstract

Recurrent and concurrent crises call for new development paradigms, as dominant theories of economic development are not fostering equity or sustainability. We argue that part of the reason is that the conceptualization of development, and the resulting metrics driving decision-making, are narrow. Building on work that proposes adding values/ethics as a fourth pillar to development, along with economic, environmental, and social pillars, this article presents an Islamic perspective of how values-based development would differ from the dominant, contemporary forms. While rooted in a specific perspective and worldview, it has great relevance as approximately a quarter of humanity adheres to the faith. We offer a holistic, values-based approach to development, drawing on classical foundations and contemporary lessons, rooted in a different epistemic and ideological orientation. On this basis, we highlight five values that could be the foundation for re-orienting development: vicegerency, justice, excellence, tranquility, and freedom. Integrating these values in a fourth, values-based pillar of development alters the conceptualization and the metrics of development, resulting in processes driven by different objectives for individuals and societies.

Open Access
In: Journal of Islamic Ethics
Connected and decompartmentalised perspectives from the Middle East and North Africa (19th-21st century)
Based on a connected, relational and multidisciplinary approach (history, ethnography, political science, and theology), Mission and Preaching tackles the notion of mission through the analysis of preaching activities and religious dynamics across Christianity, Islam and Judaism, in the Middle East and North Africa, from the late 19th century until today. The 13 chapters reveal points of contact, exchange, and circulation, considering the MENA region as a central observatory. The volume offers a new chronology of the missionary phenomenon and calls for further cross-cutting approaches to decompartmentalise it, arguing that these approaches constitute useful entry points to shed new light on religious dynamics and social transformations in the MENA region.

Contributors
Necati Alkan, Federico Alpi, Gabrielle Angey, Armand Aupiais, Katia Boissevain, Naima Bouras, Philippe Bourmaud, Gaetan du Roy, Séverine Gabry-Thienpont, Maria-Chiara Giorda, Bernard Heyberger, Emir Mahieddin, Michael Marten, Norig Neveu, Maria Chiara Rioli, Karène Sanchez Summerer, Heather Sharkey, Ester Sigillò, Sébastien Tank Storper, Emanuela Trevisan Semi, Annalaura Turiano and Vincent Vilmain.

Abstract

Religious studies of Rwanda typically focus on Christianity’s involvement before, during, and after the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, also referred to as the Rwandan Genocide. Rwanda’s postgenocide reconstruction has witnessed new and changing political and social commitments by previously established religious organisations such as the Roman Catholic, Protestant, and Adventist Churches. The Rwandan government has taken a more progressive stance on divisions of power and religious institutions, and the promotion of religious freedoms that has benefitted the domestic Muslim population. This essay examines how Judaism, a previously unknown religion in the region, is impacting Rwandan identity formation. Jewish identity is increasingly being tied to the nation’s own reconstructed identity, with a strong focus on historical persecution, rebuilding after genocide, and development. This essay suggests that Rwandan identity and religious studies should include the ever-growing ties with Jews and Israel to better understand its political and social reconstruction since 1994.

Open Access
In: Journal of Religion in Africa
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Abstract

In this article we aim to explore how vernacular ideas about spiritual power, words, and silence shape perceptions of religion and witchcraft among the rural Komi people, whose predominant religion is Russian Orthodoxy. In this framework we investigate local ideas of witchcraft, belonging, and strangeness. During our joint ethnographic fieldwork trips to the Komi Republic, Russia, these notions were evoked repeatedly in discussions concerning the Evangelical Protestants who established their mission in a village historically associated with witches. This particular coincidence is reflected in discourses that brand the Evangelicals culturally alien, drawing on both traditional and contemporary categories of otherness. Our analysis shows that ideas about magical power and the usage of words constitute significant aspects of vernacular understanding of faith regardless of formal denominational belonging. We claim that religious practices are switched more spontaneously than feelings of spiritual power and traditionally accepted religious belonging among the rural Komi.

Open Access
In: Numen

Abstract

Building on the idea of “ritual quotation,” this article offers a new perspective on rituals enacted within contemporary theatrical performances in South India. Drawing from an existing corpus and reproduced in a different framework, the ritual tēvāram is embedded in a broad web of intertextual relationships comprised not only of items of repertoire and prescriptive manuals, but also of elements of ritual practices, shared beliefs, claims of social status, and ongoing negotiations between individual imagination and collective expectations.

Usually a Nampūtiri domestic ritual, tēvāram is also carried out within Kūṭiyāṭṭam performances. Through a detailed analysis, I argue that the enactment of tēvāram on stage is not merely the stylized reproduction of a religious service, but it is rather an integral part of the narrative and aesthetic body of the theater practice. The performative and textual milieu of tēvāram creates scope for variations that modify both the plot and the tēvāram ritual itself. Kūṭiyāṭṭam-tēvāram thus becomes a transformative action and a tool of negotiation in the positioning of individuals within the social matrix.

Open Access
In: Numen
Author:

Abstract

This article focuses on the encounter between two actors of the mission of the Gülen Movement: Turkish teachers dedicated to the cause, and African teachers hired locally. It underlines the gap existing between the two groups as well as their diverging teaching conceptions. Through a sociological analysis of this religious institution, this article is an attempt to explain the origins of these gaps as well as the points of convergence between them. Beyond the observation of objective social status differences, it uses a processual approach of their commitments in the religious institution to shed a new light on the day-to-day reality of a Muslim Mission originating from Turkey in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Open Access
In: Missions and Preaching