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Edited by Andrew Village and Ralph Hood

This volume includes a wide range of papers that explore individual and institutional aspects of religion from a social-science perspective. The special section has articles from research groups in Europe, the USA and Australia on clergy work-related psychological health, stress, burnout and coping strategies. The general papers include studies on coping strategies among Buddhists, gender differences in response to church decline, teenage participation in religion, social capital among Friends of Cathedrals, psychological profiles of clergy, education effects on Roman Catholic deacons, and an analysis of prayer requests. Together these papers form a valuable collection indicating the depth and vibrancy of research in these fields.

Edited by Zuhâl Ağilkaya-Şahin, Heinz Streib, Ali Ayten and Ralph Hood

In Psychology of Religion in Turkey, senior and emerging Turkish scholars present critical conceptual analyses and empirical studies devoted to psychology of religion in Turkey. Part 1 consists of articles placing the psychology of religion in the historical context of an ancient culture undergoing modernization and secularization and articles devoted to conceptual themes suggesting the uniqueness of Islam among the great faith traditions. Part 2 is devoted to empirical studies of religion in the Turkish-Islamic includuing studies focused on the religious life of Turkish youth, popular religiosity, spirituality, and Muslim religious development in light of Al-Ghazzali. Part 3 is devoted to several empirical studies on a variety of social outcomes of religious commitment in Turkey.

Religion, Emergence, and the Origins of Meaning

Beyond Durkheim and Rappaport

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Paul Cassell

Why is religion so important to individuals and societies? What gives religion its profound meaningfulness and longevity? Enhancing perspectives taken from sociology and ritual theory, Religion, Emergence, and the Origins of Meaning describes how ‘emergence theory’ – developed to make sense of life and mind – explains why religious communities are special when compared to ordinary human social groups. Paul Cassell argues that in religious ritual, beliefs concerning unseen divine agencies are made uniquely potent, inviting and guiding powerful, alternative experiences, and giving religious groups a form of organization distinct from ordinary human social groups. Going beyond the foundational descriptions of Émile Durkheim and Roy Rappaport, Cassell utilizes the best of 21st century emergence theory to characterize religion’s emergent dynamics.

Studying Religions with the Iron Curtain Closed and Opened

The Academic Study of Religion in Eastern Europe

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Edited by Tomáš Bubík and Henryk Hoffmann

Studying Religions with the Iron Curtain Closed and Open. The Academic Study of Religion in Eastern Europe offers an account of the research focused on the origins, development and the current situation of the Study of Religions in the 20th century in countries such as the Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Estonia, Latvia, Ukraine, and Russia.

Special attention is devoted to the ideological influences determining the interpretation of religion, especially connected with the rise of Marxist-Leninist criticism of religion.

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Steven F.H. Stowell

Analyzing the literature on art from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, The Spiritual Language of Art explores the complex relationship between visual art and spiritual experiences during the Italian Renaissance. Though scholarly research on these writings has predominantly focused on the influence of classical literature, this study reveals that Renaissance authors consistently discussed art using terms, concepts and metaphors derived from spiritual literature. By examining these texts in the light of medieval sources, greater insight is gained on the spiritual nature of the artist’s process and the reception of art. Offering a close re-readings of many important writers (Alberti, Leonardo, Vasari, etc.), this study deepens our understanding of attitudes toward art and spirituality in the Italian Renaissance.

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Ritva Palmén

Richard of St.Victor (d.1173) developed original ideas about the faculty of imagination in a twelfth-century Parisian context. Related to the historical study of philosophical psychology, Richard of St. Victor’s Theory of Imagination acknowledges that the faculty of imagination, being a necessary precondition for human reasoning and a link between soul and body, plays an important role in Richard’s understanding of the human soul. Richard also deals with the interpretation of biblical language, metaphors, rhetoric, and the possibility of creative imagination. Considering all these aspects of the imagination in Richard’s texts improves our understanding of his theological epistemology and sheds new light on the theory of the imagination in the history of medieval philosophy in general.

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Edited by Gladys Ganiel, Heidemarie Winkel and Christophe Monnot

Religion is alive and well all over the world, especially in times of personal, political, and social crisis. Even in Europe, long regarded the most “secular” continent, religion has taken centre stage in how people respond to the crises associated with modernity, or how they interact with the nation-state. In this book, scholars working in and on Europe offer fresh perspectives on how religion provides answers to existential crisis, how crisis increases the salience of religious identities and cultural polarization, and how religion is contributing to changes in the modern world in Europe and beyond. Cases from Poland to Pakistan and from Ireland to Zimbabwe, among others, demonstrate the complexity and ambivalence of religion’s role in the contemporary world.

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Edited by Ralph L. Piedmont and Andrew Village

The 25th volume of Research in the Social Scientific Study of Religion continues to provide readers with an interdisciplinary assortment of high quality research studies aimed at capturing salient, contemporary trends in the field. The current volume presents a special section examining the role of spiritual and religious themes in sexuality research. Engaging analyses evaluate homonegativity and how religious advocacy influences perceptions of gay and lesbian individuals across different cultures. Also included are papers on the development of sexual identities among religious committed individuals. These papers help to connect concepts too frequently considered unrelated. The regular articles provide similarly stimulating evaluations of timely topics such as religious coping, gratitude, and the role of personality in describing religious experiences.

A New Model of Religious Conversion

Beyond Network Theory and Social Constructivism

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Ines W. Jindra

Based on the analysis of 52 conversion narratives to various religious groups, A New Model of Religious Conversion utilizes case studies for comparison of converts' backgrounds, network influence, and conversion narratives. The author convincingly illustrates a "fit" between the converts' background and the religion they convert to, such as between disorganized family backgrounds and highly structured religions. Conversely, those from highly structured backgrounds often convert to more "open" groups. The book also makes it clear that not all conversions are influenced by networks or align themselves with a social constructivist view of a conversion as an "account." Taking converts' trajectories seriously, the author makes a strong case for the application of biographical sociology to the study of conversion and (American) sociology overall.

Religion in Secular Education

What, in Heaven’s Name, are we Teaching our Children?

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Cathy Byrne

Cathy Byrne presents the secular principle as a guiding compass for religion in government schools in plural democracies. Using in-depth case studies, historical and contextual research from Australia, and comparisons with other developed nations, Religion in Secular Education provides a comprehensive, at times confronting, analysis of the ideologies, policies, pedagogies, and practices for state-school religion. In the context of rising demands for students to develop intercultural competence and interreligious literacy, and alongside increasing Christian evangelism in the public arena, this book highlights risks and implications as education develops religious identity – in individual children and in nation states. Byrne proposes a best practice framework for nations attempting to navigate towards socially inclusive outcomes and critical thinking in religions education policy.