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.
This article deals with the question of the nature of and scholarly approaches to studying Greek syntax in the Septuagint. The concrete point of departure is the publication of A Syntax of Septuagint Greek by T. Muraoka (Leuven: Peeters, 2016). The author discusses Muraoka’s work, while touching upon general trends in Septuagint scholarship, and reviews the book in a detailed manner. The author’s theoretical considerations are illustrated by two case studies that demonstrate the problems associated with Muraoka’s approach to syntax in the Septuagint. By way of conclusion, the author reflects on future directions in research on the Septuagint and its language usage.
While all agree that the language of the Septuagint does not represent a Jewish dialect, scholarship has nevertheless struggled to find ways of discussing the language of the Septuagint without implying a similar idea. Just as the notions of “biblical Greek” and “Jewish Greek” have rightly come under scrutiny, so also must scholars carefully reconsider “Septuagint Greek” and similar sobriquets. While admittedly helpful shorthand, such terminology may unintentionally license—or surreptitiously import—prescriptivist approaches to language that are now widely abandoned in linguistic scholarship. This article presents the ancient historical background to such approaches and surveys problematic terminology common within contemporary scholarship to illustrate its links (or lack thereof) with developments in general linguistics. More up-to-date frameworks, particularly from sociolinguistics, provide better concepts and terminology for discussing the language of the Septuagint. Attention is also given to evaluating the absence of external evidence and matters of style.
This essay reviews the two types of spirituality present in Augustine’s Confessions: on the one hand his former Manichaean-Christian belief and its practices, on the other hand his newly won Catholic-Christian mindset. More than ever thought, throughout the Confessions both forms of spirituality appear to be engaged in a breath-taking dialogue. Many examples of this unexpected discourse are given in the course of this exposition covering the entire Confessions. Its author argues that the most famous work of the African born Augustine should be read anew from its original perspective.
This article examines Apollo’s prophecy at Delphi as well as prophecy in ancient Judaism and ancient Christianity in light of recent scholarship on the demise of religions. I argue that two questions remain about ancient narratives of decline amidst the scholarship on the death of religions. First, how should scholars engage ancient narratives of decline that threaten to erase other practices, beliefs, and rhetoric? Second, what about the challenges of defining a ‘religion’ that declines? Brent Nongbri has suggested that categories other than religion may provide more fruitful avenues for describing antiquity; I argue that prophecy is one such category.
Considering recent ‘Death of Religion’ literature, this essay concludes that ‘death’ is not a particularly helpful metaphor to describe historical changes in the area of religion. A human lifespan metaphor is inappropriate for understanding the transformation of religion on the ground. The question should rather center on the transformation of religion as a feature of real, historical cultures. This essay explores what this means for the study of transformations of religions in Late Antiquity by focusing on materiality of religion and the enduring agency of religious spaces. In the larger context of religious change in history, the ‘presences,’ the ghosts and powers, radiated by places – by temples and caves, hillsides and springs – should be given more prominence in this discussion of religious twilights and religious demise.