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Abstract

This article is a case study of Musaeus College, Colombo, especially its colonial past and the postcolonial histories written about it and its founder, Marie Musaeus Higgins. Marie Higgins, the founder of the school, is not only celebrated within the school, but also throughout the country as the mother of girls’ education. Strikingly, being a white woman coming from ‘the West’ to establish this school as well as some vernacular village schools and a teachers’ training college, is not criticised within postcolonial Sri Lanka as other imperial remains are. This article will look at exactly this opposition between the memory of Higgins today and the historical sources to illuminate the ways in which a present-day narration of the past is used to construct a postcolonial Buddhist-Sri Lankan identity within which contemporary issues of racialised religion are obscured by Buddhist nationalism.

In: Religion and Gender

Abstract

The current study will evaluate the role of ‘irfān [the inner perception of knowledge; combining elements of philosophy, theosophy, mysticism and Shi‘i thought] within the Islamic Republic of Iran as a significant component of Iran’s cultural heritage. It will focus on several prominent clerics and intellectuals who represent the regime’s diverse political factions. This article will demonstrate that under the Islamic Republic, ‘irfān evolved from a marginalized area to a central phenomenon and became a tool to debate the political direction of the state and the relationship between its revolutionary and republican elements. While mysticism in the service of politics was more wide-spread among the reformist camp, ardent supporters of the regime resorted to ‘irfān to enhance an exclusive perception of authority based on the rule of the Supreme Jurist. It also created a shared spiritual basis among the Islamic State’s diverse voices. The result was a new blend between mysticism, philosophy, Western thought, politics, Islamic law, and even messianism, within an inter-connectivity between the mystical path and the Shari‘a. Consequently, a complex understanding of ‘irfān has to take into consideration the multiple fusions between Islamic mysticism and other trends and evaluate the result in a specific socio-political context.

In: Sociology of Islam

Abstract

The task of Bible teaching in Catholic religious education (RE) is to bring the world of the Bible and that of the contemporary reader into dialogue. This is not an easy task. After all, the (postmodern) processes of detraditionalisation and pluralisation have greatly widened the gap between the Bible and today’s culture. To meet this challenge, the hermeneutic-communicative model of Catholic RE in Flanders promotes an approach to Bible teaching that is both experiential, multidirectional, and communicative. However, Flemish Catholic RE teachers indicate that they often find it difficult to apply and implement this in their actual classroom practice. As part of a larger appreciative inquiry project with nine Catholic RE teachers in Flemish secondary education, this contribution focusses on the question of what teachers need to develop the necessary ownership, confidence, skill, and experience to strengthen their Bible teaching. Based on an analysis of RE teacher’s self-reflection and self-assessment reports, several factors or elements were identified that seem important to facilitate transfer to practice.

In: Journal of Empirical Theology
Author:

Abstract

Research into Islamic higher education tends to focus primarily on the educational institution as the object of the analysis and neglects the perspectives of students. To tackle this research desideratum, this article investigates students’ educational paths in the field of Islamic higher education. Based on in-depth interviews and extensive fieldwork among German students and alumni from the International Theology Program (Uluslararası İlahiyat Programı) in Turkey, the article has a twofold aim. First, it unpacks the motivations and reasons for students to study Islamic theology. Second, it examines how studying Islamic theology comes to constitute a meaningful endeavor for the students. The analysis shows that students’ complex ways of aspiring to study Islamic theology simultaneously constituted relevant means of becoming. Thus, studying Islamic theology constituted a venue for interlocutors to explore sources of identity and processes of meaning-making.

In: Journal of Religion in Europe

Abstract

This article investigates attempts at, and the implications of, speaking publicly for Islam in Denmark, with special attention to the notion of “voice.” First, I present a theoretical framework for an analytical focus on voice, and develop a distinction between “being” and “having” a voice. In the analysis that follows, I focus on three recent Danish podcast series produced by and featuring Muslims that to various extents all address issues related to Islam. Thereafter I discuss the effectiveness of the studied podcasts’ efforts to be and have a Muslim voice in light of the analytical concepts “recognition” and “resonance.”

Open Access
In: Journal of Religion in Europe

Abstract

Engagements in Islamic knowledge search have proved an important aspect of the religious path for Muslim women worldwide. This article testifies that that is also the case for pious Danish Muslim women. Based on extensive fieldwork, it describes how pious Danish Muslim women make an effort to find time for Islamic educational engagements in an everyday life of other obligations to maintain a continuous commitment to learning about Islam, and it describes the various routes to knowledge that the women employ. Throughout, it is argued that temporal and social aspects are key to consider if we are to understand the engagement of the women. First, I show that everyday commitments and time management in relation to such commitments are key for understanding how Danish Muslim women’s engagement in Islamic education unfolds. Second, I consider the engagement as shaped by the women’s social embeddedness in an everyday life of different commitments and ambitions and as cultivated through social bonds.

In: Journal of Religion in Europe
Author:

Abstract

The concept of corruption is historically linked to religion, but research on the relationship between religion and corruption is scarce, coming mainly from the fields of economics and statistics, and partially from anthropology and cultural studies. This article aims to offer a critical review of the relevant international literature on religion, religiosity, and corruption, ranging from large, quantitative comparative studies to more focused and in-depth qualitative case studies. It critically reviews the main results and identifies knowledge gaps that could be addressed by future research. Moreover, it discusses the importance of further research in the European area in light of some features of religion and corruption in Europe, as well as recent changes in the religious panorama of the continent.

In: Journal of Religion in Europe

Abstract

This article examines some of the changing forms of religion in contemporary Hungary, with a focus on a case study conducted at a mindfulness and lifestyle festival called Everness. The emerging need for an alternative kind of spirituality supplementing or opposed to traditional forms of religion has generated a new conceptual approach that I call event religion. In inductive empirical research, I used event religion to describe and interpret the participant experience in event-based settings through four dimensions: spatiotemporality, symbols, community, and inward experience. I show some characteristics of contemporary changing religiosity and spirituality through the examination of the four dimensions of experience.

In: Journal of Religion in Europe

Abstract

This article examines the link between religion and conspiracy theories by focusing on religious agents operating two alternative media outlets in Switzerland, opposing perceived mainstream opinions. Informed by Bourdieu’s field theory, the article elaborates on the agents’ surpassing of field boundaries, spawning an alternative field that accommodates all agents expelled from their initial fields. Through web scraping and qualitative interviews with the content creators, the analysis elucidates the particular significance of religious agents in the production and distribution of conspiracy theories, as they inherently oppose social differentiation, enabling them to contend with dominant authorities convincingly. The article concludes by offering an understanding of the alternative field and, by extension, of conspiracy theories as a process of dedifferentiation, striving for a realignment of the current structure of society.

Open Access
In: Journal of Religion in Europe

Abstract

Recently, there have been heated debates in Türkiye as a result of the legal action taken by the Presidency of Religious Affairs (pra) to ban the translations of the Qur'an on the grounds that it contains “objectionable” interpretations of passages contrary to “the fundamentals” of Islam. This study argues that, throughout history, the sacred text has been of symbolic importance and thus the authorities have sought to exert control over it. After a review of the recent cases, a conclusion is drawn that the political views as well as the unconventional religious interpretations may have been the driving factors in the decision to ban meâls. Moreover, there is the distinct possibility that the spread of modernist Islamic interpretations via the Internet, particularly Qur’anism, which has been directly targeted by the pra in official sermons, may be another contributing factor in translation bans.

In: Sociology of Islam