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Abstract

In this article we define a new concept that has not previously been theorized: non-Muslim Islam. We argue that theories and methodologies within Islamic studies produce a hierarchy between Muslim and non-Muslim productions of Islam, prioritizing the first. However, this article highlights that Islam may be produced for other purposes than belief in a deity; Islam may for example be important in producing non-Muslim identity, politics, aesthetics, narratives, etc. We therefore argue the case for studying non-Muslim Islam, because: 1) Non-Muslim Islams play an important role in Euro-American societies and are therefore interesting in and of themselves; 2) Non-Muslim Islams have a significant impact on Muslim Islams, and thus, we will not understand Muslim Islams without a clear understanding of non-Muslim Islams; 3) It is a way of insisting on an etic research epistemology. The article ends with a discussion of ethical and strategic benefits of adopting this approach.

Open Access
In: Method & Theory in the Study of Religion

Abstract

The Legacy, Life and Work of Geo Widengren and the Study of the History of Religions after World War II , editor Göran Larsson, illuminates the scholarly career of Geo Widengren and the development of the Study of Religion. We can learn from his example to pursue historical and comparative studies, develop philological competence, and create bold theories. However, Widengren’s philological approach sometimes led to what can be labelled the philological fallacy, too much faith in the importance of mastery of languages at the cost of more critical and self-critical views. Philological and historical skills should be supplemented with theoretical awareness and an adequate methodology. In The Legacy we learn about how academic culture was built in the last century, how it operated, and we also understand why it was altered. It had in addition been interesting to hear more about female scholars in Widengren’s milieu.

In: Method & Theory in the Study of Religion
Author:

Abstract

This article is both an introduction to a collection of papers that critically discuss and evaluate the volume The Legacy, Life and Work of Geo Widengren and the Study of the History of Religions after World War II , which I edited and published with Brill in 2021, as well as an opportunity for me to think with and about the Swedish historian of religions, Geo Widengren (1907–1996). Widengren was the holder of the chair in the History of Religions and Psychology of Religions at Uppsala University between 1940 and 1973.

Open Access
In: Method & Theory in the Study of Religion
Author:

Abstract

Feminist criticism recognises two rival sacrifices in the Western philosophical- theological tradition: the motherly sacrifice of childbirth and the near-sacrifice of Isaac (the so-called Akedah; Gen 22). In this paper, I investigate both sacrifices as a self-emptying and transformative process that aims to offer oneself in the place of the other. The argument proceeds in three steps: first, I present the self-sacrifice of childbirth as the moment of identity split and the “being for the other”; second, I interpret Gen 22 as a self-sacrifice (“Here I am”; Gen 22:1c) which calls to responsibility as a possible route to non-sacrificial relations; finally, I question the essentialism that accompanies the Akedah and childbirth in order to liberate both from gender stereotypes and to present them as two different forms of self-sacrifice which seek to break the sacrificial logic of our Western society.

Open Access
In: Interdisciplinary Journal for Religion and Transformation in Contemporary Society
Author:

Abstract

This paper focuses on the idea of the so-called sacrifice for nothing in Jan Patočka. Firstly, I clarify the concept and explain its place in the context of Patočka’s thought and its surrounding historical conditions. Secondly, I critically apply Patočka’s concept to some particular examples, such as a free-willing sacrifice of a mother for her child and a forced-violent sacrifice of political oppression. Thirdly and finally, I argue that despite the language of nothingness, it is possible to draw a positive program from these reflections, and thus to turn the negativity of sacrifice into a being transforming experience.

Open Access
In: Interdisciplinary Journal for Religion and Transformation in Contemporary Society
Free access
In: Interdisciplinary Journal for Religion and Transformation in Contemporary Society
Author:

Abstract

The sacrificial story in Genesis 22:1–19, the Aqeda or “Binding of Isaac,” has generated a large body of research literature. This is due to its irresolvable ambiguity: God commands the sacrifice of Isaac and stops it. The reader is not informed about reasons or intentions of the characters involved. After analyzing some possible approaches to the text’s ambiguity, I offer a new performative reading of the passage with Giorgio Agamben’s and Judith Butler’s theories of gesture. I argue that this approach effectively deals with ambiguity, because it neither erases violence nor justifies it. It rather exposes violence by interrupting and redirecting it. Abraham’s raised hand with the knife thus becomes an interrupted gesture. It makes the text a monument to violence that teaches to see the same situation in a different light and to interrupt the continuous repetition of violent behaviour.

Open Access
In: Interdisciplinary Journal for Religion and Transformation in Contemporary Society

Abstract

The concept of sacrifice poses an interesting challenge to feminist theory. On the one hand, it seems that women must reject self-sacrificing practices. On the other hand, certain recent feminist analyses have recognized sacrifice as a potential empowering tool for women, so long as it is freely chosen and experienced as positively transformative.

In this paper I argue that it is possible to relate to childbirth either as an event calling for women to sacrifice themselves in the patriarchal sense or, alternatively, as one that allows for a “feminist sacrifice” – a deeply embodied and painful but also creative and redeeming self-sacrifice, chosen by a woman herself.

I show that while the patriarchal sacrifice of women’s birthing bodies in the labor room through shame, blame, objectification, and abuse must be clearly rejected from a feminist perspective, there is nevertheless room for “feminist sacrifice” in childbirth.

Open Access
In: Interdisciplinary Journal for Religion and Transformation in Contemporary Society
Author:

Abstract

This article explores the Scuola di Meditazione (School of Meditation) established in Sardinia in 1983, one of the earliest instances in Italy of the use of ‘Eastern’ techniques by Roman Catholic religious professionals to promote the practice of meditation for lay people. Against the backdrop of ongoing religious diversification in the Italian context, this case study provides an insight on religion under globalization as a complex and multilayered phenomenon. In particular, the formation and activities of the Scuola di Meditazione show to be ingrained in the working of the global cultural network, with both direct and indirect cultural imports from Asia through mediatization, missionization, and mobility; to build upon the broader global repositioning of the Roman Catholic Church towards Asian and other ‘world’ religions through the adoption of a soft inclusivist approach; and to provide a meaningful framework for glocal practices resulting in the globally-oriented reshaping of individual religious worlds.

Open Access
In: Interdisciplinary Journal for Religion and Transformation in Contemporary Society

Abstract

The theological question of the recognition of the legitimacy of ‘other’ religious traditions is today a relevant issue not only for the religious sciences, but also for politics and those dealing with social issues. This contribution deals with this issue starting from some considerations of the Abu Dhabi Declaration, signed by Pope Francis and Imam Ahmad al-Tayeb, in which there is a bold statement on the theological goodness of religious pluralism. This statement is re-read in a sapiential key and with an inductive and experiential theological perspective.

Open Access
In: Interdisciplinary Journal for Religion and Transformation in Contemporary Society