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Melinda McGarrah Sharp

Multiple forms of oppression, injustice, and violence today have roots in histories of colonialism. This connection to the past feels familiar for some and less relevant for others. Understanding and responding to these connections is more crucial than ever, yet some resist rather than face this task directly. Others resist oppressive postcolonial conditions.

Using intercultural stories and pastoral care scholarship, this book charts pathways through five resistances (not me, not here, not now, not relevant, not possible) to awaken creative pastoral care in a postcolonial world. McGarrah Sharp recommends practices that everyone can do: believing in each other, revisiting how histories are taught, imagining more passable futures, heeding prophetic poets, and crossing borders with healthy boundaries.

Reading Islam

Life and Politics of Brotherhood in Modern Turkey

Series:

Fabio Vicini

In Reading Islam Fabio Vicini offers a journey within the intimate relations, reading practices, and forms of intellectual engagement that regulate Muslim life in two enclosed religious communities in Istanbul. Combining anthropological observation with textual and genealogical analysis, he illustrates how the modes of thought and social engagement promoted by these two communities are the outcome of complex intellectual entanglements with modern discourses about science, education, the self, and Muslims’ place and responsibility in society. In this way, Reading Islam sheds light on the formation of new generations of faithful and socially active Muslims over the last thirty years and on their impact on the turn of Turkey from an assertive secularist Republic to an Islamic-oriented form of governance.

Esther Eidinow

Abstract

This article discusses the challenges facing scholars exploring the nature of belief in ancient Greek religion. While recent scholarship has raised questions about individual religious activities, and work on ritual, the body, and the senses has broadened our methodological palette, the nature and dynamics of generally held “low intensity” beliefs still tend to be described simply as “unquestioned” or “embedded” in society. But examining scholarship on divine personifications suggests that ancient beliefs were — and our perceptions of them are — more complex. This article first explores the example of Tyche (“Chance”), in order to highlight some of the problems that surround the use of the term “belief.” It then turns to the theories of “ideology” of Slavoj Žižek and Robert Pfaller and argues that these can offer provocative insights into the nature and dynamics of ritual and belief in ancient Greek culture.

Arresting Alternatives

Religious Prejudice and Bacchantic Worship in Greek Literature

Marika Rauhala

Abstract

Ancient Greek descriptions of ecstatic and mystic rituals, here broadly labeled as Bacchantic worship, regularly include elements of moral corruption and dissolution of social unity. Suspicions were mostly directed against unofficial cult groups that exploited Dionysiac experiences in secluded settings. As the introduction of copious new cults attests, Greek religion was receptive to external influences. This basic openness, however, was not synonymous with tolerance, and pious respect for all deities did not automatically include their worshippers. This article reconsiders the current view of ancient religious intolerance by regarding these negative stereotypes as expressions of prejudice and by investigating the social dynamics behind them. Prejudices against private Bacchantic groups are regarded as part of the process of buttressing the religious authority of certain elite quarters in situations where they perceive that their position is being threatened by rival claims. It is suggested that both the accentuation and alleviation of prejudice is best understood in relation to the relative stability of the elite and the religious control it exerted.

Series:

Edited by Daniel Enstedt, Göran Larsson and Teemu T. Mantsinen

The Handbook of Leaving Religion introduces a neglected field of research with the aim to outline previous and contemporary research, and suggest how the topic of leaving religion should be studied in the future. The handbook consists of three sections: 1) Major debates about leaving religion; 2) Case studies and empirical insights; and 3) Theoretical and methodological approaches. Section one provides the reader with an introduction to key terms, historical developments, major controversies and significant cases. Section two includes case studies that illustrate various processes of leaving religion from different perspectives, and each chapter provides new empirical insights. Section three discusses, presents and encourages new approaches to the study of leaving religion.