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In Monumental Sounds, Matthew G. Shoaf examines interactions between sight and hearing in spectacular church decoration in Italy between 1260-1320. In this "age of vision," authorities' concerns about whether and how worshipers listened to sacred speech spurred Giotto and other artists to reconfigure sacred stories to activate listening and ultimately bypass phenomenal experience for attitudes of inner receptivity. New naturalistic styles served that work, prompting viewers to give voice to depicted speech and guiding them toward spiritually-fruitful auditory discipline. This study reimagines narrative pictures as site-specific extensions of a cultural system that made listening to God's word a meaningful practice. Close reading of religious texts, poetry, and art historiography augments Shoaf's novel approach to pictorial naturalism and art's multisensorial dimensions.
In Theoretical and Empirical Investigations of Divination and Magic ten leading scholars of religion provide up-to-date investigations into the classic domains of divination and magic. Spanning historical, anthropological, cognitive, philosophical and theoretical chapters, the volume’s authors invite the reader to explore how divinatory practices and magical rituals, both apart and in interaction, can be reconceptualized in line with 21st century scholarship.


Following an Introduction addressing the ever-pertinent discussion of the status and epistemological value of the categories inherited from our scholarly predecessors, the volume includes analysis of divinatory and magic practices in particular historical areas, as well as comparative, theoretical and philosophical discussions, making this an indispensable volume for anyone interested in broader comparative approaches to magic and divination.
Early Psychoanalytic Religious Writings presents, in one edited volume, many of the foundational writings in the psychoanalytic study of religion. These translated works by Abraham, Fromm, Pfister, and others, complement Freud’s seminal contributions and provide a unique window into the origins of psychoanalytic thinking. The volume includes the Freud-Pfister correspondence, with a brief introduction, which reveals the rich back story of friendship, mutual respect, and intellectual debate. These essays are anchored in Freud’s early theory-building and prefigure and are linked to later developments in psychoanalytic thought. The issues raised in these essays are of relevance still today – how is religions thinking shaped by unconscious processes reflecting primary relationships and drives?
Research in the Social Scientific Study of Religion, Volume 31: A Diversity of Paradigms showcases two approaches to the socio-scientific study of religion. It includes a special section within which authors draw on data collected about congregational life in the Australian National Church Life Surveys (from 1991 to present). These studies give voice to minority groups and children. While findings include the strengths of ethnic diversity and the positive experiences of young churchgoers, they also highlight that full inclusion in local church life is far from being realized. A second section explores the application of feminist approaches within the sociology of religion. In their struggle for equality for women, feminist scholars developed methodologies to challenge the marginality of any ‘othered’ group. This section showcases how use of these methods challenges hierarchies within knowledge.
Edited by J.A. Belzen

The series published one volume over the last 5 years.
Author: Jenny H. Pak
Although science was originally broadly conceptualized as a systematic, rigorous activity to produce trustworthy knowledge, psychologists adopted a single philosophy of science and strictly enforced natural science as the only proper “scientific” psychology. Qualitative research has been part of modern psychology from the beginning, but it was obscured for nearly a century as positivist epistemology came to dominate the field. Building culturally robust and intelligible theories capable of responding more effectively to complex problems faced by a rapidly changing world calls for openness in methodological diversity. Deeply rooted in a hermeneutic tradition, cultural psychology has challenged the appropriateness of seeking reductive knowledge because higher mental processes such as religious beliefs, values, and choices are bound by historical and cultural context. As greater interdisciplinary integration and methodological innovations are necessary to keep psychology of religion relevant, narrative inquiry has emerged as a promising integrative paradigm.
Author: Jenny H. Pak

Abstract

Although science was originally broadly conceptualized as a systematic, rigorous activity to produce trustworthy knowledge, psychologists, those following the mainstream, adopted a single philosophy of science and strictly enforced natural science as the only proper “scientific” psychology. Qualitative research has been part of modern psychology from the beginning, but it was obscured for nearly a century as positivist epistemology came to dominate the field. Building culturally robust and intelligible theories capable of responding more effectively to complex problems faced by a rapidly changing world calls for openness in methodological diversity. Deeply rooted in a hermeneutic tradition, cultural psychology has challenged the appropriateness of seeking reductive knowledge because higher mental processes such as religious beliefs, values, and choices are bound by historical and cultural context. As greater interdisciplinary integration and methodological innovations are necessary to keep psychology of religion relevant, narrative inquiry has emerged as a promising integrative paradigm.

In: Brill Research Perspectives in Religion and Psychology
Author: Jenny H. Pak

Abstract

Although science was originally broadly conceptualized as a systematic, rigorous activity to produce trustworthy knowledge, psychologists, those following the mainstream, adopted a single philosophy of science and strictly enforced natural science as the only proper “scientific” psychology. Qualitative research has been part of modern psychology from the beginning, but it was obscured for nearly a century as positivist epistemology came to dominate the field. Building culturally robust and intelligible theories capable of responding more effectively to complex problems faced by a rapidly changing world calls for openness in methodological diversity. Deeply rooted in a hermeneutic tradition, cultural psychology has challenged the appropriateness of seeking reductive knowledge because higher mental processes such as religious beliefs, values, and choices are bound by historical and cultural context. As greater interdisciplinary integration and methodological innovations are necessary to keep psychology of religion relevant, narrative inquiry has emerged as a promising integrative paradigm.

In: Integrating Psychology, Religion, and Culture
Author: Angele Deguara

Abstract

The study explores the ambivalent relationship of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) Catholics within the Roman Catholic Church whose teachings on sexuality are a major source of conflict and distress. It analyses the experiences of LGBT believers with a strong attachment to the Church in Malta and, to a lesser extent in Palermo, who now feel marginalised by the Church because of their sexual relationships. They are critical of the Church and feel alienated from it as an institution. As their lifestyle departs from Catholic teachings, they reconstruct their sexual morality which, however, is still inspired by Catholic values. Despite their negative feelings towards it, LGBT Catholics are reluctant to sever their ties completely from the Church, preferring instead to have remained within its fold and to be embraced by it. Study participants may be classified into three overlapping categories in terms of how they relate to the Church, depending on their level of alienation. Assimilators feel at peace with the Church and remain loyal even as they criticise it. Deserters leave the Church, some rather reluctantly, as they feel rejected and judged. Affiliators join LGBT faith-based groups searchingdid not find within the Church community.

In: Research in the Social Scientific Study of Religion, Volume 31

Abstract

Despite the widespread idea in Islamic culture that Muslim women should under no circumstances marry a non-Muslim, many Muslim women get married to non-Muslims. The potential influence of a non-Muslim husband on a woman’s religiosity is one of the main arguments used by scholars who are against Muslim women’s interfaith marriages. This research aims to highlight the untold stories of interreligiously married Muslim women and to examine how being part of an interreligious marriage affects their religiosity and religious experience.

Based on qualitative interviews with intermarried Muslim women who are currently in interfaith union, this study shows that for many interreligiously married Muslim women, marriage to a man from a different religion influences their religious observance in two ways – first, by having no effect (either negative or positive), and second, by having a positive impact on the practise of their religion and the expansion of their religious knowledge. It reveals that the main reason for the positive change was Muslim women’s feelings of being an ambassador of Islam and Muslims in their inter-religious family.

In: Research in the Social Scientific Study of Religion, Volume 31

Abstract

Developing social capital is thought to be important for enabling the successful settling of migrants into their new homeland. Churches are places that have been shown to foster bonding and bridging ties, and can also be important places for migrants to meet other migrants and non-migrants. We examine bonding and bridging among 30,048 churchgoers from 1439 congregations in 388 Catholic parishes who completed the Australian National Church Life Survey in 2011. Levels of bridging were generally lower than levels of bonding, but the two were positively correlated, though bridging declined among those with the highest bonding scores. First generation Asian Catholic migrants (FGACM) had lower levels of bonding and bridging than did Australian Catholics born of Australian parents (ACBAP). More frequent attendance and longer duration were associated with higher bonding, and the effects were mostly similar for migrants and non-migrants. Being in a congregation with a high proportion of people from the same region tended to increase bonding for migrants from the Philippines and Korea/Vietnam, but not for those from India/Sri Lanka. Being in a congregation with a high proportion of people from the same region tended to decrease bridging for migrants from India/Sri Lanka and Korea/Vietnam, but not for those from the Philippines. Findings are discussed in the light of a similar study of Protestant churchgoers from the same survey.

In: Research in the Social Scientific Study of Religion, Volume 31

Abstract

As part of the Church Growth Research Programme in 2013 Voas and Watt collected the psychological profiles of 1,164 clergymen and 307 clergywomen serving in stipendiary parochial ministry, using the Francis Psychological Type Scales. This paper sets these data alongside the profile of 626 clergymen and 237 clergywomen published in 2007. This comparison suggests a significant movement among both clergymen and clergywomen away from intuition and away from perceiving. This results in a significant increase in the SJ temperament among Anglican clergy (from 31% to 39% among clergymen and from 29% to 40% among clergywomen), suggesting a movement toward a more conserving and less adventurous approach to ministry. At the same time the gap has narrowed in the preference between thinking and feeling among clergymen and clergywomen, enhancing the feminine profile of clergymen and reducing the feminine profile of clergywomen.

In: Research in the Social Scientific Study of Religion, Volume 31

Abstract

Catholic teaching since the time of the Second Vatican Council has emphasised the importance of the home in the nurture of young Catholics (sometimes referred to as ecclesia domestica). Drawing on data from 2,131 young people between the ages of 8 and 14 years who completed surveys while attending Catholic churches as part of the 2016 Australian National Church Life Survey, this study employed multiple regression modelling to examine the effects of parental church attendance (treating mother and fathers separately) and home environment (in terms of family encouragement and religious engagement within the home) on frequency of child church attendance. The data demonstrated that parental church attendance is the strongest predictor. Young Catholics are more likely to attend church frequently if both mother and father come to church a lot. Moreover, after taking parental church attendance into account the home environment adds additional predictive power. Young Catholics are most likely to attend church frequently if both parents attend church and support faith within the home environment through both family encouragement and religious engagement within the home. When parental churchgoing and home environment have been taken into account, the external factors of engaging with online religious resources and of attending a Catholic school add no further positive predictive power in sustaining churchgoing among young Catholics.

In: Research in the Social Scientific Study of Religion, Volume 31
Authors: Ruth Powell and Miriam Pepper

Abstract

Australia is one of the most multicultural countries in the world, with more than a quarter of the population born overseas. In recent years there have been debates around the best approach to ethnic composition of churches in a context of migration and multiculturalism. Using data from 1,344 churches who participated in the 2016 National Church Life Survey, this paper explores the relationships between ethnic diversity (operationalised as diversity in the countries of birth of attenders) and congregational health and vitality, in terms of religiousness of the congregation, positive evaluation of worship services, bonding within the congregation, visionary leadership and innovativeness, the proportion of the congregation who are youth and young adults, the proportion who are newcomers to church, and growth in the size of the church. Ethnic diversity contributed positively to religiousness, the presence of young people and positive worship evaluation, and negatively to bonding. Analyses were also conducted separately for Anglican, Catholic, Uniting, Baptist and Lutheran churches, indicating that ethnic diversity is particularly important for understanding vitality in Catholic parishes.

In: Research in the Social Scientific Study of Religion, Volume 31

Abstract

Churches, as voluntary organizations, provide pathways for exercising civic engagement, building social capital, and even demonstrating skills for employment. Taking part in leadership roles within churches can be crucial to the development of identity and self-efficacy. Are these benefits available to all, or does ethnic background restrict the leadership positions available to congregants? Drawing on Australia’s National Church Life Survey we investigate how being an ethnic minority in a church affects the possibilities for and benefits of church involvement. We find that ethnic minority congregants are less likely to be elevated to leadership roles, except in areas that serve other ethnic minorities. We further find that these congregants are less likely to develop role-based self-efficacy as a result of volunteering. Given that this occurs in both mono-Anglo and multiethnic congregations, our findings reinforce the role of churches may take to perpetuate racial/ethnic discrimination even when they are diverse organizations.

In: Research in the Social Scientific Study of Religion, Volume 31
In: Research in the Social Scientific Study of Religion, Volume 31
Author: Ruth Powell

Abstract

The purpose of this special section of Research in the Social Scientific Study of Religion is to provide a forum for examples of current scientific research on two key demographic factors that will shape the Australian church landscape into the future. The first is the increasing ethnic and cultural diversity, both within Australian society as well as in local churches. The second is how the church navigates its ageing profile, with a focus on the spirituality and wellbeing of children aged 8 to 14 years. This collection, comprising nine quantitative studies, draws from the extensive datasets of the five-yearly Australian National Church Life Surveys. Researchers from the NCLS Research team have collaborated with colleagues in Australia, UK and the USA to advance scientific knowledge and to improve understanding for practice in the Church.

In: Research in the Social Scientific Study of Religion, Volume 31
Author: Zhengjia Ren

Abstract

This study explores the factor structure of mystical experience among 428 subjects comprised of Yi who practice Bimoism and Yi without a background in Bimoism. Explorative factor analyses results identified common facets across groups, and these facets could be formed into Stace’s three-factor structure in both groups. Comparing factor structure and ordering, the experience of transcendence for Yi who practice Bimoism is more extrovertive than for Yi who don’t practice Bimoism, whose experience is more introvertive. These results lend strong support to the thesis that the phenomenology of mystical experience reveals a common experiential core that can be discerned across religious and spiritual traditions. These data not only demonstrate that mystical experience is universal but also that sociocultural and religious tradition influence how people organize those universal experiences. Our current study also supports the commonality of Mysticism at facet level, and unique factor structure in different groups supports the claim that different groups have different ways of organizing mystical experiences in line with their own indigenous psychologies.

In: Research in the Social Scientific Study of Religion, Volume 31
In: Research in the Social Scientific Study of Religion, Volume 31
Author: Hale Inanoglu

Abstract

This paper explicates Gülen’s views on gender and compares his gender ideals with how women in the movement do and undo gender experientially. Gülen’s perspective regarding women is founded on a clear definition of fıtrat (natural disposition). Gülen stresses that women and men have their own functions and that they complement one another within an organic unity designed by God. From this perspective, Gülen constructs a hierarchically structured pious sociality that is not dependent on male/female distinction as men and women are equal in how they relate to Allah. Borrowing from Hochschild (1989) – for women in this “economy of gratitude” – it is insignificant who performs what “job” to please Allah through movement work, because it is up to Allah to decide who ends up where in the Hereafter. In her work on women’s labor in Turkey, White (2004) analyzes the construction of a social identity around, and its expression through a web of mutual support. White contends that, as women’s earnings for labor are far below the level necessary for survival, individual needs are met by the group thus creating an “economy of indebtedness”. Similarly, women are engaged in the construction of networks that give access to labor, goods, money, useful information, partners in marriage and other necessities. An “economy of gratitude” is integrated with an “economy of indebtedness” to maintain the organizational structure of the movement. While an economy of gratitude is more concerned with internal states or the intentionality of participants, an economy of indebtedness is primarily concerned with establishing relations based on obligation and reciprocity that bind individuals to each other and as a group. Through 31 formal interviews and numerous other informal interviews in an Eastern city in the US, I demonstrate the movement operates within an economy of indebtedness, thereby reproducing gender differences in terms of opportunity hoarding (Tilly 1998), unequal access, and gendered work.

In: Research in the Social Scientific Study of Religion, Volume 31
Author: Chloe K. Gott

Abstract

Drawing extensively from an oral history project taken by Justice For Magdalenes Research, which collected around eighty interviews with survivors and other key informants, this article focuses on experiences of Catholic identity in the context of a carceral abusive religious environment, specifically the Magdalene institutions in twentieth-century Ireland. It explores how survivors experienced their faith whilst in the institutions, as well as how they (re)engaged with organised religion – and their own personal faith – after leaving the laundries.

Focusing on the ways gendered religious subjectivities are produced, as well as how religious actors communicate these, I consider the various ways in which women negotiated their religious relationships within this specific carceral context. By situating an awareness of these complex religious relationships within the social and cultural context of twentieth-century Ireland, I demonstrate how this is fundamental to a better understanding of the impact of the Magdalene institutions on Irish society.

In: Research in the Social Scientific Study of Religion, Volume 31

Abstract

This study examines the psychometric properties of a modified short form of the Francis Scale of Attitude toward Christianity. While the original seven-item short form contained two negatively voiced items, this modified form contains only one negatively voiced item, in order to improve the performance of the instrument among younger participants. Data provided by 10,084 young churchgoers between the ages of 8 and 14 years support the internal consistency reliability and construct validity of the instrument across the age range and commend the instrument for further use in research among this age group.

In: Research in the Social Scientific Study of Religion, Volume 31