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Abstract

Despite the abundance of lore about Joachim Wach's lifelong passion for literature, music, and other arts, the pertinence of his aesthetic reflections to his formation as historian of religions is often ignored or under-appreciated. Yet his involvement with the Kreis surrounding the poet Stefan George was perhaps one of the chief early factors that led Wach to liken the study of the history of religions to contemplation of literature and the arts. It is even possible that ideas of the literary historian Friedrich Gundolf about the relationship between the artist and the artist's work helped stimulate Wach's early thinking about the relationship between religious experience and the theoretical, practical, and institutional expressions of that experience. Indeed, throughout his own scholarly writings Wach displays an irrepressible tendency toward combining religionswissenschaflich theorizing with aesthetic reflection, and toward encompassing literary, musical, and other artistic examples within the scope of data to be considered by scholars of religion. This article analyzes the development of that tendency in Wach's scholarship, paying special attention finally to his notion of the modern Western "emancipation of art" from religious influence. This notion, while reflecting a general optimism that characterizes his view of the diversifying, developmental course of numerous other religious and cultural phenomena over time, may ultimately be too strong or reductive for describing what has actually occurred over the past several centuries in the relation between artistic and religious phenomena.

In: Numen
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Religion and literature is the study of interrelationships between religious or theological traditions and literary traditions, both oral and written, with special attention to religious or theological underpinnings of, influences upon, and reflections in, individual “texts” (oral and written) or authors’ oeuvres. Religion and Literature: History and Method by Eric Ziolkowski considers the origins and history of, and methods employed in, that scholarly enterprise, focusing on the dual construals of “literature” in religious studies (as a body of sacred writings and as writing valued for artistic merit); the problematics of defining “religion”; the transformation of theology and literature as a “field” (pioneered by Nathan A. Scott Jr. et al.) to religion and literature; the affiliated fields of myth criticism, and of biblical reception; and the institutionalization, globalization, and future of the study of religion and literature.
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Abstract

This essay focuses on several classic analogies from different societies that account for religious pluralism. The earliest is the Ṛgvedic notion of the “One” to whom “sages give many a title.” The next is the parable of the elephant and blind men, putatively of South Asian origins. The third analogy is of the hand with multiple fingers, used by the medieval Mongol Khan, Möngke. The fourth is the parable of the three rings, most famously found in Boccaccio and Lessing. This essay considers these four analogies comparatively in the religio-historical contexts in which they emerged, and demonstrates that the analogies reveal much about the development of critical reflection on religion.

In: Explaining, Interpreting, and Theorizing Religion and Myth
Series Editors: and
The book series Studies in Religion and the Arts promotes the development of discourses for exploring the religious dimensions of the verbal, visual and performing arts. The goal of the series is to form an international and multi-disciplinary forum for the scholarly discussion on the expression of religious sentiments in art.

The series has published an average of one volume per year over the last 5 years.
Author:

Abstract

Religion and literature is the study of interrelationships between religious or theological traditions and literary traditions, both oral and written, with special attention to religious or theological underpinnings of, influences upon, and reflections in, individual “texts” (oral and written) or authors’ oeuvres. This overview considers the origins and history of, and methods employed in, that scholarly enterprise, focusing upon the dual construals of “literature” in religious studies (as a body of sacred writings and as writing valued for artistic merit); the problematics of defining “religion”; the transformation of theology and literature as a “field” (pioneered by Nathan A. Scott Jr. et al.) to religion and literature; the affiliated fields of myth criticism, and of biblical reception; and the institutionalization, globalization, and future of the study of religion and literature.

In: Brill Research Perspectives in Religion and the Arts
Author:

Abstract

Religion and literature is the study of interrelationships between religious or theological traditions and literary traditions, both oral and written, with special attention to religious or theological underpinnings of, influences upon, and reflections in, individual “texts” (oral and written) or authors’ oeuvres. This overview considers the origins and history of, and methods employed in, that scholarly enterprise, focusing upon the dual construals of “literature” in religious studies (as a body of sacred writings and as writing valued for artistic merit); the problematics of defining “religion”; the transformation of theology and literature as a “field” (pioneered by Nathan A. Scott Jr. et al.) to religion and literature; the affiliated fields of myth criticism, and of biblical reception; and the institutionalization, globalization, and future of the study of religion and literature.

In: Religion and Literature: History and Method