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  • Author or Editor: Nickolas P. Roubekas x
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Abstract

Theorizing about religion is typically seen as an achievement of modernity. Most, if not all, surveys of the field of religious studies and the history of religions trace their beginnings in the Enlightenment onward, while neglecting theories of explanation of religion from pre-modern milieus. The essay argues that attempts to explain (and not merely interpret) religion go back to the presocratic philosophers. By examining three representative theories, I argue that theorizing about religion goes back to the dawn of Greek philosophical speculation.

In: Explaining, Interpreting, and Theorizing Religion and Myth

Abstract

In the last decades, scholars of the academic study of religion have vigorously called for a critical study of the very subject matter of the field, viz. “religion.” As the argument goes, “religion” as a taxon is proven to be inadequate, problematic, and occasionally harmful as a scholarly classificatory tool. This essay offers a brief overview of the said problematization by focusing on some recent works by scholars primarily working within the Anglophone world – whence most such representatives come from. The essay identifies two pivots in such argumentations and debates, namely, the historicization and the deconstruction of “religion” – with some scholars calling for a possible reconstruction of the term.

In: Transformation of Religion

Abstract

Within a general attempt to reconceptualise theology and its position in the modern university, the paper argues that the cognitive science of religion offers a great opportunity to modern theology to engage into interdisciplinary research that could be proven especially profitable to its future. By drawing examples from contemporary Greece and a religious ritual that is disputed by the official Christian Orthodox Church as well as from historical theology and the Arian controversy in the fourth century CE, I argue that Justin Barrett’s cognitive theory of religion, known as ‘Theological Correctness’, can provide to theology a useful tool in understanding the religious beliefs of everyday believers. Without discounting other methodologies, theories, and interpretations, this paper argues that there is space for cognitive theories within theological research that could only benefit theology and its future in the twenty-first century.

In: Religion and Theology

Abstract

Euhemerus of Messene is one of the most popular ancient theorists of religion. In his now lost work Sacred Inscription he formulated a theory of religion by arguing that the Olympian gods were nothing more than prominent kings that were deified due to their benefactions to mankind. On the other hand, true divinity was to be found in the natural phenomena. However, this theory – known as euhemerism – has been (ab)used in many ways due to the different interpretative agendas of various authors and critics. In this paper I argue that euhemerism needs a new interpretation, a redescription, based primarily on a rereading of the text. In addition, by showing the different usages of the text by Euhemerus’s contemporaries and the early Christian writers, I argue that the connection of his theory with the practice of deification of kings in the Graeco-Roman world should be dismissed and reexamined by taking into account contemporary responses to his work that show that his theory was not meant as a justification for the deification of the Graeco-Roman kings.

In: Religion and Theology

Abstract

This is an introduction to the commissioned papers of the review panel of William Paden’s New Patterns for Comparative Religion: Passages to an Evolutionary Perspective (2016).

In: Method & Theory in the Study of Religion

Abstract

‘Religion’ is often, if not always, deemed a rather problematic category by critical theorists, who urge scholars to be more attentive to the genealogy and history of the category. As part of the review symposium of Theory in a Time of Excess (2016), this review essay argues that ‘theory’ itself could be deemed problematic if we wish to be consistent in adopting such a critical stance, which can lead to several dead-ends when excluding other theoretical options and possibilities.

In: Method & Theory in the Study of Religion
In: Religion and Theology
In: Explaining, Interpreting, and Theorizing Religion and Myth
In: Explaining, Interpreting, and Theorizing Religion and Myth