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Present-Day Spiritualities

Contrasts and Overlaps


Edited by Elisabeth Hense, Frans P.M. Jespers and Peter J.A. Nissen

Many forms of present-day Western spirituality contribute to people’s well-being, whereas others have raised criticism. The study of these different forms is, however, complicated by their continuously diverging practices and ideas. By bringing to bear a multidisciplinary approach, the ten specialists of this volume are able to analyze diverse new instances of spirituality, e.g. in religious contexts (Buddhism, Christianity), popular use, organizations and enterprises, (alternative) health service, and works of art. Most contributions also discuss methods and theories. In their editorial chapters, Elisabeth Hense, Frans Jespers and Peter Nissen show the remarkable overlaps in the approaches, definitions and evaluations of the contributions in this volume and provide a theoretical framework. Both the fresh analyses and the theoretical reflections in this volume point the way to new approaches in this field of study.

Contributors include: Jerry Biberman, Mark Elliott, Miguel Farias, Johan Goud, Paul Heelas, Elisabeth Hense, Frans Jespers, Hubert Knoblauch, Peter Nissen, Paul van der Velde


Edited by Chibueze C. Udeani, Friedrich Reiterer and Klaus Zapotoczky

Religion is today mainly present in the consciousness of people through keywords like fundamentalism, global conflict or violence. But as what is religion understood and how does it affect the society are questions that need to be examined separately. The contributions in this volume will examine the sub-questions that pose themselves in this light: 1) What influence does religion exercise on our social life forms? 2) What are the religious societal prerequisites? And how is visible religion affected by these? 3) How do these questions present themselves both externally and internally in the contemporary perception?

Bretislav Horyna

CZECH RELIGIOUS STUDIES: PAST, PRESENT, FUTURE' BRETISLAV HORYNA The Czech academic study of religions has a rich, eventful and sometimes para- doxical history. To be sure, it is a history that is difficult for some readers to imagine since they reside in a complex but nevertheless transparent

Aaron Hughes

© Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2003 Method & Theory in the Study of Religion 15, 148-168 PRESENTING THE PAST: THE GENRE OF COMMENTARY IN THEORETICAL PERSPECTIVE A aron H ughes This article provides a theoretical discussion of the genre of commentary writing. Rather than examining the role of

This product gives access to both Religion Past and Present Online and Religion in Geschichte und Gegenwart Online.

Religion in Geschichte und Gegenwart4 Online (RGG4O) is the online version of the 4th edition of the definitive encyclopedia of religion worldwide: the peerless Religion in Geschichte und Gegenwart4 (RGG4) (Mohr Siebeck, 1998-2007).

Religion Past and Present Online is the online version of the updated English translation of the 4th edition of the definitive encyclopedia of religion worldwide: the peerless Religion in Geschichte und Gegenwart (RGG).

Wilmer Estrada-Carrasquillo

the gospel has a universal language, it is translatable to language of the people and to their present realities. From the beginning of the biblical account to the telos of God’s redeeming drama, God does not only speak in a language that people can understand but also into their realities. To


Etienne de Villiers

This essay provides a sketch of the public role churches play in present democratic South Africa. The strong effect the transition to a democratic dispensation has had on the public role of churches and the dominant transformation approach on which the public role of many of them was based in the apartheid era is discussed first. An attempt is then made to determine the opportunity churches have to play a public role in the present South Africa. The opportunity still there to play a constructive public role is, however, not optimally utilised by all churches. Some of the reasons for this are discussed. In conclusion, a number of challenges the South African churches face regarding their public role in present South Africa are indicated.


Sven Bretfeld

against its enemies. Leading figures of early Sinhalatva such as Anagārika Dharmapāla (1864–1933) had already used the memory of the ancient Buddhist kings and refashioned their struggles against foreign (usually Tamil) invaders as historical parallels to the present situation; a strategy that proved

Halina Grzymala-Moszczynska and Henryk Hoffmann

THE SCIENCE OF RELIGION IN POLAND: PAST AND PRESENT HALINA GRZYMALA-MOSZCZYNSKA HENRYK HOFFMANN 1. Introduction An analysis of the development of the science of religion in Poland distinguishes between two different periods in its history. The first covers the years 1873 to 1973, while the