Classical polytheism or “paganism” presented a challenge to the Philhellenes of the Enlightenment, who found it difficult to accept that the greatest minds of antiquity had been taken in by (vide Fontenelle) “a heap of chimeras, delusions, and absurdities.” Rejecting the claim that “paganism” was a deformation of the “natural religion” of the early Hebrew patriarchs, several Enlightenment thinkers developed theories of classical polytheism, presenting it as the apotheosis of the great kings and heroes of the first ages of man, a system of allegorical symbols that conveyed timeless truths, and the effort of a prescientific mentality to understand the hidden forces of nature. Although divergent in their interpretations of “paganism,” these theories converged by separating its origins from Judeo-Christian traditions and presenting religion as an essentially human creation. Thus, Enlightenment theories of classical mythology contributed to the emergence of the more cosmopolitan and tolerant spirit that characterized the age.
How do we take indigenous animism seriously in the sense proposed by Viveiros de Castro? In this article, I pose this challenge to all the major theories of animism, stretching from Tylor and Durkheim, over Lévi-Strauss to Ingold. I then go on to draw a comparison between Žižek's depiction of the cynical milieu of advanced capitalism in which ideology as “false consciousness” has lost force and the Siberian Yukaghirs for whom ridiculing the spirits is integral to their game of hunting. Both know that, in their activity, they are following an illusion, but still they go along with it; both are ironically self-conscious about not taking the ruling ethos at face value. This makes me suggest an alternative: perhaps it is time for anthropology not to take indigenous animism too seriously.
Ashgate Studies in Pilgrimage
Pilgrimage Studies Database
Centre for Religion, Conflict and the Public Domain
XXI World Congress of the International Association for the History of Religions
Mariske Westendorp, Bruno Reinhardt, Reinaldo L. Román, Jon Bialecki, Alexander Agadjanian, Karen Lauterbach, Juan Javier Rivera Andía, Kate Yanina DeConinck, Jack Hunter, Ioannis Kyriakakis, Magdalena Crăciun, Roger Canals, Cristina Rocha, Khyati Tripathi, Dafne Accoroni, and George Wu Bayuga
City . Bloomington : Indiana University Press . KRIPAL, Jeffrey J., Secret Body: Erotic and Esoteric Currents in the History of Religions , 448 pp., appendix, notes, index. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2017. Paperback, $35.00. ISBN
Elizabeth C. Macknight
Historical Reflections/Réflexions historiques is dedicated to publishing work across all fields of intellectual-cultural history and the history of religion and mentalities. The five articles brought together in this issue are by historians who specialize in the modern era; their contributions featured here extend in chronological range from the sixteenth century to the twenty-first century. These writings all demonstrate the journal’s longstanding interest in the historical processes by which new ideas are generated, transmitted and received in societies.
Giuliana Chamedes and Elizabeth A. Foster
Scholarly attention to decolonization in the French Empire and beyond has largely focused on the political transitions from colonies to nation-states. This introduction, and the essays in this special issue, present new ways of looking at decolonization by examining how religious communities and institutions imagined and experienced the end of French Empire. This approach adds valuable perspectives obscured by historiographical emphasis on French republican secularism and on the workings of the colonial state. Bringing together histories of religion and decolonization sheds new light on the late colonial period and the early successor states of the French empire. It also points to the importance of international institutions and transnational religious communities in the transitions at the end of empire.
As a religious person, I believe that the evolution of species is the greatest sacred drama of all time. It is a purposeful process. There is a One within and behind the great diversity of life that seeks to be discovered, that has aimed all along, however imperfectly and stumblingly, to bring about the emergence of a mind that can know it, articulate it, and strive toward the moral greatness that will fulfil its purpose. I prefer to think of that One in immanent terms, a Being or lifeforce that dwells within the universe and resides in all its forms, rather than a Creator from beyond who forms a world that is 'other' and separate from its own Self. Within the few millennia that we call human history, the evolutionary process continues unabated, as ideas, images, and conceptions of the gods or God or the life-force grow and change with the times. This evolutionary approach to the history of religion will form the background for my treatment here of Jewish views on the subject of God, which I seek to address in the combined roles of scholar/historian and contemporary believer/struggler/theologian.
(26 October 1945–18 June 2020)
of religion. Fellow lecturers grew to depend on Ada, who was totally devoted to the Department and worked ceaselessly to ensure that it flourished. Countless students came under her supervision, and to each and every one she extended a helping hand
Girls and Women Forge New Paths
have been wary of the patriarchal and colonizing history of religions, and so in some ways, the ideological critique I cite as lacking in this study has, largely, already been done. As many women continue to accept and endorse ideological premises
Or, On the Possibility of a Christian Reading of the Psalms
texts as believing people. So there has to be more than a look at the nature of the texts from the point of view of a history of religion. There must be a form of identification with these texts, an entry into them. At the same time, it is imperative