Latest Issue: Vol 43, No 4 (2014): Bulletin for the Study of Religion RSS2 logo

Bulletin for the Study of Religion

The Bulletin began life 39 years ago as the CSSR Bulletin when it was published by the Council of Societies for the Study of Religion. In 2009 the Council disbanded and the journal moved to Equinox

Historically the journal has published articles that address religion in general, the history of the field of religious studies, method and theory in the study of religion, and pedagogical practices. From 2010 (volume 39), the Bulletin is published in print and, for the first time, online, with a print frequency of 4 issues per volume. The online edition includes supplemental content not appearing in the print version including interviews, book excerpts, blogs, and profiles of key thinkers in the study of religion. The new Bulletin also includes open access features and offers enhanced search and access functions across the full range of Equinox books and journals in religious studies, biblical studies, ethics and theology.

Publication Frequency (Print Edition): Feb, April, September and November
ISSN: 2041-1863 (Print)
ISSN: 2041-1871 (Online)

Editorial Address:
Philip Tite
c/o Equinox Publishing Ltd
Office 415, The Workstation
15 Paternoster Row
Sheffield, S1 2BX

Recent Blog Entries


World Religions, American Religions, the Object of Study, and an Ode to Bruce Lincoln

by Charles McCrary This post originally appeared, in a slightly different version, at the group blog Religion in American History. This year I’ve been teaching “world religions” for the first time. I knew I would be required to do it … Continue reading
Posted: 2015-02-27More...

Call for papers: Special Issue of Secularism & Nonreligion: Intersectionality and Power

Call for papers: Special Issue of Secularism & Nonreligion: Intersectionality and Power Guest Editors: Penny Edgell, Evan Stewart, and Jacqui Frost, University of Minnesota The past 30 years has seen a renewed interest in scholarship on secularism and non-religion, fostered … Continue reading
Posted: 2015-02-25More...

“A Reluctance to Put the Religious Label”

by Russell McCutcheon Note: This post originally appeared on the Studying Religion in Culture blog at the University of Alabama. Did you hear about the White House summit this past week? It was in the news a fair bit and … Continue reading
Posted: 2015-02-23More...

Call for Papers: Secularism and Secularity Group, the AAR and SBL Meeting in Atlanta, GA, November 21-24

Secularism and Secularity Group CFP Deadline: Monday, March 2nd, 2015, 5:00PM EST, via Statement of Purpose:  This Group seeks to explore a set of questions associated with secularism, secularity, and secularization — questions that pertain to the shifting relationship … Continue reading
Posted: 2015-02-20More...

Call for Papers: Religion, Affect and Emotion Group, The AAR and SBL Meeting Atlanta, Georgia November 21-24

The Religion, Affect and Emotion Group 2015 Call for Papers Deadline: Monday, March 2 2015, 5:00 PM EST, through Statement of Purpose:  This Group provides space for theoretically-informed discussion of the relationship between religion, affect, and emotion. The Group … Continue reading
Posted: 2015-02-19More...

Better get to know the AAR’s Religion, Affect and Emotion group!

Ipsita Chatterjea: Thank you for taking the time to talk to the Bulletin for the Study of Religion Blog about your group and its work! What is Religion, Affect and Emotion’s origin tale? Donovan Schaefer for Religion, Affect and Emotion … Continue reading
Posted: 2015-02-18More...

Call for Papers: Cultural History of the Study of Religion Group, The AAR and SBL Meeting Atlanta, Georgia November 21-24

Cultural History of the Study of Religion Group CFP Deadline: Monday, March 2 2015, 5:00 PM EST, through: “ Statement of Purpose: This group is devoted to historical inquiry into the social and cultural contexts of the study of religion and … Continue reading
Posted: 2015-02-17More...

Critics or Caretakers? It’s All in the Mapping

By Philip L. Tite I recently watched a podcast produced by the Religious Studies Project on the topic of whether a scholar should be a critic or a caretaker of religious traditions. The roundtable was comprised of several notable UK … Continue reading
Posted: 2015-02-16More...

Not All Atheists

by Matt Sheedy In the wake of this past Tuesday’s tragic murders of Yusor Mohammad, Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, and Deah Shaddy Barakat, in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, much has been made of Craig Steven Hicks’ (the accused) motivation, particularly his … Continue reading
Posted: 2015-02-13More...

Ritual Studies Group Call for Papers: The AAR and SBL Meeting Atlanta, Georgia November 21-24

Ritual Studies Group Call for Papers Deadline: Monday, March 2 2015, 5:00 PM EST, through: Statement of Purpose: This Group provides a unique venue for the interdisciplinary exploration of ritual — broadly understood to include rites, ceremonies, religious and secular … Continue reading
Posted: 2015-02-12More...

Recent Articles


Rethinking Contested Ground: The Study of Islam in/and the Study of Religions

This short introduction provides some context and an overview of the "Hughes-Safi dispute" along with a brief summary of the essays included in this special feature issue.
Posted: 2014-10-27More...

Atheism and the Invention of Religion: Notes on History and Anachronism

A characteristic feature of the so-called "new atheism" is that it opposes itself not simply to Christianity, or even to theism, but to religion. One of its central contentions -- meant to deflate particularistic claims to uniqueness -- is that religion admits of a unified theory: though Christianity differs from Islam, say, both -- and indeed all tokens of the type -- are explicable in terms of the same basic mechanisms. Yet, this understanding of religion as a transcultural and transhistorical universal is a distinctively modern, Western one. This paper seeks to locate the emergence of the contemporary concept of “religion” partly in European philosophical and theological debates over the threat to Christianity perceived to be posed by secularization. Developing a line of thought advanced by Tomoko Masuzawa, I argue that the invention of “religion” (as a genus) and the “world religions” (as its species) in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, like the creation of deism in the seventeenth and eighteenth, served apologetic goals but also exposed the resulting formations to new forms of criticism. Whereas atheism is often said to be “negative,” in that it can be defined only by reference to what it rejects (and thus does not constitute a unitary viewpoint), I argue that “atheism” and “religion” are dialectically co-constituted categories, and that lines of influence continue to push in both directions. The distinction between “religion” and its other(s), I conclude, is better understood as emerging out of, rather than as the underlying cause of, ongoing debates about atheism.
Posted: 2014-10-21More...

Is the Grass Greener? A View from Biblical Studies

This response views the Safi-Hughes debate on the "historical Muhammad" from the perspective of debates in biblical studies, particularly the quest for the historical Jesus. The main question raised is this: can the "quest for the historical Muhammad" or the "historical Jesus" ever be freed from theological concerns?
Posted: 2014-10-17More...

Is Nessie a Naga?: Buddhism in the West and Emerging Strategies of Importation

In 2014 Lama Gelongma Zangmo of Scotland sparked curiosity when she suggested that the Loch Ness monster or “Nessie” is actually a naga––a fantastic creature from Buddhist mythology. Visitors to her Tibetan practice center on the shores of the Loch will be able to leave offerings to Nessie. Without exaggerating the significance of these offerings within the larger context of Zangmo’s practice, this article suggests that efforts to ritually incorporate Nessie into a Buddhist cosmology is an index of broader changes in Buddhism’s arrival to the West. First, Zangmo’s open discussion of cosmology, ritual, and supernatural beings is a marked distinction from “Protestantized” Western Buddhism, which has historically presented Buddhism as a rational and philosophical alternative to Christianity. This suggests that Buddhists in the West have become less concerned with conforming to Protestant notions of “proper” religion. Second, Zangmo’s praxis is significant to broader patterns of how Asian religions adapt to Western topography. Whereas Asian immigrants have sometimes re-imagined Asian sacred sites in Western countries, Zangmo was taken the opposite strategy of “Buddhicizing” a local monster. This suggests that similar transformative moves can be expected as a globalized world continues to transplant religious traditions from one continent to another.
Posted: 2014-10-13More...

Thoughts on Dissecting an Octopus: Aaron Hughes, Marshall Hodgson and Navigating the Normative /Descriptive Divide in the Study of Islam

Posted: 2014-10-06More...

Most Viewed Articles


Current Trends in the Study of Early Christian Martyrdom

This paper investigate recent scholarship on early Christian martyrdom. It discusses the shift away from the study of the origins of martyrdom to an interest in martyrdom and the body, Christian identity formation, and martyrdom and orthodoxy. It further discusses the need for a reappraisal of the evidence for early Christian martyrdom and the renewed attention that questions of dating, authorship, and provenance have received.
Posted: 2012-08-12More...

Reinventing Religious Studies: An Interview with Scott Elliott

I interviewed Scott S. Elliott in December 2013, where we discussed his recent book (as editor) Reinventing Religious Studies: Key Writings in the History of a Discipline (Acumen 2013). Our conversation ranged from the history of the Council of Societies for the Study of Religion to how articles appearing in its journal, the CSSR Bulletin, over some 40-odd years have been at the leading edge of advancing debates in the study of religion, from problems in theory and method and the definition of religion, to issues of identity politics and the study of Islam.
Posted: 2014-03-05More...

Religion Snapshots: On the Uses of “Data”

Religion Snapshots is a new feature with the Bulletin for the Study of Religion blog, where a number of contributors are asked to briefly comment on popular news items or pressing theoretical issues in the field, especially those topics relating to definitions, classification and method and theory in the study of religion more generally. Below is one such roundtable discussion, focusing on the problematic notion of “data” in the study of religion. The editors of the Bulletin encourage readers to follow Religion Snapshots on our blog (and, of course, we welcome responses to the topics discussed by other scholars).
Posted: 2014-01-10More...

Queer Pedagogy and/in Religious Studies

An Introduction to the Special Issue of the Bulletin. The essays emerged out of a panel discussion co-sponsored by the “Queer Theory and LGBT Studies Consultation” and the “Teaching Religion Section” at the 2009 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Religion. Contributors were invited to produce reflections on teaching religion queerly, teaching religion as a queer thing, subverting conventional definitions of (the) discipline, and teaching religion outside of religious studies departments/programs, among other possible topics.
Posted: 2010-08-13More...

Romania’s Saving Angels: ”New Men”, Orthodoxy and Blood Mysticism in the Legionary Movement

In Romania, a Christian, ultranationalistic movement known as The Legionary Movement has before and after the Communist period called for a national, spritual revolution. Perceiving themselves as front fighters protected by the Archangel, Legionaries endeavour to purify the nation so that it can live in its God-given fatherland. In order to assure national resurrection, Legionaries want to create a “New Man”, understood as a new male. This ideal combines the qualities of a Christian martyr, a working hero, a monk and a militant and as such both complex and ambiguous. In practice, Legionaries have a lot in common with other European “boot boys”. Based on field studies, this article discusses the role of men in this movement: their role models, male bonding, rituals and myths, as well as their concepts of family, brotherhood and blood relations, all with reference to a particular ethnonationalistic, christocentric worldview.
Posted: 2012-03-15More...



Letter from the President, Council of Societies for the Study of Religion

Russell T. McCutcheon' s announcement that appeared in the September 2009 issue of the CSSR Bulletin  
Posted: 2009-10-07 More...
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