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
Unit S3, Kelham House
3 Lancaster Street
Sheffield, S3 8AF

Recent Blog Entries


Interpellation in The Splendid Vision

by Adam Miller * This post originally appeared on the author’s blog. The French marxist Louis Althusser theorized interpellation as “the process by which ideology addresses the individual.” Or, put differently, interpellation is the way a dominant ideology constructs the human subject … Continue reading
Posted: 2015-01-28More...

Offerings for the Loch Ness Monster—a Sign of Buddhism’s Arrival in the West

By Joseph P. Laycock and Natasha L. Mikles * This post now appears in expanded form in the Bulletin for the Study of Religion journal. While discussing construction of the upcoming Karma Kagyu Tibetan Buddhist practice center near Loch Ness, … Continue reading
Posted: 2015-01-26More...

Why Paris Matters but Peshawar Does not: Moderate Muslims and the Invention of Disaster

by Sher Afgan Tareen On December 16th, nine members of the Pakistan Tehreek-e- Taliban killed one hundred and thirty-two students attending Army Public School at Peshawar, wiping out the entire 9th grade except one boy who overslept and fortuitously skipped … Continue reading
Posted: 2015-01-23More...

Conference on Religion and Culture: Syracuse University, March 28, 2015, Syracuse, NY

Second Undergraduate Conference on Religion and Culture  Syracuse University | March 28, 2015 | Syracuse, NY The Department of Religion at Syracuse University will host its second annual “Undergraduate Conference on Religion and Culture” on Saturday, March 28, 2015. The … Continue reading
Posted: 2015-01-22More...

Call for Papers: An Interdisciplinary Conference at UC, Santa Barbara, April 30-May 2, 2015

The UCSB Department of Religious Studies, with support from the Cordano Endowment in Catholic Studies, will host a conference on Freedom of (and from) Religion:  Debates Over the Accommodation of Religion in the Public Sphere  April 30, 2015 to Saturday … Continue reading
Posted: 2015-01-21More...

Now That’s Islamophobia (Charlie Hebdo, Religion & Satire)

by Zachery Braiterman * This post initially appeared on the author’s blog. Clearly uncomfortable with the comics run by Charlie Hebdo depicting the Prophet, ALZ approached me at synagogue yesterday and asked me what I thought about them. He asked … Continue reading
Posted: 2015-01-19More...

Teaching Theory in the Introductory Classroom, Part 4

This is part of an ongoing series of posts in a collaborative effort between the Practicum: Critical Theory, Religion, and Pedagogy and the Bulletin for the Study of Religion blogs. On November 23, 2014, approximately 20 scholars of religion, from grad students to more … Continue reading
Posted: 2015-01-16More...

Reza Aslan’s Theory of Religion and Politics

by Simon Frankel Pratt * This post original appeared on the author’s blog. As talking heads in the media once again make problematic, ultra-general claims about Islam’s supposed essential bellicosity, or attribute to Islamic texts and practice the power to make … Continue reading
Posted: 2015-01-14More...

Religion as a cognitively natural universal: “religion” and “science” aren’t that interesting

by Thomas J. Coleman III Millions of people in the world today, just as they have in the past, typically believe in something that is, or can be, considered supernatural. From an emic perspective, gods, ghosts, devils, demons and alluring … Continue reading
Posted: 2015-01-12More...

Charlie Hebdo, “Free Speech,” and Critique

by Matt Sheedy It should go without saying that the massacre of journalists and police officers in Paris this past Wednesday is abhorrent, that the perpetrators should be brought to justice, and that measures should be taken to reduce the … Continue reading
Posted: 2015-01-09More...

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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