Vol 31 No. 1 (2012)


University of Toronto
This paper explores the role of critique in Religious Studies and its relationship to the secular. In particular, we look at how critique is implicated in the study of religion through the work of Bruce Lincoln, Willi Braun, Saba Mahmood, Stathis Gourgouris, Michel Foucault, and Jacques Derrida. While there are multiple ways to practice and conceptualize critique, this paper argues that students of religion need to take more seriously Foucault's call for a practice that is more than critique.
Regent University
This article sketches a taxonomy of methodological approaches operative in the study of religion. A fairly recent proposal by anthropologist André Droogers who suggests these are not mutually exclusive will also be presented. Opportunities and challenges opened up by Droogers’ model will be explored for its relevance across the broad spectrum that constitutes the contemporary scholarly study of religion, including theological studies.
University of South Carolina
Jack Turner (PhD, Univeristy of Wales, 2011) teaches in the Religious Studies Department at the University of South Carolina.
Though Western Rite Orthodox liturgies have been modified to remove elements of the rite which are grossly offensive to Orthodox theology, such as striking the filioque from the creed, and to make Orthodox theology more pronounced, such as adding a descending Spirit epiclesis, the majority of the liturgical texts remain unedited. However, this does allow certain unintended and longstanding elements to remain in the liturgy, even though they are directly contrary to the spirit of Orthodox teaching on the sacraments. Two obvious problems, related to one another, are the inclusion of the greater elevation, along with the ringing of bells, when the priest pronounces the verba during the Eucharistic prayer, and the inclusion of a liturgy for adoring the sacrament in Western Rite service books. This article argues that, in light of the specific history surrounding the elevation at the verba and the Orthodox custom regarding homage to the Eucharistic gifts, the retention of both is anomalous and should be eliminated for the sake of theological clarity.
Formerly with Birkbeck, University of London. Independent Scholar
This article offers an analysis of the work of the Punjabi Sufi poet, Bulleh Shah (1680–1758) and will attempt to show how one form of the transcendence his verse depicts is a sensible transcendence.
University of Cape Coast, Ghana
Unlike several decades after the World War II, there is now a growing recognition of the importance of religion for designing development programmes and projects. However, the involvement of religions of the indigenous peoples is not given the desired attention. This article, therefore, aims at presenting African traditional religion’s voice in this important discourse by using the traditional Akan people of Ghana as a case study. Despite its suffering from stereotyping, African traditional religion continues to play a critical role in the life of the traditional African. The term “Development” is not easy to define, the divergent theories on it point to this fact. The traditional Akan people’s understanding of development, however, is derived from their religious worldview. The institution of chieftaincy, gerontocracy, institution of taboos, kinship ties and their attitude towards nature are the main development mechanisms among the Akan. Despite the threats these mechanisms are undergoing today, the potential of these indigenous mechanisms for development is not in doubt, hence the need for further research.
Independent Scholar
This paper offers an analysis of popular contemporary claims that Origen proclaimed a theory of reincarnation. Establishing the difference, often based on linguistic subtleties, between a Platonic idea of the pre-existence of the soul and a generic definition of reincarnation as often conceived by mainstream parapsychology and Hindu beliefs, I argue that Origen’s conception of the self—being anchored in a clearly Biblical conception—is evidently distinct from the idea that an individual soul survives death and literally transmigrates into a new psycho-physical complex. When we pry into Origen’s actual writings on this topic, we can only conclude that he did not believe in reincarnation as such. The rejection of Origen’s doctrine on the soul, therefore, does not reflect an accurate reading of his teachings.