DepositDerrida and the Danger of Religion

This paper argues that Jacques Derrida provides a compelling rebuttal to a secularism that seeks to exclude religion from the public sphere. Political theorists such as Mark Lilla claim that religion is a source of violence, and so they conclude that religion and politics should be strictly separated. In my reading, Derrida’s work entails that a secularism of this kind is both impossible (because religion remains influential in the wake of secularization) and unnecessary (because religious traditions are diverse and multivalent). Some attempt to contain the disruptive force of religion by excluding it from the public sphere, but Derrida argues that one may endure instability for the sake of something more important than safety. Although Derrida admits that religion is dangerous, he demonstrates that it is nevertheless an indispensable resource for political reflection.

DepositThe Classification of Religions: A domain-analytic examination of the history and epistemology of the classification of religions within the Religious Studies discipline

While religion is a part of every culture and is entangled in many facets of the lives of those who are religious, the scientific study of religion and the Religious Studies discipline are fairly new, only developing in the mid to late nineteenth century. One of the contributions that the scientific study of religions has made is the development of different approaches for classifying religions. As a multidisciplinary field, Religious Studies and the classification of religions has been influenced by philosophy, psychology, history, sociology and anthropology. This study, using the domain-analytic paradigm, traces the development of the Religious Studies discipline and the classification of religions, analyzes the epistemological assumptions behind the prominent approaches used to classify religions and briefly examines their relation to the Library of Congress, Dewey Decimal and Universal Decimal classifications.

DepositEnding the French Wars of Religion

In “Ending the French Wars of Religion,” Allan A. Tulchin considers why these sixteenth-century sectarian wars—eight of them—recurred over half a century and why they finally ended when they did. The existing literature emphasizes that the French state proved too weak to enforce order, and that each side believed itself favored by God, making them reluctant to compromise and willing to use extreme violence, thus embittering the conflict. Using the political science literature on war termination to gain insight into these recurring wars, Tulchin proposes instead that there was a “learning curve” that eventually made peace possible. After Catholics failed to destroy the Protestant movement in the Saint Bartholomew’s Day Massacre of 1572, they grudgingly accepted the Peace of Bergerac (1577). War broke out again seven years later, however, when Henri of Navarre, the leader of the Protestants, became heir apparent. Peace finally held after the Edict of Nantes (1598), not only because it was enforced by a decisive military victory, but because Henri IV’s previous experience as leader of an insurgent party led him to adopt a more open leadership style.

DepositMaurice and religion – from 1912 to 2012

The present paper aims at a presentation of the issue of religion in ‘Maurice’ – both in the text of the novel and in its readings. Religion is one of the main forces which influence the social and personal life presented in E. M. Forster’s ‘Maurice’. Its place is quite naturally second to the influence of the law, and yet it is religious upbringing and a vision of morality rooted in religious teaching that largely shape the way its characters perceive themselves and their own behaviour, guide them in their choices. The first part of the paper will concentrate on the text itself – offering a close reading of those parts of the text where religion/religions plays a part, stressing their importance in the structure of the novel. The aim is to retrace the influence of religion (predominantly Christianity but also ancient Greek religion) on the main characters’ psychological development and behaviour. The issue will be discussed in the context of Forster’s personal attitude towards organised religion. The second part will concentrate on various readings of the issue – on the one hand seeking critics’ reactions. On the other hand, however, in attempt to reconstruct the attitudes of modern readers coming from various religious background to the novel in the context of the attitudes of modern religions. At least in part the papers attempts to answer the following question: to what extent has ‘Maurice’ dated in this particular respect and to what extent it remains a contemporary work for many of its 21st century homosexual readers describing dilemmas which they face in their lives.

DepositReconsidering mediatization of religion: Islamic televangelism in India

This article proposes a rethinking of religion and mediatization by differentiating between two intersections of religion and media, public religion and religious mediation. I argue that whenever religious change that can be usefully described as mediatization occurs it can best be captured as an effect resulting from the interaction of these two dimensions. Extending the debate on religion and mediatization beyond Christian North Atlantic contexts, I compare two instances of Islamic televangelism in India in order to illustrate the diversity of configurations of public religion and religious mediation even within the same regional setting and religious tradition. My analysis greatly complicates an assessment of mediatization as the subsumption of religion under an extraneous media apparatus, pointing at the highly uneven nature of media-related religious transformation and the ongoing domestication of contemporary media practices into established religious paradigms.