Religion: Beyond a Concept

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Hent de Vries
Fordham Univ Press, Aug 25, 2009 - Philosophy - 1000 pages
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What do we talk about when we talk about religion? Is it an array of empirical facts about historical human civilizations? Or is religion what is in essence unpredictable-perhaps the very emergence of the new? In what ways are the legacies of religion-its powers, words, things, and gestures-reconfiguring themselves as the elementary forms of life in the twenty-first century?Given the Latin roots of the word religion and its historical Christian uses, what sense, if any, does it make to talk about religionin other traditions? Where might we look for common elements that would enable us to do so? Has religion as an overarching concept lost all its currency, or does it ineluctably return-sometimes in unexpected ways-the moment we attempt to do without it? This book explores the difficulties and double binds that arise when we ask What is religion? Offering a marvelously rich and diverse array of perspectives, it begins the task of rethinking religionand religious studiesin a contemporary world. Opening essays on the question What is religion?are followed by clusters exploring the relationships among religion, theology, and philosophy and the links between religion, politics, and law. Pedagogy is the focus of the following section. Religion is then examined in particular contexts, from classical times to the present Pentacostal revival, leading into an especially rich set of essays on religion, materiality, and mediatization. The final section grapples with the ever-changing forms that religionis taking, such as spirituality movements and responses to the ecological crisis.Featuring the work of leading scholars from a wide array of disciplines, traditions, and cultures, Religion: Beyond a Concept will help set the agenda for religious studies for years to come. It is the first of five volumes in a collection entitled The Future of the Religious Past, the fruit of a major international research initiative funded by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research.
 

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Contents

Public Religions Revisited
101
Illustrations
116
Provincializing God? Provocations from an Anthropology
120
Religion as a Factor of Cultural
139
The Theodosian
150
The Future of the Religious Past
178
Reference to Tradition and
245
Excursions into Contemporary
259
On the Nature of Medieval
513
Jesus billboard Ambon 2006
530
Jesus mural with cameo portrait Ambon 2006
531
Jesus billboard Ambon 2003
532
Painting of an indigenous Christ Inscription reads Your suffering is in the hands of Jesus Seram 2005 5 3 3
533
Prayer niche in a private home Note the book that serves as the model for the mural Ambon 2005 5 34
534
Motorbiketaxi driver and mural Ambon 2006
547
Motorbiketaxi stand Ambon 2006
548

RELIGION AND PHILOSOPHY
281
A Conversation
297
Abraham the Other
311
An Itinerary
339
Nature as Religious Force in Eriugena and Emerson
354
Religion and Philosophy
368
After Theism
392
Teaching Religious Facts in Secular Schools
415
Notes Toward a Genealogy
432
Exploring a OneField
448
Who Defines for What
464
EMERGING CONTEXTS
489
Charismatic Renewal in a Conservative
550
Neutralizing Religion or What Is the Opposite
563
Reflections on Blasphemy and Secular Criticism
580
Is Liberalism a Religion?
610
Protection and Projection
626
MATERIALITY MEDIATIZATION
645
Jelle Luipaard by Berlinde de Bruyckere Wax iron epoxy and wood 2004
774
Placing the Human
826
Notes
843
9 9
999
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About the author (2009)

HENT DE VRIES is Professor of Humanities and Philosophy at The Johns Hopkins University and Professor of Philosophy at the University of Amsterdam. He is the editor, with Lawrence E. Sullivan, of Political Theologies: Public Religions in a Post-Secular World (Fordham).

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