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Poetic Revelations

March 14, 2017
New Book in Religion and Literature
Poetic Revelations: Word Made Flesh Made Word: The Power of the Word III

Dear Colleagues,

When considering the study of religion and literature, the relationship between language and the body is a topic that merits special attention. In many religions, the transcendental is made accessible to the mundane world through words, which thus endows language with a divine quality. Yet, the word itself, when manifested in the human voice, is not only embodied, but also culturally specific and individually unique. The Word becomes a site where the transcendental and the corporeal meet.

A recent publication on this topic is therefore particularly welcomed: Poetic Revelations: Word Made Flesh Made Word: The Power of the Word III, edited by Mark S. Burrows, Jean Ward, and Małgorzata Grzegorzewska, published by Routledge. According to the publisher, “The central thematic focus is around a ‘phenomenology of the flesh’ as that which connects us with the world, being the site of perception and feeling, joy and suffering, and of life itself in all its vulnerability.” This collection of essays centers on the function of poetry as revelatory discourses in relation to Incarnation, and thereby makes a timely contribution to an important and fruitful intersection in the study of religion and literature.

Global Reformations: Religion and the Making of the Modern World

February 15, 2017

Dear Colleagues,


Martin Luther’s 1534 Bible translated into German (Torsten Schleese 1999, PD)

2017 marks the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, a consequential event that started in Wittenberg, Germany and spread throughout Europe, having a profound impact on world history. From a global perspective, reform is not unique to Christianity, but has also been a preoccupation for other religions. In order to address the broad topic of reform, the University of Wisconsin-Madison is hosting a conference on “Global Reformations: Religion and the Making of the Modern World,” which asks: “Did religions across regions of the globe experience a synchronic series of reformations integral to their entry into the modern age?”

As religious leaders and scholars alike reflect Read more…

Two New Companions to Literature and Religion

January 15, 2017

Dear Colleagues,

As the new year has arrived, the HolyLit team would like to wish everyone a very happy and fulfilling 2017! For our first posting of the New Year, we are delighted to introduce to you a double bill of recently published Companions to Literature and Religion by Cambridge and Routledge. The different approaches of both volumes serve to make an interesting comparison, while indicating diverse ways that have shaped this field in recent years.

The structure of the Cambridge Companion, edited by Susan M. Felch, is itself inspiring. The book is divided into three sections, the first two of which, “Reading Practices” and “Intersections,” offer insightful ways to bridge disciplines and bring together a variety of issues. As a result, these methodological innovations clearly show the advantages in combining the study of religion and literature. Read more…

Rhetorics of Religion in American Fiction: Faith, Fundamentalism, and Fanaticism in the Age of Terror

December 15, 2016

Dear Colleagues,

We are delighted to share with you a new book on religion and literature by Liliana M. Naydan, Rhetorics of Religion in American Fiction: Faith, Fundamentalism, and Fanaticism in the Age of Terror. It brings the study of religion and literature to bear upon a most current and pressing issue, namely belief in the post-9/11 Age of Terror. In view of the many violent events that have shaken contemporary society, it comes as no surprise that American authors have felt called upon to respond to them in their writing. Analyzing fictional works by Mohsin Hamid, Laila Halaby, Philip Roth, Don DeLillo, John Updike, and Barbara Kingsolver, Naydan argues that these authors function as “literary theologians of sorts” and “forge a relevant space beyond or between extremes.” As we continue to foster the study of religion and literature, it becomes increasingly urgent for us to consider the role this study plays (or could play) in debates over secularism, atheism, faith, fundamentalism, and fanaticism in the wake of 9/11. Naydan’s book represents an exemplary effort in contributing to such debates.


Transcendentalist Intersections: Literature, Philosophy, Religion

November 6, 2016

Dear Colleagues,


Cover of the first issue of the Dial, the Transcendentalist magazine edited by Margaret Fuller and Ralph Waldo Emerson (Courtesy of the Newberry Library, Chicago. Call # A5 .275)

We would like to share with you the announcement of an upcoming conference,

Transcendentalist Intersections: Literature, Philosophy, Religion,” which is slated to take place on July 26–29, 2018 at the University of Heidelberg, Germany. This international event is co-sponsored by the Ralph Waldo Emerson Society, the Margaret Fuller Society, and the Anglistisches Seminar and Center for American Studies at the University of Heidelberg.

In the spirit of The Dial under Margaret Fuller’s editorship, the organizers aim to do justice to the breadth and depth of the Transcendentalist movement by employing multi-disciplinary approaches. Specifically, the conference invites contributions that discuss “the entanglements of Transcendentalists (major or minor) with other 19th-century American religious movements such as the Second Great Awakening, the Holiness and Spiritualist revivals, Catholic immigration, and the emergence of groups centered around new ‘American Scriptures’ such as Mormonism.” Regarding literature, the conference will highlight “texts and authors traditionally ignored or cast as ‘minor’” paying especial attention to forms of writing like journalism, literature of reform or revolt, correspondence, travel writing, history, and philosophy as literature.

The conference is currently calling for papers. More details can be found here.

New Directions in Religion and Literature

October 2, 2016

Dear Colleagues,
We are delighted to introduce to you “New Directions in Religion and Literature,” a series of monographs written by leading and rising experts in the field of religion and literature. The series is edited by Emma Mason (University of Warwick) and Mark Knight (University of Toronto), and published by Bloomsbury Academic.
According to the publisher, “the series will offer a timely critical intervention to the interdisciplinary crossover between religion and literature, speaking to wider contemporary interests and mapping out new directions for the field in the early twenty-first century.” Read more…

David Jasper’s Literature and Theology as a Grammar of Assent

September 4, 2016

New book on religion and literature:

David Jasper’s Literature and Theology as a Grammar of Assent

Dear colleagues,

We would like to introduce to you a recent publication by Routledge on religion and literature, David Jasper’s Literature and Theology as a Grammar of Assent. Adopting a contemporary focus, the book begins with an introduction to the history of literature and theology since 1982, when the first of the biennial conferences at the University of Durham was held. The historical roots of these recent intellectual events were probed, for example the work of Samuel Taylor Coleridge and John Henry Newman, as well as the humanist tradition of Pascal and Erasmus, to which they were responding. Individual chapters are devoted to writers/theologians from diverse backgrounds such as Read more…