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Holy Hero(in)es

September 15, 2015

Dear Colleagues,

We hope you are all enjoying a pleasant and productive summer! Please find below the announcement for a particularly interesting conference, which aims to present methods, concepts, and theoretical approaches for studying hagiographical accounts specifically as literary texts.

Holy Hero(in)es. Literary Constructions of Heroism in Late Antique and Early Medieval Hagiography

International conference at Ghent University (Belgium), Thursday 18th to Saturday 20th February 2016

Confirmed keynote speaker: Prof. dr. Stephanos Efthymiadis (Open University of Cyprus)

The ERC research group Novel Saints (Ghent University) builds on and contributes to a recent trend in scholarship of studying late antique and early medieval hagiography (4th-12th cent.) as literature. We welcome paper proposals for our first, international conference, which will deal with literary constructions of characters as hero(in)es in different types of late antique and early medieval hagiographical narrative (Lives, Martyr Acts, hagiographical romances, etc.). We envisage contributions on hagiography from different linguistic traditions (Latin, Greek, Syriac, Georgian, Coptic, Armenian, Persian and Arabic). Read more…

Phenomenology, Hermeneutics, and the Philology of the Flesh

September 2, 2015

Dear Colleagues and Friends,

We would like to call attention to Professor John Hamilton’s upcoming graduate seminar at Harvard University. The readings offer a broad historical overview of theories of interpretation from Martin Luther to Hans-Georg Gadamer and Maurice Merleau-Ponty, with specific focus on metaphors of incarnation, embodiment, and revelation. In tracking the shift from interpretation as an auxiliary art to hermeneutics as a philosophical universal, literary texts broach questions concerning theories of the verbal sign, understanding, self-consciousness, phenomenology, and the human condition—all in relation to the theological paradigms that have persistently motivated and shaped these investigations. How should understanding be understood? Read more…

New Book on Religion and Literature: Theology and Literature after Postmodernity

August 8, 2015

Dear colleagues and friends,

by kind permission of the publisher

by kind permission of the publisher

For our August posting, we would like to introduce to you a recent publication, Theology and Literature after Postmodernity, edited by Zoë Lehmann Imfeld, Peter Hampson, and Alison Milbank, and published by Bloomsbury T&T Clark.

According to the editors, this volume “deploys theology in a reconstructive approach to contemporary literary criticism, to validate and exemplify theological readings of literary texts as a creative exercise.” It therefore provides responses to the double challenge that postmodernism poses to both religion and literary criticism.

With a set of three articles on pedagogy, this book has paid special attention to the university as one of the most important institutions in which these discussions take place. Read more…

World Congress of the International Association for the History of Religions

July 17, 2015

Dear all,

We would like to draw your attention to the upcoming World Congress of the International Association for the History of Religions (IAHR). Hosted by Erfurt University, it will take place from August 23 to 29, 2015.

The Congress program covers diverse fields of study, and engages a variety of religions from around the world. These features testify to the fact that the study of religions is moving toward more openness and inclusivity, both in contents and methodologies. In the face of such diversity, it is not always easy to find a common approach that effectively connects everything.

Religion & Literature as a field of study precisely serves as such a connection. With its attention to the textual basis of faiths, this study achieves broad relevance through the recognition that literature has been, and still is a popular means with which faiths manifest themselves.

The Congress has a number of sessions devoted to such an approach, though not confining to specific religions: Read more…

New Book on Religion and Literature: Reading the Abrahamic Faiths

June 28, 2015

Dear all,

by kind permission of the publisher

by kind permission of the publisher

We would like to introduce to you a recent publication, Reading the Abrahamic Faiths: Rethinking Religion and Literature, a collection of essays edited by Emma Mason and published earlier this year.

Starting with a group of essays on the general issues concerning the intersection of religion and literature, this collection authorizes, in its editor’s words, “a religious reading that offers an inclusive and politicized alternative to the interdiscipline of religion and literature in its exclusive and inward-facing form.”

As the plural form in the title suggests, the book deals with the plurality of the Abrahamic tradition in three separate parts: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Closing with a part on postsecularism, Mason’s book situates the discussion in a context that is of particular relevance to today’s world.

Overall, Reading the Abrahamic Faiths aims at questioning the neutrality of literary and religious studies as an interdisciplinary mode of inquiry and reinstating a connection between religion and literature that is socially, culturally and politically sensitive.

Conference on James Legge

May 17, 2015

Upcoming Conference on James Legge, University of Edinburgh, 11–13 June 2015

 James_Legge_missionary (2)

Dear colleagues and friends,

This year marks the bicentennial of the birth of James Legge (1815–1897), Scottish missionary, translator, sinologist, and the first Professor of Chinese at Oxford University. The University of Edinburgh is commemorating this occasion with an international conference on 11–13 June 2015.

Legge was among the first to systematically translate the core Chinese classics into English, including the oldest Chinese poetry collection, the Classic of Poetry, the Book of Changes (I Ching), Laozi (Tao Te Ching) and Zhuangzi. It is worth noting that, as a missionary, Legge regarded his translation work within the broader context of a Christian worldview. Thus, the foundational texts of Classical Chinese literature were introduced to the English-speaking world through a decidedly religious lens. The Edinburgh conference, held at the University’s Centre for the Study of World Christianity, plans to focus on Legge’s cultural negotiations specifically within the broader context of Scotland’s nineteenth-century missions to China.

Book History and Religious Studies

April 29, 2015

Dear colleagues and friends,

Hope you’re all enjoying the springtime!

We would like to draw your attention to the “Princeton Workshop on Book History and Religious Studies,” which will take place at Princeton University September 30 – October 2, 2015.

It has been suggested that in recent years, there is a materialist turn happening in the humanities. Whether this is true or not, it is always interesting to consider the “material side of religion.” This phrase might seem oxymoronic, as religion concerns the spiritual. But religious discourses are more often than not conveyed through a material medium. Scripture, an element so central to a religion, is precisely bound up with the material aspects of the book and the very act of writing.

Bringing religious studies and book history together, this Princeton Workshop will be an ideal occasion for fostering discussions and further understanding on this exciting topic.