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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.

Welcome of New Co-Administrator

March 30, 2015


It gives me great pleasure to become co-administrator, together with Verena Düntsch, of the HolyLit blog. I am a PhD candidate in comparative literature at Harvard University, and a Global Humanities Junior Fellow at Dahlem Humanities Center, Freie Universität Berlin. My current research focuses on the practice of collecting as a tactile engagement with history and a discursive thought process, and how it influences literary and historic narratives across cultures. I am also interested in how Taoism shapes the theory of music and sound in China.

I look forward to sharing with you many exciting news and events on this site!

Guangchen Chen


Upcoming Talk by Prof. István Perczel

January 7, 2015

Dear colleagues and friends,

As we kick off 2015, it is my pleasure to draw your attention to an upcoming talk by Prof. István Perczel (Department of Medieval Studies, Central European University, Budapest):

“Von einer liturgischen Auslegung des Übungswissens des Evagrius Ponticus zum theokratischen Modell der Kirche. Die proteischen Metamorphosen der pseudo-dionysischen Schrift De ecclesiastica hierarchia.”

Prof. Perczel is a world expert in the burgeoning field of Graeco-Syriac Studies, an area of study that focuses on the rich translation culture of religious, philosophical, and scientific literature in the late antique Near and Middle East (c. 3rd-9th century CE).

Time: 16:15 pm, Wednesday, January 21, 2015
Location: “Sitzungsraum” of the SFB 980 “Episteme in Bewegung. Wissenstransfer on der Alten Welt bis in die Frühe Neuzeit,” Schwendenerstraße 8, 14195 Berlin.

The talk is part of a study day jointly organized by two research projects of the SFB 980: “Knowledge Transfer in Antique Christian Apocryphya” (C01, click here) and “Asceticism in Motion” (C02, click here). The event seeks to bring together scholars and students who investigate the transfer of ascetic knowledge in different religious and philosophical contexts from a synchronic and diachronic perspective.

For more information (in German) please click here.

Best wishes, on behalf of speakers and the organizing team

Tudor Sala