Dedicated to historical, critical, and social scientific approaches to the study of religion, as well as a relentlessly reflexive critique of the theories, methods, and categories used in such study.

Books of Interest: An Ancient Theory of Religion: Euhemerism from Antiquity to the Present

Nickolas P. Roubekas, An Ancient Theory of Religion:Euhemerism from Antiquity to the Present. Routledge Monographs in Classical Studies. New York and London: Routledge, 2017.

An Ancient Theory of Religion examines a theory of religion put forward by Euhemerus of Messene (late 4th—early 3rd century BCE) in his lost work Sacred Inscription, and shows not only how and why euhemerism came about but also how it was— and still is—used.9781138848931

By studying the utilization of the theory in different periods—from the Graeco-Roman world to Late Antiquity, and from the Renaissance to the twenty-first century—this book explores the reception of the theory in diverse literary works. In so doing, it also unpacks the different adoptions and misrepresentations of Euhemerus’s work according to the diverse agendas of the authors and scholars who have employed his theory. In the process, certain questions are raised: What did Euhemerus actually claim? How has his theory of the origins of belief in gods been used? How can modern scholarship approach and interpret his take on religion? When referring to ‘euhemerism,’ whose version are we employing? An Ancient Theory of Religion assumes no prior knowledge of euhemerism and will be of interest to scholars working in classical reception, religious studies, and early Christian studies.

Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction: Why Study Euhemerism?
1. Euhemerus’s Euhemerism
2. Before Euhemerus
3. Returning to the Sources
4. Euhemerism and Atheism
5. Euhemerus, Divine Kingship, and Irony
6. Citing the Citations: Anti–‘Pagan’ Euhemerism and Identity Formation
7. Turning the Tables: Anti–Christian Euhemerism in Celsus
8. Seeing ‘Euhemerism’ Everywhere
Afterword: On the Use and Abuse of a Theory
Index

About the author
Nickolas P. Roubekas is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Vienna, Austria. He received his Ph.D. in Religious Studies from the Aristotle University, Greece, and held research and teaching positions at University of South Africa, North-West University, and the University of Aberdeen, U.K.

Job Opening at Nebraska Wesleyan University

This opening might be of interest to NAASR members:

VISITING PROFESSOR OF RELIGION & BIBLEschool_logo_wesleyan.jpg

Nebraska Wesleyan University invites applications for a full-time, 2-year Visiting Assistant Professor with expertise in teaching Bible within a Liberal Arts Curriculum, beginning August 2017.

Department: Religion

ResponsibilitiesDuties include teaching biblical courses in a newly inaugurated liberal arts general education program focusing on themes of Identity, Globalization, Justice, Democracy, Gender, and designated skills in writing, speaking, and diversity within the US and globally. Familiarity with the discipline of Religious Studies and knowledge of the social, political, and historical study of Christianity is preferable. The successful candidate will participate in our liberal arts general education program, the Archway Curriculum.  The annual teaching load will be 9 – 12 credits per semester. Applicants with Methodist affiliations who can help prepare students for seminary are encouraged to apply.Nebraska Wesleyan University is an independent Methodist liberal arts university of approximately 2,000 undergraduate and graduate students in Lincoln, Nebraska. The University’s steadfast commitment to putting learning into action through internships, study abroad, service learning and collaborative research has yielded tremendous outcomes for students and alumni.

Qualifications
* PhD or be ABD from accredited program in Religion
* Expertise in Bible
* Familiarity with the discipline of Religious Studies
* Knowledge of the social, political, and historical study of Christianity
* Experience with teaching biblical courses in a liberal arts education program
* Demonstrated critical thinking and time management skills
* Demonstrated ability to communicate effectively with a variety of constituents
* Demonstrated written and oral communication skills

Commitment to DiversityNebraska Wesleyan University is an equal opportunity employer and is committed to recruiting, hiring and retaining members of racial/ethnic groups under-represented in higher education. Applicants with disabilities are invited to identify any necessary accommodations required in the application process. E-Verify, EOE.

How to Apply
To apply, please send cover letter, resume/CV, sample syllabus and three professional letters of reference.  A statement of teaching philosophy is optional.  Electronic submissions are strongly encouraged and should be sent to Maria Harder at mharder@nebrwesleyan.edu(link sends e-mail).   Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled.

Preliminary NAASR 2017 Program Announcement

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The Things we Study when we Study Religion

Call for respondents still active. Proposals due March 1, 2017. Email NAASR VP at aaron.hughes@rochester.edu.

Following NAASR’s annual programs in 2015, devoted to theory, and 2016, on method, the program for 2017 will focus on the things that we, as scholars of religion, study. What, for instance, counts as data? How is it imagined, handled, or constructed? Who decides what is a valid or invalid research topic—and which approach suits it?

There exist longstanding and still active debates in the field regarding whether the items that we study pre-exist our approaches or whether our approaches actually create the conditions in which the former come into existence. It should come as no surprise, then, that the inter-relationship between theory, method, and data is complex and hardly settled. In fact, for some the term “data” itself is to be avoided because it is thought to remove us from the human subjects whom we study. Such subjects, it is assumed, embody intentional centers of meaning-making and therefore they require methods of study that differ, both qualitatively and quantitatively, from those employed by scholars in other fields. Yet for others, people’s self-understanding as agents does not lessen the importance of the non-agential structures in which they live (from genetics to class). Such recognition requires scholars to study people’s claims and behavior in a way that is far less impacted by intentionality than some may assume. We could also add to this mix those who examine the conditions and shape of the field itself, thereby finding scholars themselves as the item of interest. It is clear, then, that to identify as a scholar of religion does not necessarily mean that we all study the same thing, let alone in the same manner. For the distance between those who now study what is called embodied or lived religion, on the one hand, and, on the other, the processes examined by cognitive scientists is great indeed. A pressing question, however, is whether this breadth strengthens or undermines the field.

Following the model used for the past two annual meetings, three main, substantive papers were invited and will be distributed both to respondents and NAASR members approximately one month prior to the meeting. These main papers will only be summarized at the session. Each paper will then have four respondents, who will have ten minutes each to reply to the main paper. This will be followed by an open discussion of roughly one hour. As per the past two years, the aim once again is to see this this session published as a book (with responses from the main paper presenters).

Subjects: Annette Reed (University of Pennsylvania)
(Respondents tbd)

Objects: Matthew Baldwin (Mars Hill University)
(Respondents tbd)

Scholars: Craig Martin (St. Thomas Aquinas College)
(Respondents tbd)

A fourth, separate panel, features invited papers on important sites in the field today, as a way to open a discussion on the state of the study of religion, with regard the issues of relevance to scholarship, teaching, and the institutions in which we do our work. Like the other sessions, plenty of time will be reserved for discussion following.

Roundtable:
Steven Engler, Chair (Mount Royal University)
Sarah Dees, Labor (Northwestern University)
Richard Newton, Teaching (Elizabethtown College)
Rebekka King, Departments (Middle Tennessee State University)
Greg Alles, Research (McDaniel College)

Call for respondents still active. Proposals due March 1, 2017. Email NAASR VP at aaron.hughes@rochester.edu.

Job Opening at the University of Bergen

This opening might be of interest to NAASR members:

Associate Professor in the Study of Religions with a specialization in Islam

screen-shot-2017-01-23-at-7-37-30-pmThe Department of Archaeology, History, Cultural Studies and Religion invites applications for a permanent position as associate professor (førsteamanuensis) in the Study of Religions.

The Study of Religions represents the historical and systematic study of religion as a cultural phenomenon. The perspective is cross-cultural and comparative, including both the history of religions as well as the systematic study of religion. The department offers teaching and research on a wide range of religions, with teaching and supervision offered at bachelor, master and PhD levels. There are currently 10 permanent academic positions in the Study of Religions at the department.

Qualification requirements:

The position is based at the Study of Religions program, and applications will be evaluated with regard to applicants’ contributions to this discipline. The successful applicant must have relevant research competence on the level of a Norwegian PhD within the Study of Religions/Religious Studies/History of Religions, with a special competence in Islam. In the evaluation of the candidates, a solid and broad competence in the Study of Religions will be considered an asset. The successful applicant should have research competence in at least one source language relevant for the study of Islam. In the evaluation, publications from the latest five years will be emphasized.

The position has teaching, research, dissemination and administrative components. The successful applicant will be expected to teach and supervise at all levels, not only on Islam but also on the systematic and comparative study of religion, including theory and methodology.

The selection process will include an assessment of the candidate’s personal suitability for the position, and therefore good collaboration skills, evidence of ongoing research activity and potential to strengthen the department’s research environment are essential. A successful record of attracting external research funding will be given weight.

Basic pedagogical training is a requirement for the position. The successful applicant will be offered training if this requirement is not met prior to appointment.

Norwegian will normally be the language of administration and teaching. The successful applicant will be required to teach in Norwegian or another Scandinavian language within two years of being appointed. The university provides suitable courses for learning Norwegian.

The successful applicant will be expected to relocate to Bergen, to work and participate in the running of the department on a daily basis and to conform to the regulations that apply to the position.

We can offer:

Salary will be paid in accordance with pay level 60 (code 1011/frame 24) on the government salary scale (currently NOK 512.300 gross p.a.). From the gross wage a 2 % law-enforced membership in the State Pension Fund (Statens Pensjonskasse) is deducted. Further increase in salary will depend on seniority. Higher initial placement may be considered for a particularly well-
qualified applicant.

  • A good and professionally challenging working environment
  • Enrolment in the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund
  • A position in an inclusive workplace (IA enterprise)
  • Good welfare benefits

Contact information:

Further information about the position can be obtained from the Head of Department, Professor Jan Heiret, by e-mail, jan.heiret@uib.no

or telephone + 47 55 58 97 62, or from the co-ordinator of the Study of Religions program, Professor Istvan Keul, by e-mail, istvan.keul@uib.no or telephone. +47 55 58 20 22.

How to apply for the job:

Applications should be sent electronically via the link “APPLY FOR THIS JOB”/”SØK STILLINGEN”.

The application must include:

1. Cover letter
2. CV
3. Scanned versions of original or certified copies of all academic diplomas and transcripts
4. Information about and documentation of pedagogical experience and qualifications
5. Information about and documentation of administrative experience and earlier work
6. A complete list of publications (may be attached)
7. Up to five publications (which may include dissertations, other monographs or articles) to be included in the assessment. 8. Name and contact information of three referees

The application and appendices with certified translations into English or a Scandinavian language must be uploaded at Jobbnorge.

The documents may be in Word or pdf-format. Publications that are not available electronically may be submitted in three – 3 – copies by mail to the Department at this address:

University of Bergen, AHKR, PO Box 7805, N-5020 Bergen, Norway.

Nominated candidates will be invited to an interview and asked to give a lecture.

Questions about the online application procedure may be sent by email to the Faculty of Humanities: fakadm@hf.uib.no.

Additional information:

The state labour force shall reflect the diversity of Norwegian society to the greatest extent possible. Age and gender balance among

employees is therefore an aim. Candidates with immigrant backgrounds and people with disabilities are encouraged to apply.

Women are encouraged to apply. If several applicants have approximately equivalent qualifications, rules pertaining to moderate gender quotas will apply.

The University of Bergen applies the principle of public access to information when recruiting staff for academic positions.

Information about applicants may be made public even if the applicant has asked not to be named on the list of persons who have applied. The applicant must be notified if the request to be omitted is not met.

Application deadline: 1 March 2017

Reference no: 16/13622

NAASR Workshop on Succeeding in the Job Market #NAASR2017

Once again NAASR will offer a free workshop on preparing for the job market, aimed primarily a doctoral or ABD doctoral students, but open to all. Organized again by Mike Graziano and Merinda Simmons, the workshop will once again also involve other faculty volunteers who will work one-on-one with participants who pre-submit sample material for feedback (e.g., cover letters). The workshop will also have an open Q&A portion—this year we’ll pre-announce the times of each of these two components (i.e., one-on-one/small group workshop and the open Q&A) so participants can attend whichever part will benefit them most (or both).

Look for more information on registering in the future.

Books of Interest: Theory in a Time of Excess

Edited by Aaron Hughes, Theory in a Time of Excess (Equinox Publishing, 2017).

Order from the book page using the code “Excess” and receive 25% off.

What does it mean to “do theory” in the study of religion today? The terms “method and theory” are now found in course titles, curricula/degree requirements, theoryarea/comprehensive exams, and frequently listed as competencies on the CVs of scholars from across a wide array of subfields. Are we really that theoretically and methodologically sophisticated? While a variety of groups at annual scholarly conferences now regularly itemize theorizing among the topics that they examine and carry out, it seems that few of the many examples of doing theory today involve either meta-reflection on the practical conditions of the field or rigorously explanatory studies of religion’s cause(s) or function(s). So, despite the appearance of tremendous advances in the field over the past 30 years, it can be argued that little has changed. Indeed, the term theory is today so widely understood as to make it coterminous with virtually all forms of scholarship on religion. This volume seeks to re-examine just what we ought to consider theory to signify.

The core of the book consists of chapters by leading theorists in the field — an anthropologist of religion, a literary theorist, a specialist in cognitive science of religion, and a philosopher of religion. Each statement is then followed by shorter response papers, and concludes with a response by the theorist.

Call for Respondents: The Things We Study When We Study Religion

NAASR 2017 ● Boston, MA ● November 18-19, 2017

Following NAASR’s annual programs in 2015, devoted to theory, and 2016, on method, the program for 2017 will focus on the things that we, as scholars of religion, study. What, for instance, counts as data? How is it imagined, handled, or constructed? Who decides what is a valid or invalid research topic—and which approach suits it?

There exist longstanding and still active debates in the field regarding whether the items that we study pre-exist our approaches or whether our approaches actually create the conditions in which the former come into existence. It should come as no surprise, then, that the inter-relationship between theory, method, and data is complex and hardly settled. In fact, for some the term “data” itself is to be avoided because it is thought to remove us from the human subjects whom we study. Such subjects, it is assumed, embody intentional centers of meaning-making and therefore they require methods of study that differ, both qualitatively and quantitatively, from those employed by scholars in other fields. Yet for others, people’s self-understanding as agents does not lessen the importance of the non-agential structures in which they live (from genetics to class). Such recognition requires scholars to study people’s claims and behavior in a way that is far less impacted by intentionality than some may assume. We could also add to this mix those who examine the conditions and shape of the field itself, thereby finding scholars themselves as the item of interest. It is clear, then, that to identify as a scholar of religion does not necessarily mean that we all study the same thing, let alone in the same manner. For the distance between those who now study what is called embodied or lived religion, on the one hand, and, on the other, the processes examined by cognitive scientists is great indeed. A pressing question, however, is whether this breadth strengthens or undermines the field.

Following the model used for the past two annual meetings, three main, substantive papers will be invited and distributed both to respondents and NAASR members approximately one month prior to the meeting. These main papers will only be summarized at the session. Each paper will then have four respondents, who will have ten minutes each to reply to the main paper. This will be followed by an open discussion of roughly one hour. As per the past two years, the aim once again is to see this this session published as a book (with responses from the main paper presenters).

This is therefore a call for respondents.

The three main papers will be invited, each to examine the implications of framing our research as focusing on one of the following: on objects, on subjects, and on scholars themselves. The main presenters will be asked to advocate/critique scholarship carried out in that vein and explore its implications for the field. Submissions for possible respondents (12 in total are needed) must each (i) identify the key term (one of the three immediately above) on which they wish to focus in their reply along with providing (ii) a brief (max. 500 words) statement on the most pressing issue(s) in need of consideration when framing the items one studies as objects, subjects, or scholars. NAASR especially invites submissions from early career scholars who have an interest in the topics explored in our sessions.

Apart from this call for respondents, and following a suggestion by Steven Engler, #naasr2017 will also host an invited panel focusing on the state of the field, devoting attention to the state of Departments (such as new programs, the health of the institution, etc.), Teaching (innovations, technology, learning management systems, etc.), Research (grants and publishing), and Labor (notably part-time etc.).

Please send your proposal as a file attachment by March 1, 2017, to NAASR VP Aaron Hughes at aaron.hughes@rochester.edu.

Click here for a pdf of this call for respondents.