The connection between belief and healing has featured in almost every human civilization. From its central presence in the narratives of the Abrahamic religions, through to studies of the placebo effect, societies have long been fascinated by the capacity of faith to heal, whether this is treated as a natural phenomenon or a gift from a supernatural or theological realm. This presence is keenly felt in the Ancient realm and particularly in the Graeco-Roman world.
For instance, the significance of a hero’s healing miracle is profoundly affected by any likeness it bears to actions of gods or heroes already known to an audience. In principle, any deity or any divinely empowered hero of the Graeco-Roman world could be claimed to have performed a healing miracle. Deities like Heracles, Isis and Asclepius are among those who were regularly attributed with healings.
In order to contribute to the development of the research on this field we invite paper submissions for online publication in a special collection of articles under the title “Healing gods, heroes and rituals in the Graeco-Roman world”. Topics for consideration include but are not limited to:
- The enduring appeal of healing myths
- New approaches to the study of healing in the Graeco-Roman world
- Approaches to ancient healing through the emergent medical humanities field
- Histories and genealogies of healing
- Cultural approaches to gods and heroes who heal
- Healing miracles across myths, faiths and sciences
The special collection, edited by Athanasios Koutoupas, is to be published in the Open Library of Humanities (ISSN 2056-6700). The OLH is an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation-funded open-access journal with a strong emphasis on quality peer review and a prestigious academic steering board. Unlike some open-access publications, the OLH has no author-facing charges and is instead financially supported by an international consortium of libraries.
Submissions should be made online at: https://submit.openlibhums.org/ in accordance with the author guidelines and clearly marking the entry as [Healing gods, heroes and rituals in the Graeco-Roman world SPECIAL COLLECTION]. Submissions will then undergo a double-blind peer-review process. Authors will be notified of the outcome as soon as reports are received.
For more information, view webpage here.
University of Sheffield, April 8-9 2015
The God, Religion and Politics conference will present a range of speakers talking on discourses relating to religion and the Bible in contemporary politics (broadly defined as post-1945), with a particular (but not exclusive) reference to British politics.
The conference will address questions such as:
- What assumptions about, and constructions of, ‘religion’ and ‘the Bible’ are made in political discourse?
- To what extent do politicians engage with discourses relating to religion and the Bible?
- Do different political parties and political traditions have notably different discourses about religion and the Bible?
- How do discourses about religion and the Bible relate to discourses about, for instance, nationalism, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, and disability?
- How do pressure groups and think tanks relate to discourses about religion and politics?
- How are discourses about religion and politics represented in contemporary culture (e.g. literature, film, TV, social media, newspapers)?
- In what ways are historical understandings of political discourses tied in with historic understandings of the Bible and religion?
Call for papers: If you wish to present a paper, please send an abstract of approximately 150-200 words to godreligionpolitics[at]gmail.com. The closing date for submissions is 2 March 2015. Papers will be around 25-30 mins long, with 10-15 mins for discussion.
For more information, visit the conference webpage here.
Rosalind I. J. Hackett and Benjamin F. Soares (Editors), New Media and Religious Transformations in Africa (Indiana University Press 2014).
New Media and Religious Transformations in Africa casts a critical look at Africa’s rapidly evolving religious media scene. Following political liberalization, media deregulation, and the proliferation of new media technologies, many African religious leaders and activists have appropriated such media to strengthen and expand their communities and gain public recognition. Media have also been used to marginalize and restrict the activities of other groups, which has sometimes led to tension, conflict, and even violence. Showing how media are rarely neutral vehicles of expression, the contributors to this multidisciplinary volume analyze the mutual imbrications of media and religion during times of rapid technological and social change in various places throughout Africa.
Russell T. McCutcheon, A Modest Proposal on Method: Essaying the Study of Religion (Brill 2015).
A Modest Proposal on Method further documents methodological and institutional failings in the academic study of religion. This collection of essays—which includes three previously unpublished chapters—identifies the manner in which old problems (like the presumption that our object of study is a special, deeply meaningful case) yet remain in the field. But amidst the critique there are a variety of practical suggestions for how the science of religion can become methodologically even-handed and self-reflexive—the markings of a historically rigorous exercise. Each chapter is introduced and contextualized by a newly written, substantive introduction.
Michael Pye, Japanese Buddhist Pilgrimage (Equinox 2015).
Japanese Buddhist Pilgrimage explores the ritual practice of “circulatory pilgrimages” – the visiting of many temples in a numbered sequence. Every year, hundreds of thousands of pilgrims travel such temple routes, seeking peace of mind, health and wellbeing for themselves and others as the benefits of such meritorious endeavour. This form of pilgrimage appears to be unique to Japan. The practice began centuries ago and involved visiting 33 temples devoted to the Bodhisattva Kannon, spread widely over western Japan. Soon afterwards the equally famous pilgrimage to 88 temples on Japan’s fourth island of Shikoku came into prominence.
This is the first comprehensive study of all the major and many of the minor routes, The book also examines how the practice of circulatory pilgrimage developed among the shrines and temples for the Seven Gods of Good Fortune, and beyond them to the rather different world of Shintō. The varying significance of the different pilgrimages is also explored. In addition to all the information about the routes, the book includes numerous illustrations and examples of the short Buddhist texts chanted by the pilgrims on their rounds.
Quote the discount code “Pilgrimage” to receive 25% off the retail price when ordering from http://www.equinoxpub.com; valid until the end of April 2015.