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Lectures on Religious Studies

The study of religions seminar: Participant observation in the study of Hinduism

Professor Klaus Klostermaier
13 Feb 1998

Related: Religious Studies

Key thinkers in the study of religion Part 1

Dr Jessica Frazier
12 Oct 2007

Related: Religious Studies

Key thinkers in the study of religion Part 2

Dr Jessica Frazier
19 Oct 2007

Related: Religious Studies

Key thinkers in the study of religion Part 3

Dr Jessica Frazier
26 Oct 2007

Related: Religious Studies

Key thinkers in the study of religion Part 4

Dr Jessica Frazier
2 Nov 2007

Related: Religious Studies

Key thinkers in the study of religion Part 5

Dr Jessica Frazier
9 Nov 2007

Related: Religious Studies

Key thinkers in the study of religion Part 6

Dr Jessica Frazier
16 Nov 2007

Related: Religious Studies

Key thinkers in the study of religion Part 7

Dr Jessica Frazier
23 Nov 2007

Related: Religious Studies

Key thinkers in the study of religion Part 8

Dr Jessica Frazier
30 Nov 2007

Related: Religious Studies

Readings in Phenomenology 1

Professor Gavin Flood
24 Jan 2008

Related: Philosophy, Religious Studies

Readings in Phenomenology 2

Professor Gavin Flood
31 Jan 2008

Related: Philosophy, Religious Studies

Readings in Phenomenology 3

Professor Gavin Flood
7 Feb 2008

Related: Philosophy, Religious Studies

Readings in Phenomenology 4

Professor Gavin Flood
14 Feb 2008

Related: Philosophy, Religious Studies

Readings in Phenomenology 5

Professor Gavin Flood
21 Feb 2008

Related: Philosophy, Religious Studies

Readings in Phenomenology 6

Professor Gavin Flood
28 Feb 2008

Related: Philosophy, Religious Studies

Readings in Phenomenology 7

Professor Gavin Flood
6 Mar 2008

Related: Philosophy, Religious Studies

Readings in Phenomenology 1

Professor Gavin Flood
24 Apr 2008

Related: Philosophy, Religious Studies

Readings in Phenomenology 2

Professor Gavin Flood
1 May 2008

Related: Philosophy, Religious Studies

Readings in Phenomenology 3

Professor Gavin Flood
8 May 2008

Related: Philosophy, Religious Studies

Readings in Phenomenology 4

Professor Gavin Flood
15 May 2008

Related: Philosophy, Religious Studies

The importance of religion 1: Religion and reductionism

Professor Gavin Flood
20 Oct 2008

Two tendencies in recent years have sought to provide explanations of religion in terms of a naturalist or eliminative reductionism, the realm of science, on the one hand, and a cultural reductionism, the realm of politics, on the other. Eliminative reductionism primarily refers to theories of cognition and evolutionary psychology along with their philosophical justification. By cultural reductionism I mean accounts that see religion only in terms of a politics of representation and structures of power. On this view, religion is a disempowering hegemony caused by a ‘false consciousness’ that has served the interests of the rich and powerful. Both kinds of reductionism share an incredulity to religious truth claims and offer explanation and critique that are rigorously externalist in their explanation of religion and thoroughly materialist in their ontological and ethical pre-commitments. On reductionist accounts, to explain religion is to locate a cause (in cognition, genetics, socio-political structures) and to explain religion is to present an external account of it, often antithetical to the internal claims of traditions. This understanding of explanation has been the predominant model in the natural sciences from Bacon through to the social sciences of our own time. Even Theology traditionally understood claimed to explain religion in this way, locating the cause of religion in God. Scientific explanations have generally been antithetical to Theology in locating causes of religion in nature and claiming superiority to theological accounts because, unlike such accounts, they are falsifiable and have predictive power. Both eliminative and cultural reductionisms offer external accounts of religion through the location of cause, the former in nature the latter in the genealogy of cultural politics, and so do not engage seriously with traditions’ claims and concerns.

 
But there is a different sense of explanation that is not the location of a cause. This is to draw on, or return to, the verstehen tradition in the history of social science where explanation is ‘understanding’ and to claim that the explanation of religion is the exposition of a meaning rather than the location of a cause: to explain religion is not to seek a causal account in the first instance but to show how something is connected to a broader sphere or context and to demonstrate or translate a tradition’s semantic density into a language which is implicitly comparative. This kind of account is both descriptive and interpretative in drawing out the implications of description in theory-informed, semiotically sophisticated ways, and reasoning within the horizon of the western academy. This account is akin to phenomenology in wishing to offer thick description yet like hermeneutics in wishing to inquire beyond description. Unlike eliminative reductionism it must recognise the autonomy of higher level processes in any hierarchy or multiple levels of organised systems and unlike postmodern, cultural constructivists and genealogists it must recognise the legitimacy of tradition and tradition internal concerns. In the context of this debate, the lecture will discuss the two kinds of reductionism and the idea of ‘explanation’.

Related: Religious Studies

Readings in Phenomenology 1

Professor Gavin Flood
23 Oct 2008

Phenomenology is one of the most important developments in philosophy in the twentieth century that has had a deep impact on Theology and Religious Studies. This seminar series seeks to engage with some of the literature and fundamental concepts of phenomenology which underlie much work in Theology and the Phenomenology of Religion. While the readings themselves are not directly about the Phenomenology of Religion, in order to understand the Phenomenology of Religion we need to address these fundamental ideas and to raise the basic questions of Phenomenology. The aim is not so much a comprehensive overview of the phenomenological movement, but rather an attempt to come to grips with key phenomenological ideas that influence Theology, the Phenomenology of Religion, and other areas in the human sciences. The series carries on from last year and will begin again with a reading from the ‘father of phenomenology’, Edmund Husserl’s The Crisis of European Sciences and Transcendental Phenomenology: An Introduction to Phenomenological Philosophy (Evanson: Northwestern University Press, 1970).

Related: Philosophy, Religious Studies

The importance of religion 2: Towards a theory of religious action

Professor Gavin Flood
27 Oct 2008

On the one hand there is a critique of religion that sees religion in terms of propositions about the nature of the world. On the other there is a reaction to such claims by the rational defence of religion. But both positions fail to understand the true nature and function of religions as action and responses to life, as ways of life and kinds of action that provide frameworks for living and dying, especially in the context of late modernity and what Richard Roberts has called ‘the reconfiguring of the religious field.’ This lecture develops the idea of religion as action which is also an orientation towards meaning and transcendence; an orientation to understanding life as a journey for both individuals and communities, a journey that can have an end in a ‘liberation’ or a ‘heaven’ or some variation of an ideal of perfection. Religion is always teleological and orientated towards transcendence of the human condition; religion is predominantly soteriological. The theoretical apparatus behind some of this thinking lies in Bakhtin’s Towards a Philosophy of the Act in which he presents a distinction between the world of culture (which contains various theoretical frameworks such as philosophy, sociology, politics) and the world of life, the world in which we live our lives and die and in which acts are accomplished once and for all (and only once) as being is unrepeatable action (Being-as-event). The theory of religious action I am proposing claims that religious action is a penetration of being-as-event, that it is not restricted to the world of culture but is the only practice and discourse that attempts to penetrate, order and make sense of world of life. This world of life is a synonym for the strangeness of the world.

 
It follows from this is that the heart of religion is human action that forms a kind of subjectivity. This action and its accompanying subjectivity is formed only in inter-subjective, tradition specific ways that entail a particular kind of orientation towards the future. This orientation entails hope or anticipation of the future and a retrieval of meaning from the past (expressed as text) which are realised in present action. The sacred text from the past is brought to life through ritual in the living context of present speech for a particular speech community. Religious actions and their accompanying kinds of speech foster a subjectivity, inwardness, or interiority which is the realisation of a religion’s claims, a soteriology, and the projection of a narrative into the future. This kind of inwardness feeds back into the community as a source of life, of new interpretations, and of new vision.

Related: Religious Studies

Readings in Phenomenology 2

Professor Gavin Flood
30 Oct 2008

Phenomenology is one of the most important developments in philosophy in the twentieth century that has had a deep impact on Theology and Religious Studies. This seminar series seeks to engage with some of the literature and fundamental concepts of phenomenology which underlie much work in Theology and the Phenomenology of Religion. While the readings themselves are not directly about the Phenomenology of Religion, in order to understand the Phenomenology of Religion we need to address these fundamental ideas and to raise the basic questions of Phenomenology. The aim is not so much a comprehensive overview of the phenomenological movement, but rather an attempt to come to grips with key phenomenological ideas that influence Theology, the Phenomenology of Religion, and other areas in the human sciences. The series carries on from last year and will begin again with a reading from the ‘father of phenomenology’, Edmund Husserl’s The Crisis of European Sciences and Transcendental Phenomenology: An Introduction to Phenomenological Philosophy (Evanson: Northwestern University Press, 1970).

Related: Philosophy, Religious Studies

The importance of religion 3: Religion, text, and subjectivity

Professor Gavin Flood
3 Nov 2008

A religious community is defined and adapts to present conditions by the way it reads or receives its sacred texts realised in the present in a ritual space and internalised within subjectivity. The self becomes an index of tradition and subjectivity is formed through repeated liturgical acts which are enactments or embodiments of the revelation or text (broadly defined and not restricted to written document). The lecture will explore the internalisation of the text through the ritual process as the expression or realisation of the religious imperative. The realisation of the text in present speech (and it can only be realised in the present here and now) is accompanied by the internalisation of the text in subjectivity and also by the externalisation of the text in ethics, art and politics: the religious imperative comes to be articulated through ethical behaviour defined by a community, artistic expression and political institution. The ritual space within which the text is realised and brought to life for a present speech community, along with the internalisation of text and tradition, is the site of transcendence as instantiated in the history of religions. In technical terms from Linguistic Anthropology this is the subordination of the ‘indexical-I’ to the ‘I’ contained within the text, the implied reader or ‘I of discourse’ (Urban ‘The ‘I’ of Discourse’). The self of religions is formed through revelation mediated by tradition and realised in specific acts of ‘reading’ or the reception of texts. The argument will be that the central aspect of the religious self is the internalisation of the text and the alignment with the narrative of one’s own life with the tradition. This is to see life as quest for meaning through the internalisation of tradition. This internalisation is also an orientation towards the future.

Related: Religious Studies

Readings in Phenomenology 4

Professor Gavin Flood
6 Nov 2008

Phenomenology is one of the most important developments in philosophy in the twentieth century that has had a deep impact on Theology and Religious Studies. This seminar series seeks to engage with some of the literature and fundamental concepts of phenomenology which underlie much work in Theology and the Phenomenology of Religion. While the readings themselves are not directly about the Phenomenology of Religion, in order to understand the Phenomenology of Religion we need to address these fundamental ideas and to raise the basic questions of Phenomenology. The aim is not so much a comprehensive overview of the phenomenological movement, but rather an attempt to come to grips with key phenomenological ideas that influence Theology, the Phenomenology of Religion, and other areas in the human sciences. The series carries on from last year and will begin again with a reading from the ‘father of phenomenology’, Edmund Husserl’s The Crisis of European Sciences and Transcendental Phenomenology: An Introduction to Phenomenological Philosophy (Evanson: Northwestern University Press, 1970).

Related: Philosophy, Religious Studies

Readings in Phenomenology 3

Professor Gavin Flood
6 Nov 2008

Phenomenology is one of the most important developments in philosophy in the twentieth century that has had a deep impact on Theology and Religious Studies. This seminar series seeks to engage with some of the literature and fundamental concepts of phenomenology which underlie much work in Theology and the Phenomenology of Religion. While the readings themselves are not directly about the Phenomenology of Religion, in order to understand the Phenomenology of Religion we need to address these fundamental ideas and to raise the basic questions of Phenomenology. The aim is not so much a comprehensive overview of the phenomenological movement, but rather an attempt to come to grips with key phenomenological ideas that influence Theology, the Phenomenology of Religion, and other areas in the human sciences. The series carries on from last year and will begin again with a reading from the ‘father of phenomenology’, Edmund Husserl’s The Crisis of European Sciences and Transcendental Phenomenology: An Introduction to Phenomenological Philosophy (Evanson: Northwestern University Press, 1970).

Related: Philosophy, Religious Studies

The importance of religion 4: Religion and politics

Professor Gavin Flood
10 Nov 2008

Religion has always been deeply implicated with politics. While the claim of these lectures is that the religious imperative cannot be reduced to power, the formation of religions as institutions has always been closely implicated in the formation of states and the legitimising of particular social and political structures. Many contemporary thinkers, deriving inspiration from genealogical thinkers such as Foucault, claim that religion can be understood in terms of power relationships and that the discourse of religion hides a will to power. By contrast many religious communities claim that religion is the well spring of their life’s energy and that tradition cannot be explained only in terms of a politics of representation.

 
In this lecture we presented a particular view of the religious imperative as being expressed in a community’s reception of its revelation and the internalisation of the revelation. The lecture will develop the political implications of the religious imperative. We will discuss the externalisation of religious subjectivity through institutions and examine the interface between secular institutions and religious tradition. This is especially pertinent where there is a conflict between religious law and secular law. While the issue of this relation will be examined at a fairly abstract level, engaging with relevant philosophical literature such as Batnitzky’s work on Strauss and Levinas (Leo Strauss and Emmanuel Levinas CUP 2006), the lecture also needs to discuss contemporary examples of the relation of the religious imperative to politics and the conflict of religious and secular law. For religions, adherence to revelation and the law that expresses it is primary, for secular modernity, adherence to secular law is primary. This might also be configured as a conflict between revelation and philosophy. The contemporary religious subject in the global context of late modernity needs to negotiate these complex identities and the success to which that occurs is the degree to which the religious imperative can locate itself within the modern context.

 

Related: Religious Studies

The importance of religion 5: Religion and art

Professor Gavin Flood
17 Nov 2008

Shifting from explicit politics to implicit cultural politics, this lecture will focus on the relation of religion to art, raising questions about how religious art expresses tradition and links in to a cosmology absent from secular art. Questions of aesthetics and function will be raised. An exhibition in London by Gilbert and George in January 2006 presented religion through a pastiche of images that showed religions to be essentially oppressive. In the context of this radical juxtaposition between secular art in late modernity and religious art, the lecture will show how the problem of aesthetic appreciation in tradition and modernity is linked to the problem of the world seen as cosmology or as stripped of cosmological understanding. Thus icons, cathedrals and images of gods function only within religious cosmology in contrast to the work of Gilbert and George which draws on an aesthetic devoid of, and antithetical to, religious cosmologies.

 
But the religious imperative, while prototypically expressed in religious tradition, also finds expression through art. In the contemporary context this can be seen especially in the work of artists such as Bill Viola who deals explicitly with the themes of transcendence and being born and dying and whose work attempts to penetrate the world of life. The idea of the artist as shaman who shows human communities something from another place is relevant here. The religious imperative shows us the proximity of art to religion and in the context of modernity shows how art outside of religious tradition nevertheless still deals with questions of transcendent meaning in human life.

Related: Religious Studies

Readings in Phenomenology 5

Professor Gavin Flood
20 Nov 2008

Phenomenology is one of the most important developments in philosophy in the twentieth century that has had a deep impact on Theology and Religious Studies. This seminar series seeks to engage with some of the literature and fundamental concepts of phenomenology which underlie much work in Theology and the Phenomenology of Religion. While the readings themselves are not directly about the Phenomenology of Religion, in order to understand the Phenomenology of Religion we need to address these fundamental ideas and to raise the basic questions of Phenomenology. The aim is not so much a comprehensive overview of the phenomenological movement, but rather an attempt to come to grips with key phenomenological ideas that influence Theology, the Phenomenology of Religion, and other areas in the human sciences. The series carries on from last year and will begin again with a reading from the ‘father of phenomenology’, Edmund Husserl’s The Crisis of European Sciences and Transcendental Phenomenology: An Introduction to Phenomenological Philosophy (Evanson: Northwestern University Press, 1970).

Related: Philosophy, Religious Studies

The importance of religion Lecture 1: Religion and spirituality

Professor Gavin Flood
23 Jan 2009

This series of lectures continues the series started in Michaelmas Term 2008.

Related: Religious Studies

Readings in phenomenology 1

Professor Gavin Flood
29 Jan 2009

This seminar series continues. This term we will focus on reading Paul Ricoeur's Tme and Narrative. This three volume work covers a great deal and raises questions about the nature of text, action, history, fiction, memory and the very nature of existence itself. These volumes provide a critical engagement with issues in historiography and theories of the text.

 
Bibliography
Ricoeur, Paul Time and Narrative vols 1-2. Trans by Kathleen McLaughlin and David Pellauer, University of Chicago Press, 1984-88.

 

Related: Philosophy, Religious Studies

The importance of religion Lecture 2: Religion and literature

Professor Gavin Flood
30 Jan 2009

This series of lectures continues the series started in Michaelmas Term 2008.

Related: Religious Studies

Readings in phenomenology 2

Professor Gavin Flood
5 Feb 2009

This seminar series continues. This term we will focus on reading Paul Ricoeu's Tme and Narrative. This three volume work covers a great deal and raises questions about the nature of text, action, history, fiction, memory and the very nature of existence itself. These volumes provide a critical engagement with issues in historiography and theories of the text.

 
Bibliography
Ricoeur, Paul Time and Narrative vols 1-2. Trans by Kathleen McLaughlin and David Pellauer, University of Chicago Press, 1984-88.

Related: Philosophy, Religious Studies

The importance of religion Lecture 3: Religion and music

Professor Gavin Flood
6 Feb 2009

This series of lectures continues the series started in Michaelmas Term 2008.

Related: Religious Studies

Readings in phenomenology 3

Professor Gavin Flood
12 Feb 2009

This seminar series continues. This term we will focus on reading Paul Ricoeur's Tme and Narrative. This three volume work covers a great deal and raises questions about the nature of text, action, history, fiction, memory and the very nature of existence itself. These volumes provide a critical engagement with issues in historiography and theories of the text.

 
Bibliography
Ricoeur, Paul Time and Narrative vols 1‚-2. Trans by Kathleen McLaughlin and David Pellauer, University of Chicago Press, 1984-88.

Related: Philosophy, Religious Studies

Religious experience in psychology, anthropology and sociology Lecture 1: Anthropology of religion and the religious imagination

Dr Jessica Frazier
13 Feb 2009

Many of the canonical names in anthropology have been criticised for their literary style and their tendency towards evocative narrative. Here we argue that this is not a methodological weakness, but the autonomous development of a conception of understanding in terms of imaginative empathy and inter-subjectivity, which parallels hermeneutic philosophy. Religious experiences are literally recreated in the reader, forming an intimate bond between the scholar and his or her subject.

Related: Religious experience, Religious Studies

Readings in phenomenology 4

Professor Gavin Flood
19 Feb 2009

This seminar series continues. This term we will focus on reading Paul Ricoeur's Tme and Narrative. This three volume work covers a great deal and raises questions about the nature of text, action, history, fiction, memory and the very nature of existence itself. These volumes provide a critical engagement with issues in historiography and theories of the text.

 
Bibliography
Ricoeur, Paul Time and Narrative vols 1-2. Trans by Kathleen McLaughlin and David Pellauer, University of Chicago Press, 1984-88.

Related: Philosophy, Religious Studies

Readings in phenomenology 5

Professor Gavin Flood
26 Feb 2009

This seminar series continues. This term we will focus on reading Paul Ricoeur's Tme and Narrative. This three volume work covers a great deal and raises questions about the nature of text, action, history, fiction, memory and the very nature of existence itself. These volumes provide a critical engagement with issues in historiography and theories of the text.

 
Bibliography
Ricoeur, Paul Time and Narrative vols 1-2. Trans by Kathleen McLaughlin and David Pellauer, University of Chicago Press, 1984-88.

Related: Philosophy, Religious Studies

Religious experience in psychology, anthropology and sociology Lecture 2: Psychology of religion and the cartography of belief

Dr Jessica Frazier
27 Feb 2009

Psychologists of religion from Jung to Freud, and Boyer and Laing, have produced speculative models of religious subjectivity, according to which the human mind appears variously as an ocean of symbols, a volcanic core wracked by powerful forces, a computational machine, or a shell through transcendence may occasionally break. Just as science posits its own models, so psychologists of religion use metaphors of spatial relations and fluid dynamics to provide a mapping of the self. We examine this mechanistic model, and also look at the way in which thinkers such as Jung and Boyer incorporate un-mappable territories as a crucial concession to the claims of religion itself.

Related: Religious experience, Religious Studies

Readings in phenomenology 6

Professor Gavin Flood
5 Mar 2009

This seminar series continues. This term we will focus on reading Paul Ricoeur's Tme and Narrative. This three volume work covers a great deal and raises questions about the nature of text, action, history, fiction, memory and the very nature of existence itself. These volumes provide a critical engagement with issues in historiography and theories of the text.

 
Bibliography
Ricoeur, Paul Time and Narrative vols 1-2. Trans by Kathleen McLaughlin and David Pellauer, University of Chicago Press, 1984-88.

Related: Philosophy, Religious Studies

Religious experience in psychology, anthropology and sociology Lecture 3: Sociology of religion and the force of the individual

Dr Jessica Frazier
6 Mar 2009

The necessity of analysing religious influences on society has meant that key sociologists from Marx to Durkheim and Weber insisted on the significance of mood, motivation, and individual agency as the heart of any idea of society change. Religious feeling is thus one of the cornerstones enabling their theorisation of social dynamics. Here we look at sociological models for studying subjectivity as an autonomous ‘centre’ of dynamism and force, the beating heart of grand-scale movements of history.

Related: Religious experience, Religious Studies

Readings in phenomenology 7

Professor Gavin Flood
12 Mar 2009

This seminar series continues. This term we will focus on reading Paul Ricoeur's Tme and Narrative. This three volume work covers a great deal and raises questions about the nature of text, action, history, fiction, memory and the very nature of existence itself. These volumes provide a critical engagement with issues in historiography and theories of the text.

 
Bibliography
Ricoeur, Paul Time and Narrative vols 1-2. Trans by Kathleen McLaughlin and David Pellauer, University of Chicago Press, 1984-88.

Related: Philosophy, Religious Studies

Readings in Phenomenology 1

Professor Gavin Flood
7 May 2009

Phenomenology is one of the most important developments in philosophy in the twentieth century that has had a deep impact on theology and religious studies. This seminar series seeks to engage with some of the fundamental concepts of phenomenology which underlie much work in theology and the phenomenology of religion

Related: Philosophy, Religious Studies

Readings in Phenomenology 2

Professor Gavin Flood
14 May 2009

Phenomenology is one of the most important developments in philosophy in the twentieth century that has had a deep impact on theology and religious studies. This seminar series seeks to engage with some of the fundamental concepts of phenomenology which underlie much work in theology and the phenomenology of religion

Related: Philosophy, Religious Studies

Readings in Phenomenology 3

Professor Gavin Flood
21 May 2009

Phenomenology is one of the most important developments in philosophy in the twentieth century that has had a deep impact on theology and religious studies. This seminar series seeks to engage with some of the fundamental concepts of phenomenology which underlie much work in theology and the phenomenology of religion

Related: Philosophy, Religious Studies

Readings in Phenomenology 4

Professor Gavin Flood
28 May 2009

Phenomenology is one of the most important developments in philosophy in the twentieth century that has had a deep impact on theology and religious studies. This seminar series seeks to engage with some of the fundamental concepts of phenomenology which underlie much work in theology and the phenomenology of religion

Related: Philosophy, Religious Studies

Readings in Phenomenology 5

Professor Gavin Flood
4 Jun 2009

Phenomenology is one of the most important developments in philosophy in the twentieth century that has had a deep impact on theology and religious studies. This seminar series seeks to engage with some of the fundamental concepts of phenomenology which underlie much work in theology and the phenomenology of religion

Related: Philosophy, Religious Studies

Readings in Phenomenology 6

Professor Gavin Flood
11 Jun 2009

Phenomenology is one of the most important developments in philosophy in the twentieth century that has had a deep impact on theology and religious studies. This seminar series seeks to engage with some of the fundamental concepts of phenomenology which underlie much work in theology and the phenomenology of religion

Related: Philosophy, Religious Studies

Readings in Phenomenology 7

Professor Gavin Flood
18 Jun 2009

Phenomenology is one of the most important developments in philosophy in the twentieth century that has had a deep impact on theology and religious studies. This seminar series seeks to engage with some of the fundamental concepts of phenomenology which underlie much work in theology and the phenomenology of religion

Related: Philosophy, Religious Studies

Readings in Phenomenology 1

Professor Gavin Flood
22 Oct 2009

Phenomenology is one of the most important developments in philosophy in the twentieth century that has had a deep impact on theology and religious studies. This seminar series seeks to engage with some of the literature and fundamental concepts of phenomenology which underlie much work in theology and the phenomenology of religion. While the readings themselves are not directly about the phenomenology of religion, in order to understand it, we need to address these fundamental ideas and raise the basic questions of phenomenology. The aim is not so much a comprehensive overview of the phenomenological movement, but rather an attempt to come to grips with key phenomenological ideas that influence theology, the phenomenology of religion, and other areas in the human sciences.

Related: Philosophy, Religious Studies

Readings in Phenomenology 2

Professor Gavin Flood
29 Oct 2009

Phenomenology is one of the most important developments in philosophy in the twentieth century that has had a deep impact on theology and religious studies. This seminar series seeks to engage with some of the literature and fundamental concepts of phenomenology which underlie much work in theology and the phenomenology of religion. While the readings themselves are not directly about the phenomenology of religion, in order to understand it, we need to address these fundamental ideas and raise the basic questions of phenomenology. The aim is not so much a comprehensive overview of the phenomenological movement, but rather an attempt to come to grips with key phenomenological ideas that influence theology, the phenomenology of religion, and other areas in the human sciences.

Related: Philosophy, Religious Studies

Readings in Phenomenology 3

Professor Gavin Flood
5 Nov 2009

Phenomenology is one of the most important developments in philosophy in the twentieth century that has had a deep impact on theology and religious studies. This seminar series seeks to engage with some of the literature and fundamental concepts of phenomenology which underlie much work in theology and the phenomenology of religion. While the readings themselves are not directly about the phenomenology of religion, in order to understand it, we need to address these fundamental ideas and raise the basic questions of phenomenology. The aim is not so much a comprehensive overview of the phenomenological movement, but rather an attempt to come to grips with key phenomenological ideas that influence theology, the phenomenology of religion, and other areas in the human sciences.

Related: Philosophy, Religious Studies

Readings in Phenomenology 4

Professor Gavin Flood
12 Nov 2009

Phenomenology is one of the most important developments in philosophy in the twentieth century that has had a deep impact on theology and religious studies. This seminar series seeks to engage with some of the literature and fundamental concepts of phenomenology which underlie much work in theology and the phenomenology of religion. While the readings themselves are not directly about the phenomenology of religion, in order to understand it, we need to address these fundamental ideas and raise the basic questions of phenomenology. The aim is not so much a comprehensive overview of the phenomenological movement, but rather an attempt to come to grips with key phenomenological ideas that influence theology, the phenomenology of religion, and other areas in the human sciences.

Related: Philosophy, Religious Studies

Readings in Phenomenology 5

Professor Gavin Flood
19 Nov 2009

Phenomenology is one of the most important developments in philosophy in the twentieth century that has had a deep impact on theology and religious studies. This seminar series seeks to engage with some of the literature and fundamental concepts of phenomenology which underlie much work in theology and the phenomenology of religion. While the readings themselves are not directly about the phenomenology of religion, in order to understand it, we need to address these fundamental ideas and raise the basic questions of phenomenology. The aim is not so much a comprehensive overview of the phenomenological movement, but rather an attempt to come to grips with key phenomenological ideas that influence theology, the phenomenology of religion, and other areas in the human sciences.

Related: Philosophy, Religious Studies

Readings in Phenomenology 6

Professor Gavin Flood
26 Nov 2009

Phenomenology is one of the most important developments in philosophy in the twentieth century that has had a deep impact on theology and religious studies. This seminar series seeks to engage with some of the literature and fundamental concepts of phenomenology which underlie much work in theology and the phenomenology of religion. While the readings themselves are not directly about the phenomenology of religion, in order to understand it, we need to address these fundamental ideas and raise the basic questions of phenomenology. The aim is not so much a comprehensive overview of the phenomenological movement, but rather an attempt to come to grips with key phenomenological ideas that influence theology, the phenomenology of religion, and other areas in the human sciences.

Related: Philosophy, Religious Studies

Readings in Phenomenology 7

Professor Gavin Flood
3 Dec 2009

Phenomenology is one of the most important developments in philosophy in the twentieth century that has had a deep impact on theology and religious studies. This seminar series seeks to engage with some of the literature and fundamental concepts of phenomenology which underlie much work in theology and the phenomenology of religion. While the readings themselves are not directly about the phenomenology of religion, in order to understand it, we need to address these fundamental ideas and raise the basic questions of phenomenology. The aim is not so much a comprehensive overview of the phenomenological movement, but rather an attempt to come to grips with key phenomenological ideas that influence theology, the phenomenology of religion, and other areas in the human sciences.

Related: Philosophy, Religious Studies

Readings in Phenomenology: Session One

Professor Gavin Flood
28 Jan 2010

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Readings in Phenomenology: Session Two

Professor Gavin Flood
4 Feb 2010

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Readings in Phenomenology: Session Three

Professor Gavin Flood
11 Feb 2010

Related: Philosophy, Religious Studies

Readings in Phenomenology: Session Four

Professor Gavin Flood
18 Feb 2010

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Readings in Phenomenology: Session Five

Professor Gavin Flood
25 Feb 2010

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Readings in Phenomenology: Session Six

Professor Gavin Flood
4 Mar 2010

Related: Philosophy, Religious Studies

Readings in Phenomenology: Session Seven

Professor Gavin Flood
11 Mar 2010

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Readings in Phenomenology: Session One

Professor Gavin Flood
29 Apr 2010

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Readings in Phenomenology: Session Two

Professor Gavin Flood
6 May 2010

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Readings in Phenomenology: Session Three

Professor Gavin Flood
13 May 2010

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Readings in Phenomenology: Session Four

Professor Gavin Flood
20 May 2010

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Readings in Phenomenology: Session One

Professor Gavin Flood
14 Oct 2010

Phenomenology is one of the most important developments in philosophy in the twentieth century that has had a deep impact on Theology and Religious Studies. This seminar series seeks to engage with some of the literature and fundamental concepts of phenomenology which underlie much work in Theology and the Phenomenology of Religion. While the readings themselves are not directly about the Phenomenology of Religion, in order to understand the Phenomenology of Religion we need to address these fundamental ideas and to raise the basic questions of Phenomenology. The aim is not so much a comprehensive overview of the phenomenological movement, but rather an attempt to come to grips with key phenomenological ideas that influence Theology, the Phenomenology of Religion, and other areas in the human sciences.

 
This term we will be reading Gabriel Marcel The Mystery of Being (Le mystère de l’être).

Related: Philosophy, Religious Studies

Readings in Phenomenology: Session Two

Professor Gavin Flood
21 Oct 2010

Phenomenology is one of the most important developments in philosophy in the twentieth century that has had a deep impact on Theology and Religious Studies. This seminar series seeks to engage with some of the literature and fundamental concepts of phenomenology which underlie much work in Theology and the Phenomenology of Religion. While the readings themselves are not directly about the Phenomenology of Religion, in order to understand the Phenomenology of Religion we need to address these fundamental ideas and to raise the basic questions of Phenomenology. The aim is not so much a comprehensive overview of the phenomenological movement, but rather an attempt to come to grips with key phenomenological ideas that influence Theology, the Phenomenology of Religion, and other areas in the human sciences.

 
This term we will be reading Gabriel Marcel The Mystery of Being (Le mystère de l’être).

Related: Philosophy, Religious Studies

Readings in Phenomenology: Session Three

Professor Gavin Flood
28 Oct 2010

Phenomenology is one of the most important developments in philosophy in the twentieth century that has had a deep impact on Theology and Religious Studies. This seminar series seeks to engage with some of the literature and fundamental concepts of phenomenology which underlie much work in Theology and the Phenomenology of Religion. While the readings themselves are not directly about the Phenomenology of Religion, in order to understand the Phenomenology of Religion we need to address these fundamental ideas and to raise the basic questions of Phenomenology. The aim is not so much a comprehensive overview of the phenomenological movement, but rather an attempt to come to grips with key phenomenological ideas that influence Theology, the Phenomenology of Religion, and other areas in the human sciences.

 
This term we will be reading Gabriel Marcel The Mystery of Being (Le mystère de l’être).

Related: Philosophy, Religious Studies

Readings in Phenomenology: Session Four

Professor Gavin Flood
4 Nov 2010

Phenomenology is one of the most important developments in philosophy in the twentieth century that has had a deep impact on Theology and Religious Studies. This seminar series seeks to engage with some of the literature and fundamental concepts of phenomenology which underlie much work in Theology and the Phenomenology of Religion. While the readings themselves are not directly about the Phenomenology of Religion, in order to understand the Phenomenology of Religion we need to address these fundamental ideas and to raise the basic questions of Phenomenology. The aim is not so much a comprehensive overview of the phenomenological movement, but rather an attempt to come to grips with key phenomenological ideas that influence Theology, the Phenomenology of Religion, and other areas in the human sciences.

 
This term we will be reading Gabriel Marcel The Mystery of Being (Le mystère de l’être).

Related: Philosophy, Religious Studies

Readings in Phenomenology: Session Five

Professor Gavin Flood
11 Nov 2010

Phenomenology is one of the most important developments in philosophy in the twentieth century that has had a deep impact on Theology and Religious Studies. This seminar series seeks to engage with some of the literature and fundamental concepts of phenomenology which underlie much work in Theology and the Phenomenology of Religion. While the readings themselves are not directly about the Phenomenology of Religion, in order to understand the Phenomenology of Religion we need to address these fundamental ideas and to raise the basic questions of Phenomenology. The aim is not so much a comprehensive overview of the phenomenological movement, but rather an attempt to come to grips with key phenomenological ideas that influence Theology, the Phenomenology of Religion, and other areas in the human sciences.

 
This term we will be reading Gabriel Marcel The Mystery of Being (Le mystère de l’être).

Related: Philosophy, Religious Studies

Readings in Phenomenology: Session Six

Professor Gavin Flood
18 Nov 2010

Phenomenology is one of the most important developments in philosophy in the twentieth century that has had a deep impact on Theology and Religious Studies. This seminar series seeks to engage with some of the literature and fundamental concepts of phenomenology which underlie much work in Theology and the Phenomenology of Religion. While the readings themselves are not directly about the Phenomenology of Religion, in order to understand the Phenomenology of Religion we need to address these fundamental ideas and to raise the basic questions of Phenomenology. The aim is not so much a comprehensive overview of the phenomenological movement, but rather an attempt to come to grips with key phenomenological ideas that influence Theology, the Phenomenology of Religion, and other areas in the human sciences.

 
This term we will be reading Gabriel Marcel The Mystery of Being (Le mystère de l’être).

Related: Philosophy, Religious Studies

Readings in Phenomenology: Gadamer's ‘Truth and Method’, Session One

Professor Gavin Flood
24 Jan 2011

Related: Philosophy, Religious Studies

Readings in Phenomenology: Gadamer's ‘Truth and Method’, Session Two

Professor Gavin Flood
31 Jan 2011

Related: Philosophy, Religious Studies

Readings in Phenomenology: Gadamer's ‘Truth and Method’, Session Three

Professor Gavin Flood
7 Feb 2011

Related: Philosophy, Religious Studies

Readings in Phenomenology: Gadamer's ‘Truth and Method’, Session Four

Professor Gavin Flood
14 Feb 2011

Related: Philosophy, Religious Studies

Readings in Phenomenology: Gadamer's ‘Truth and Method’, Session Five

Professor Gavin Flood
21 Feb 2011

Related: Philosophy, Religious Studies

Readings in Phenomenology: Gadamer's ‘Truth and Method’, Session Six

Professor Gavin Flood
28 Feb 2011

Related: Philosophy, Religious Studies

Readings in Phenomenology: Gadamer's ‘Truth and Method’, Session Seven

Professor Gavin Flood
7 Mar 2011

Related: Philosophy, Religious Studies

Readings in Phenomenology Session 1

Professor Gavin Flood
5 May 2011

Related: Philosophy, Religious Studies

Approaches to Religion 1: Phenomenology

Professor Gavin Flood
5 May 2011

This seminar will discuss the foundational ideas of the phenomenology of religion derived from Husserl, namely bracketing (the epoche), the reduction to essences, and the transcendental reduction. We will raise questions as to the viability of this approach.

Related: Religious Studies

The Relationship Between Religious Experience and Religious Belief: Essentialism, Scholarly Naivety, or Logical Positivism?

Mysticism Seminar/Interdisciplinary Seminar for the Study of Religions
Dr Gregory Shushan
9 May 2011

In recent decades, the study of ‘religious’ or ‘mystical’ experiences has been criticised by postmodern scholars who argue that because all experience is dependent upon language and culture, it is unintelligible to speak at all of some cross-culturally comparable event called ‘religious experience’. Because experience cannot precede culture, such scholars assert that it is ‘naive’ or otherwise methodologically or theoretically unsound to claim that the origins of religious beliefs can lie in ‘religious’ experience. Furthermore, the argument goes, in claiming that there is such a thing as cross-culturally comparable ‘religious’ experience, we leave the realm of the (ostensibly) objective Study of Religions, and cross the boundary into a kind of universalist theology. The issue thus intersects with various other theoretical problems at the core of the Study of Religions, including comparison per se, and views that the term ‘religion’ itself is a theologising construct. In defence of the study of ‘religious’ experience, this paper attempts to demonstrate the weaknesses in these arguments, firstly by showing that they are based upon a number of mutually-reliant but unproven axioms (themselves culturally-situated within a particular anti-scientific academic paradigm); and by giving cross-cultural examples which show a clear connection between ‘religious’ experience and religious beliefs (with particular reference to near-death experiences). 

Dr. Gregory Shushan is Perrott-Warrick Researcher at the Ian Ramsey Centre for Science and Religion, University of Oxford, researching comparative afterlife beliefs in small-scale societies worldwide in the contexts of shamanic and near-death experiences. His book, Conceptions of the Afterlife in Early Civilizations: Universalism, Constructivism, and Near-Death Experience (Continuum Advances in Religious Studies, 2009) was nominated for the 2010 Grawemeyer Award. 

Related: Comparative Theology, Mysticism, Religious Studies

Readings in Phenomenology Session 2

Professor Gavin Flood
12 May 2011

Related: Philosophy, Religious Studies

Approaches to Religion 2: Sociology

Professor Gavin Flood
12 May 2011

In this seminar we will reflect on Sociology as a discourse inseparable from Modernity. We will discuss the key ideas of rationalisation (Weber) and reification (Lukacs, Honneth). We will also consider sociology in the Indian context (Madan). 

Related: Religious Studies

Readings in Phenomenology Session 3

Professor Gavin Flood
19 May 2011

Related: Philosophy, Religious Studies

Readings in Phenomenology Session 4

Professor Gavin Flood
26 May 2011

Related: Philosophy, Religious Studies

Approaches to Religion 3: Politics

Professor Gavin Flood
2 Jun 2011

The third seminar will discuss the relation of religion to politics and the place of religion in the public sphere. We will look at the idea of the critique of religion as emancipatory critique (Nietzsche, Foucault), the exclusion of women from the symbolic order (Kristeva, Irigaray) and how this is articulated in India (Manushi). 

Related: Religious Studies

Approaches to Religion 4: Semiotics

Professor Gavin Flood
9 Jun 2011

Our last seminar will examine the importance of the philosophy of the sign in the study of religions. A key thinker here who we will look at is Bakhtin introduced to the West by Julia Kristeva.

Related: Religious Studies

How Can Religion Be Studied in South Asian Universities? Or Should It Be?

Shivdasani Lecture
Professor Joseph T. O’Connell
10 Jun 2011

There is a striking disparity between the prominence of religious factors in personal and collective life of so much of the population of South Asian countries and the extreme rarity of study and research explicitly on religion in the universities of those same countries. This anomalous disparity has recently become a subject of concern to a number of scholars within South Asia as well as to some elsewhere who focus their own scholarship on religion in South Asia. This lecture notes several contributory factors (European origin, cultural differences, colonial precedents, novelty and lack of teachers, teaching resources and teaching positions) but gives primary attention to fear and hostility between religio-political communalist and secularist mentalities and interests as inhibiting academic study of religion.

Related: Religious Studies

The Importance of Aurobindo for the Contemporary Study of Religion

Graduate Seminar
Brainerd Prince
8 Feb 2012

The contemporary academic study of religion, dominated by both a call for the abandonment of the category ‘Religion’ and the dismantling of the discipline of Religious Studies, is thus faced with an impasse. In this paper, I explore the conditions that have brought about this impasse and argue that Aurobindo’s integralism offers a way forward.

 
Brainerd Prince is completing his PhD on Sri Aurobindo's Integral Philosophy under Professor Gavin Flood. He has interests in phenomenology and hermeneutics and in reconceiving the academic study of religion.

Related: Hindu Theology, Modern Hinduism, Religious Studies