Heretical Religiosity

A special issue of Religions (ISSN 2077-1444). This special issue belongs to the section "Religions and Theologies".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 August 2024 | Viewed by 2712

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Guest Editor
The Ben-Gurion Research Institute for the Study of Israel and Zionism, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva P.O. Box 653, Israel
Interests: European intellectual history; political theology; Mediterranean and Israel studies

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

“Heretical religiosity” represents a particular theological position which perceives religiosity as being independent of traditional social structures or normative world-views. During the 20th century, an increasing number of scholars and religious thinkers, such as Gershom Scholem and Martin Buber, perceived antinomian, better metanomian religious sensibilities as a radical revalorization of the homo religious, indeed as a crucial moment in the renewal in a religious commitment that may be characterized and analyzed as “heretical religiosity”. 

There are many ways to understand religious heresy, for example, apostatic, when one rejects faith altogether; dogmatic, when one rejects tenets of faith or interprets them in a non-orthodox manner; and lastly, autocratic, when one rejects the order that regulates faith, the faithful and the legitimacy of its priests. The three are related and are interwoven into one another, and when one speaks of “heretical religiosity”, the heretic zeal can address all of them. Yet, it is not by chance that usually heresy does not address non-believers or atheists. Heresy is taken seriously precisely because it has a point, which, if not qualified, poses a particular challenge to religious faith and allegiance. 

“Heretical religiosity” embodies a dual and perhaps conflicting passion: to take part in history and share normative beliefs and at the same time to rebel against them and harness this rebellion to modernity. Although one can find precedents for this phenomenon in the history of ideas and in the history of religions before modern times, it is only with modernity and, paradoxically, with the advent of rapid secularization that one finds “heretical religiosity” at full strength. Their point of departure was prompted by a troubled consciousness of the death of God which developed increasingly from the eighteenth century and during the nineteenth century, the period in which the philosophical criticism and religious skepticism of the “young Hegelians” penetrated intellectual circles. The phenomenon reached its climax, however, with Nietzsche and his declaration that “God is dead”. Parallel with the widespread belief that the liquidation of the concept of “God” was the official birth of secularism, “heretical religiosity” suggests another possibility, different from the “religious” and “secular” positions. 

We request that, prior to submitting a manuscript, interested authors initially submit a proposed title and an abstract of 200–300 words summarizing their intended contribution. Please send it to the Guest Editor ([email protected] and [email protected]) or to the Religions editorial office ([email protected]). Abstracts will be reviewed by the Guest Editor for the purposes of ensuring proper fit within the scope of the Special Issue. Full manuscripts will undergo double-blind peer-review.

Prof. Dr. David Ohana
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • Nihilism
  • homo religious
  • antinomianism heresy
  • Max Schiller
  • Gershom Scholem
  • Martin Buber
  • Friedrich Nietzsche
 

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

13 pages, 5730 KiB  
Article
Rabbi Nachman’s Sonic Schemes
by Assaf Shelleg
Religions 2024, 15(4), 466; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15040466 - 9 Apr 2024
Viewed by 542
Abstract
This article discusses Tzvi Avni’s Second Piano Sonata, Epitaph, a sonic commentary on one of the inner tales in Rabbi Nachman’s “The Seven Beggars”. Written between 1974 and 1979, Epitaph not only marks the composer’s act of translation (from words into music [...] Read more.
This article discusses Tzvi Avni’s Second Piano Sonata, Epitaph, a sonic commentary on one of the inner tales in Rabbi Nachman’s “The Seven Beggars”. Written between 1974 and 1979, Epitaph not only marks the composer’s act of translation (from words into music and from a textual tale into a wordless and semantically unmarked piano sonata) but also his very turn to ethnographic sources that defied their negative function in a national territorial culture that vilified otherness while separating art from ethnography. Avni’s turn to Rabbi Nachman was part of a bigger shift that saw composers’ dialectical returns to Jewish histories and cultures that were previously repressed from a national culture which dehistoricized the Diaspora to the point of rendering the times and cultures of diasporic Jews a single temporality—ahistorical, contextless, and outside the teleological time of Zionism. With the (re)introduction of diasporic temporalities, non-redemptive poetics became an affordance in the music of Avni or Andre Hajdu (who is also discussed here) while steadily muting the territorial tropes that constituted Hebrew culture. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Heretical Religiosity)
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12 pages, 235 KiB  
Article
The Doctrine of Exemplarism: A Symbolic Attempt to Escape the Pelagian Heresy
by Liran Shia Gordon
Religions 2023, 14(12), 1494; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14121494 - 1 Dec 2023
Viewed by 1111
Abstract
Heresies are intrinsically intertwined with the evolution and inner growth of the very religions that denounce them. They serve as theological junctures, challenging and thus refining the orthodoxy of religious beliefs. The Pelagian heresy touches on one of the central tenets of Christian [...] Read more.
Heresies are intrinsically intertwined with the evolution and inner growth of the very religions that denounce them. They serve as theological junctures, challenging and thus refining the orthodoxy of religious beliefs. The Pelagian heresy touches on one of the central tenets of Christian theology: the question of salvation. Pelagianism posits that human beings retain freedom of the will and, more specifically, the capacity to earn salvation through their own merits rather than relying solely on the grace of God in Christ. This stands in contrast to the predominant Christian view that Original Sin fundamentally impaired man’s will and intellect. A central tenet of Christianity is that through His suffering and death on the Cross, Christ atoned for humanity’s Original Sin and paved the way for our redemption. But what exactly made this redemption possible through the suffering and death on the Cross? Unlike many of the answers offered, Abelard’s explanation, also referred to as exemplarism, resonates with modern sensibilities: Christ set an example to imitate, and through this imitation, man learns humility and love. However, this stance faced criticism and was condemned by Bernard of Clairvaux as having Pelagian tendencies because it suggests that Christ’s redemptive work might not inherently require Christ’s divine nature. This study will attempt to defend the exemplaristic approach while ensuring Christ’s essential role and addressing criticisms against the Pelagian heresy. This discussion is further enriched by an examination of the Eucharist, illuminating the theological tension between symbolic and realistic interpretations of religious rites. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Heretical Religiosity)
12 pages, 287 KiB  
Article
Like Giants Sitting on the Dwarf’s Shoulders: Religious Anarchism and the Making of Modern Zionist Historiography
by Yossef Schwartz
Religions 2023, 14(10), 1239; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14101239 - 26 Sep 2023
Viewed by 706
Abstract
German and Central European Jews shaped many primary Jewish responses to modernity. The religious renewal, or the alleged “Jewish Renaissance” among German Jews in the first decades of the 20th century, offers a radical encounter with tradition as part of Jewish modernism. In [...] Read more.
German and Central European Jews shaped many primary Jewish responses to modernity. The religious renewal, or the alleged “Jewish Renaissance” among German Jews in the first decades of the 20th century, offers a radical encounter with tradition as part of Jewish modernism. In this paper, I aim to examine a group of revolutionary young intellectual anarchists, striving for a new religious excitement free of the traditional binding part of established religions. In various forms, religiosity became the only possible way of radical political thinking, a kind of antinomian liberation theology. In the absence of traditional communal ties of orthodox praxis and systematic theological speculation, these political intellectuals turn to historical discourse as their leading theological super-structure. Their critique of modernism was merged into a nostalgic rethinking of pre-modern religious forms and cultural patterns. The Zionists among them contributed much to the ammunition of the sacred covenant of Land, Blood, disrespect toward any form of legal normativity, and solid messianic expectation. This fatal combination is responsible for many disturbing elements in the contemporary Israeli public sphere. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Heretical Religiosity)
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