Special Issue "Public Discourse and Orthodox Christianity"

A special issue of Religions (ISSN 2077-1444).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 March 2022) | Viewed by 2842

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Patrick Michelson
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Religious Studies, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405, USA
Interests: modern Russian Orthodox thought; modern European Christian thought; intellectual history of modern Russia and Europe; theories of religion; history of religious studies

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues, 

This Special Issue of Religions explores the complex relationship between public discourse and Orthodox Christianity, with an emphasis on how these two categories, broadly conceived, shape and inform each other. One of the impetuses behind this volume is the “return” of Orthodox Christianity, over the past thirty years, to places of public prominence, especially in Eastern Europe and the Russian Federation, as well as contemporary efforts to reclaim some form of historical Orthodoxy, however imagined, as the foundation of today’s public Orthodoxy. Another impetus is the growing presence of Orthodox Christianity in public discourses outside cultures and societies conventionally recognized as Orthodox, mainly through the establishment of university-affiliated centers and fellowships, outreach programs, public forums, and social media.

The disciplinary scope of this volume includes anthropology, history, literary studies, and theology. Its chronological frame is broadly modern (circa 1700–present), and its geographical frame ranges from the local to the global.

General topics of this volume include:

  • How Orthodox theologians, thinkers, and, more broadly, parishioners understand or imagine the public (and the private);
  • The ways in which scholars, musicians, writers, filmmakers, artists, and/or social media influencers help to set the terms of public discourse about Orthodox Christianity;
  • The ways in which Orthodox theologies, doctrines, liturgies and/or practices help to frame the contours and fix the boundaries of public discourse, as well as how they challenge and push beyond the established contours and boundaries of public discourse;
  • How advocates for a particular understanding of Orthodox Christianity—whether “liberal” or “conservative”, “modernist” or “traditional”—have sought or are presently seeking to bring their version of Orthodox Christianity more firmly and actively into the public sphere;
  • The relationship between public discourse and Orthodox Christianity within ostensibly Orthodox cultures and societies, e.g., Russia and Romania, as well as outside such cultures and societies, e.g., France and the United States;
  • Whether the categories themselves, i.e., the categories “public discourse” and “Orthodox Christianity”, are stable and discrete enough to be understood and examined as separate categories.

Dr. Patrick Michelson
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Religions is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1200 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Orthodox Christianity
  • Orthodox theologies
  • doctrines
  • liturgies
  • public discourse

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

Article
Saints, Heroes, and the ‘Other’: Value Orientations of Contemporary Greek Orthodoxy
Religions 2022, 13(4), 360; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13040360 - 14 Apr 2022
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Abstract
This article examines contemporary public discourses and practices of clerical and lay actors who are mainly members of the Orthodox Church of Greece. First, it explains the ubiquitous presence of the Church in the Greek public sphere with reference to its religious functions [...] Read more.
This article examines contemporary public discourses and practices of clerical and lay actors who are mainly members of the Orthodox Church of Greece. First, it explains the ubiquitous presence of the Church in the Greek public sphere with reference to its religious functions and to its close association with both the state and the nation. Then, it shows how different interpretations of the category of the person support contrasting visions about the Church’s role in today’s world. On the one hand, those who espouse ethnoreligious schemata of thought promote the heroic figures of the Neomartyr and Ethnomartyr in their attempt to secure the institutional power of the Church and legitimize its role as ‘ark of the nation’. On the other hand, actors who are motivated by a desire to bring the Church into a constructive dialogue with modernity and the secular world employ the postmodern idea and value of the ‘Other’, which they link to the religious value of the neighbor. Finally, the paper calls attention to the social conditions that make ecclesiastical and social strata prone to support one of the above visions for the Church. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Public Discourse and Orthodox Christianity)
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Article
The Orthodox Church, Neosecularisation, and the Rise of Anti-Gender Politics in Bulgaria
Religions 2022, 13(4), 359; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13040359 - 13 Apr 2022
Viewed by 657
Abstract
In a recent publication, I introduced the theoretical framework of neosecularisation with regard to the Orthodox Church and society in Bulgaria. I argued that neosecularisation, as a complex process of decline of religion’s importance and the hold of religious authority over the social [...] Read more.
In a recent publication, I introduced the theoretical framework of neosecularisation with regard to the Orthodox Church and society in Bulgaria. I argued that neosecularisation, as a complex process of decline of religion’s importance and the hold of religious authority over the social system, while genealogically different from communist secularisation, explicates patterns of continuity with the communist past. Important aspects of this continuity include the persistent grassroots feminisation of the Church and the co-optation of the Church by the state. Drawing on those theoretical insights, in this paper, I seek to understand the rise of anti-gender politics in Bulgaria since 2018 in relation to the condition of neosecularisation and its impact on the Church. I argue that (neo)secularisation remains a much feared “threat” for the Church and plays a role in ecclesiastical anti-gender mobilisation. However, the Church is not a major factor in anti-gender politics in Bulgaria; the roles of far-right nationalists and certain transnationally connected evangelical actors are to be seriously considered. Furthermore, anti-genderism cannot be understood merely as a religious or cultural backlash. It needs to be discussed as a larger protest movement against liberal democracy’s failure to live up to its promises and against the pathologies of neoliberal globalisation, a movement in which the Orthodox Church is only tangentially involved. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Public Discourse and Orthodox Christianity)
Article
Dark Theology as an Approach to Reassembling the Church
Religions 2022, 13(4), 324; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13040324 - 06 Apr 2022
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Abstract
Dark theology as a theoretical approach emerged during debates on human rights and inclusion in Orthodox theology. It is realized at the junction of such disciplines as ecclesiology, political theology, philosophy, and social theory. It is based on the tools of object-oriented ontology [...] Read more.
Dark theology as a theoretical approach emerged during debates on human rights and inclusion in Orthodox theology. It is realized at the junction of such disciplines as ecclesiology, political theology, philosophy, and social theory. It is based on the tools of object-oriented ontology (OOO), one of the branches of the philosophy of speculative realism. The author proposes a theoretical framework by which we can talk about God and supernatural entities as real objects included in public discourses through the collective imagination. The article discovers the basic theoretical (ontological, epistemological, and aesthetic) principles of dark theology as they apply to ecclesiology and political theology. Additionally, it discusses the existence of church dark actors who do not come within the field of vision of the theological mind (ecclesiology) illuminating ecclesial space. The author concludes by proposing a concept of reassembling the Church based on Bruno Latour’s notion of the ‘collective’. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Public Discourse and Orthodox Christianity)
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