Special Issue "Phenomenological Studies of Religious Life"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 November 2018)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. George Pattison

Theology and Religious Studies, 4 The Square, University of Glasgow, G12 8QQ, UK
Website | E-Mail
Interests: History of ideas (German idealism, phenomenology, existentialism); phenomenology of Christianity; Russian religious philosophy; Kierkegaard; Heidegger; Dostoevsky

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue of Religions is dedicated to exploring new ways of applying phenomenology to religious life. This wording reflects the view that the phenomenology of religion typical of the mid-20th century assumed a homogeneity amongst the phenomena grouped together under the rubric of ‘religion’ that is no longer tenable. Subsequent critiques of the notion of religion now require a more nuanced approach that sees ‘religion’ as a useful but vague general pointer to a range of variously connected phenomena. It is for this reason that (following the early Heidegger) the term ‘religious life’ has been chosen. Whilst this means abandoning (or, at least, putting on hold) the search for a general account of the essence of religion, a contemporary phenomenology may still find religious phenomena as illuminative of a range of human possibilities. Such approaches have shown themselves to be especially fruitful with regard to the notion of ‘self’ and questions of language and communication. In addition to self. Language, and communication essays are invited on such topics as religious experience and mysticism, religious practice, the re-evaluation of the phenomenological tradition, and the intersection of phenomenology, religion, and psychiatry and may include both Western and non-Western applications.

The development of phenomenological approaches to religion/religious life is currently in a dynamic and plural phase and the volume will contribute to showing the range of possibilities currently opening up in the field. While some may wish to explore phenomenology as capable of offering ontological illumination of the human condition, others may find its limits in setting out a field or fields of possibilities that require further interpretation or supplementation by other scientific approaches, from theology to cognitive science

Prof. Dr. George Pattison
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • Religion
  • phenomenology
  • religious practice - self
  • action/passion- subjectivity
  • mysticism
  • worship

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle A Theological Phenomenology of Listening: God’s ‘Voice’ and ‘Silence’ after Auschwitz
Religions 2019, 10(3), 139; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10030139
Received: 20 December 2018 / Revised: 12 February 2019 / Accepted: 13 February 2019 / Published: 26 February 2019
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Abstract
This paper develops a theological phenomenology of listening by exploring the following questions: First, what is the relation, in prayer, between speech and silence? Second, may we legitimately determine prayer as a ‘dialogue’ with God? Third, what does it mean to speak of [...] Read more.
This paper develops a theological phenomenology of listening by exploring the following questions: First, what is the relation, in prayer, between speech and silence? Second, may we legitimately determine prayer as a ‘dialogue’ with God? Third, what does it mean to speak of God’s ‘silence’ after Auschwitz—is God completely ‘absent’ or just ‘hidden’? Fourth, how can we identify what God wants us to say and do, and how can we know whether a prayer has been answered? Texts by Jewish, Christian, and Muslim authors (from Rûmî via Luther, Kierkegaard, and Chrétien to Buber, Fackenheim, Levinas, and Derrida) provide the basis for the discussion. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Phenomenological Studies of Religious Life)
Open AccessArticle Existentialism, Epiphany, and Polyphony in Dostoevsky’s Post-Siberian Novels
Religions 2019, 10(1), 59; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10010059
Received: 3 December 2018 / Revised: 9 January 2019 / Accepted: 11 January 2019 / Published: 17 January 2019
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Abstract
Dostoevsky can be meaningfully read as a defender of Russian Orthodoxy; a psychologist; a polemicizing anti-nihilist ideologue; a Schillerian romantic; a Solovyovian believer in love, goodness, and beauty; a prophet. I approach Dostoevsky through a new lens—Dostoevsky as an existential phenomenologist. Although writers [...] Read more.
Dostoevsky can be meaningfully read as a defender of Russian Orthodoxy; a psychologist; a polemicizing anti-nihilist ideologue; a Schillerian romantic; a Solovyovian believer in love, goodness, and beauty; a prophet. I approach Dostoevsky through a new lens—Dostoevsky as an existential phenomenologist. Although writers such as Kauffman, Camus, and Shestov have cast Dostoevsky as an existentialist, their readings often focus too heavily on the critique of rationalist thinking in Dostoevsky’s The Underground Man and explore Dostoevsky’s existentialism largely in ethical rather than in existential-ontological terms. My interpretation will instead demonstrate that the primary focus of Dostoevsky’s novels is on immanent existential-ontological truths—human life—rather than on transcendental, ideal truth, although the emphasis on the former does not negate the possible existence of the latter. This interpretation will also provide an original route towards a polyphonic reading of Dostoevsky. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Phenomenological Studies of Religious Life)
Open AccessArticle The Fullness of Time: Kierkegaardian Themes in Dreyer’s Ordet
Religions 2019, 10(1), 58; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10010058
Received: 20 December 2018 / Revised: 12 January 2019 / Accepted: 14 January 2019 / Published: 17 January 2019
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Abstract
I offer an approach to Dreyer’s film Ordet as a contribution to the phenomenology of a certain kind of religious experience. The experience in question is one of a moment that disrupts the chronological flow of time and that, in the lived experience [...] Read more.
I offer an approach to Dreyer’s film Ordet as a contribution to the phenomenology of a certain kind of religious experience. The experience in question is one of a moment that disrupts the chronological flow of time and that, in the lived experience of it, is charged with eternal significance. I propose that the notoriously divisive ending of Ordet reflects an aim to provide the film’s viewers with an experience of this very sort. I draw throughout on some central ideas in Kierkegaard’s work, especially his category of ‘the moment.’ Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Phenomenological Studies of Religious Life)
Open AccessArticle Prophetic Subjectivity in Later Levinas: Sobering up from One’s Own Identity
Religions 2019, 10(1), 50; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10010050
Received: 29 November 2018 / Revised: 6 January 2019 / Accepted: 7 January 2019 / Published: 14 January 2019
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Abstract
This paper explores how Levinas redefines the traditional notion of prophecy, shifting the emphasis from the content of prophecy to the figure of the prophet, thus making prophetic inspiration a key feature of ethical subjectivity. The principal aim of the paper is to [...] Read more.
This paper explores how Levinas redefines the traditional notion of prophecy, shifting the emphasis from the content of prophecy to the figure of the prophet, thus making prophetic inspiration a key feature of ethical subjectivity. The principal aim of the paper is to analyse the resulting triangular structure involving God and the Other. This structure is inherently unstable because God is incessantly stepping back in kenotic withdrawal. I show how this fundamental instability is reflected in the structure of the phenomenalisation of God’s glory, the structure of obedience to God’s order, and the structure of the authorship of prophecy. The prophetic experience is marked by heterogeneity; it can never be completely appropriated. Responsibility for the Other brings the subject to light as a witness of the glory of the Infinite, but not as the subject of self-identification. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Phenomenological Studies of Religious Life)
Open AccessArticle The Inversion of Mysticism—Gelassenheit and the Secret of the Open in Heidegger
Religions 2019, 10(1), 15; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10010015
Received: 2 October 2018 / Revised: 18 December 2018 / Accepted: 24 December 2018 / Published: 28 December 2018
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Abstract
The article explores the topic of Gelassenheit (releasement) in Heidegger, through the lens of the ambiguous role of Christian mysticism in general and Eckhart in particular in and for his thinking. In an analysis of how mysticism appears in his early lectures on [...] Read more.
The article explores the topic of Gelassenheit (releasement) in Heidegger, through the lens of the ambiguous role of Christian mysticism in general and Eckhart in particular in and for his thinking. In an analysis of how mysticism appears in his early lectures on religion, it explains why he is critical of this concept and of how it is commonly understood. It also gives reasons for why we too should be cautious in using it to describe his position in his later writings where he explicitly reconnects to themes and concepts from Eckhart. The text provides a critical rehearsal of Eckhart’s understanding of both “Abgeschiedenheit” (detachment) and “Gelassenheit” and how Heidegger relates to it both in his early lectures and in his later essays. Ultimately it outlines a phenomenological understanding of what is commonly referred to as a “mystical” comportment more along the lines of a heightened openness and awareness, in Heidegger’s words as a “releasement toward things and an openness to the secret”. Thus, instead of seeing Heidegger’s later writings as a sort of crypto-mysticism, the text seeks to show how his critical appropriation of Eckhart explicitly points beyond a standard dichotomy between the rational and the mystical, in an effort to develop a comportment of thinking than can respond to the demand of modern technological predicament. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Phenomenological Studies of Religious Life)
Open AccessArticle Heidegger, Heterotopic Dwelling and Prehistoric Art: An Initial Indication of a Field of Research
Religions 2018, 9(12), 405; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9120405
Received: 30 October 2018 / Revised: 5 December 2018 / Accepted: 5 December 2018 / Published: 8 December 2018
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Abstract
This paper begins to develop an interpretation of European cave art based on Martin Heidegger’s account of artistic production and ‘dwelling’ so as to indicate a potentially rich area for future research. The paper will also draw on Foucault’s account of heterotopic space [...] Read more.
This paper begins to develop an interpretation of European cave art based on Martin Heidegger’s account of artistic production and ‘dwelling’ so as to indicate a potentially rich area for future research. The paper will also draw on Foucault’s account of heterotopic space and will engage with one of the key researchers on the archaeology of cave art, Randall White. The role of a work of art for Heidegger is to hold open a world. Art enables a decision to be made by a group regarding how things are going to matter for, and to, them as dwellers in their world. Works of art, on Heidegger’s account, put up for decision what will count as the highest values (the gods) for a group while determining what will prove essential for human dwelling in a world. With reference to Foucault, it will be suggested that caves are a good candidate for a heterotopic space. Caves are uncanny, numinous spaces and because of this, I suggest, they enable human beings to produce art as a world-opening event. I suggest that there is something significant about human experience in caves and I attempt to make a connection between heterotopic space, dwelling, and the art of the last Ice Age in Europe in order to point towards a novel field of research: dwelling and prehistoric art. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Phenomenological Studies of Religious Life)
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