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Why the World Needs Religious Studies

Why the World Needs Religious Studies

By Nathan Schneider, Religion Dispatches….
The first time I went to the American Academy of Religion conference it really got my hopes up. This was the fall of 2006 and, with only a summer in between, I’d just finished college and begun my first year of a PhD program in religious studies. The AAR was at the enormous new Washington, DC convention center. Fittingly, one of the plenary speakers was Madeleine Albright, the former secretary of state who had just written a book about why religion is so important. What I remember her saying, which stuck with me and probably a lot of the other graduate students in the hall, were things like this: “Our diplomats need to be trained to know the religions of the countries where they’re going.” And: “I think the Secretary of State needs to have religion advisors.”

The Sacred Artist Stands Alone

The Sacred Artist Stands Alone

Louis A. Ruprecht Jr….
In short, Enrique Celaya is deeply interested in the realm of the sacred. Hence his creation of “Whale & Star” as a place where scientific enquiry and contemplative community mutually inform and inspire.
An essential part of Celaya’s studio is a library-and-lounge where he conducts most of his interviews. He reads widely in Continental philosophy and literature. Nietzsche and Heidegger, Thoreau and Melville, William Blake and Anton Chekhov, are all central interlocutors and inspirations for the work. And always, always, there are echoes of central biblical paradigms, never quite raised to the level of explicit

The Burning Bush They’ll Buy, but Not ESP or Alien Abduction

The Burning Bush They’ll Buy, but Not ESP or Alien Abduction

By Mark Oppenheimer, New York Times
Practically anything goes at the American Academy of Religion’s annual conference, where scholars of dozens of religions convene annually to debate, relate and on occasion mate. Conversation ranges from the Talmud to tantra, from Platonism to Satanism. This year, from Oct. 30 to Nov. 1 in Atlanta, nearly 5,000 people attended panels including “Seeking New Meanings of God and Dao” and “Madness, Smallpox, and Death in Tibet.”