Journal of the Irish Society for the Academic Study of Religions (JISASR). Vol. 3, Issue 1, (2016)

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Special Issue: Festschrift in Honour of Professor Brian Bocking


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Now showing 1 - 5 of 15
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    Michael Pye, translating drunk - and Stark Naked: problems in presenting eighteenth century Japanese thought
    (ISASR in association with the Study of Religions, University College Cork, 2016) Barrett, Tim H.
    In 1990 Michael Pye published a full translation of the writings of the Japanese scholar Tominaga Nakamoto (1715-1746), to which I responded in a 1993 review illustrating a possible alternative approach by retranslating one chapter. In 1997 Michael Pye defended his original work. Here I show that this defence misunderstands at least some of the rationale for suggesting an alternative translation method, and provide a short passage of translation with commentary from Hattori Somon (1724-1769), a very similar but much less wellknown scholar, in order both to introduce his thought and to illustrate further the translation method I prefer. Finally some broader questions about the interpretation of Japanese eighteenth century thought are briefly indicated.
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    ASR and RE
    (ISASR in association with the Study of Religions, University College Cork., 2016) Jensen, Tim
    As a university discipline, the academic study of religions (ASR) has produced a critical approach to the study of religion which is (or ought be), I think, of fundamental importance for a modern secular and enlightened democratic state. However, the "study-of-religions" approach has percolated with limited success into society at large as well as into the primary and secondary educational systems of Western democracies. Too often so-called religious education (RE) really is religious or confessional, and even so-called non-confessional RE is, mostly if not always, mixed with crypto-confessional approaches, inculcation of moral values (not least those claimed to be Christian) and the promoting of religion as a resource for a more "spiritual" approach to life. While these goals may be in line with the traditional use of the public school as the key instrument of the (nation-) state to try to confer its ideology to (future) citizens, it is not compatible with the ideals of the academic study of religion, nor with the ideals and ideas of the present writer as regards the secular, study-of religions based RE that I think ought be taught in public schools as a totally ordinary school subject and as such also true to its scientific basis. In what follows I map and evaluate some of the many approaches to RE as well as some of the obstacles to a study-of-religions approach. Likewise, I ever so briefly argue why my approach to RE may be seen as a 'natural' and 'good' kind of 'applied ASR ', as an obvious way to promote and strengthen the academic study of religions, --and as a positive value to the open, democratic and pluralistic society. I begin, however, with a statement by Prof. Brian Bocking, quoted in part below, which admirably describes the components and characteristics of the academic study of religions - and by extension - of a study-of- religions based RE.
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    Recent trends in the white light association (Byakkō Shinkōkai)
    (ISASR in association with the Study of Religions, University College Cork, 2016) Pye, Michael
    Among the various fascinating features of the religious scene in Japan, the activities of the new religions continue to attract attention. And yet, given their number, and given the predilection of some commentators to highlight sensational cases, the character and development of some of the more steady movements often goes largely unremarked. The opportunity is therefore taken here to present a brief review of recent developments in the White Light Association, or to give it its Japanese name, the Byakkō Shinkōkai.
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    Monotheism and modernity: W. E. Hearn, Ireland, empire and the household gods
    (ISASR in association with the Study of Religions, University College Cork., 2016) Foley, Tadhg
    Operating with Darwinian categories, and beginning with Sir Henry Maine's Ancient Law (1861), scholars in comparative ethnology, jurisprudence, and philology claimed that some societies evolved organically in a series of stages while others failed to develop. In religious discourse a key indicator of modernity was a belief in monotheism. This belief, however, like the related achievement of 'civilisation', was generally held to be incapable of spontaneous growth in savage or barbaric societies and the transition from archaic polytheism to the monotheism of modernity was powerfully enabled by the spread of empire. W. E. Hearn (1826-1888) published The Aryan Household in 1878, with the subtitle An Introduction to Comparative Jurisprudence. He saw archaic society as household-centred, lacking both a state and law, operating a regime of what Maine termed 'status' rather than 'contract', where the foundation of human association was religion rather than kinship. This shared worship was symbolized by a common meal in honour of the household gods, the spirits of deceased ancestors. In Hearn's words, 'The common meal was the sole means by which a communication could be maintained between the spirit-world and the earth'. Christianity waged a 'war without parley and without truce' against the household gods but its victory in 'clannish' Ireland was far from complete, for Hearn saw Ireland, in many respects, as closer to archaic society than to modernity with its unreformed majority religion and its still unvanquished household gods.
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    Brian Bocking: Making the study of religions
    (ISASR in association with the Study of Religions, University College Cork., 2016) Scharbrodt, Oliver; Gerda Henkel Foundation
    Writing an academic biography of Brian Bocking is a formidable task for various reasons: first, there is the anticipation of a witty, self-ironic comment from him mocking the whole exercise itself and his own person at the same time: "Has my obituary already been written?" is the kind of comment one would expect from him. Second, there has always been something intimidating about Brian's physical and intellectual stature. Third, in a professional context, Brian has always been very discreet about his private life, first and foremost about his own religious convictions. Brian has been part of a generation of Study of Religions scholars who clearly separate their religious beliefs or unbeliefs which they hold in private from their professional engagement in the academic study of religions.