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Interviews with Scholars of Religion about their New Books
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    • Religion & Spirituality
    • 4.2 • 13 Ratings

Interviews with Scholars of Religion about their New Books
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    I. M. Fuerst and B. M. Wheeler, "Words of Experience: Translating Islam with Carl W. Ernst" (Equinox, 2020)

    I. M. Fuerst and B. M. Wheeler, "Words of Experience: Translating Islam with Carl W. Ernst" (Equinox, 2020)

    For more than three decades now, Carl Ernst, through his scholarship and his public engagement on the study of Islam and Muslim societies, has modeled the finest form of intellectual inquiry and performance. The imprints of his work extend from the study of Sufism, South Asia, the Qur’an, arts and aesthetics, and more recently, Islamophobia in North America. Words of Experience: Translating Islam with Carl W. Ernst (Equinox, 2020), edited by Ilyse Morgenstein Fuerst and Brannon Wheeler, honors Carl Ernst’s scholarly prowess and promise not through hagiography but by bringing together 13 essays that chart and direct a robust intellectual agenda for the future of Islamic Studies. The wide ranging essays in this volume serve as testament not only to the variety of ways in which Carl Ernst has shaped and informed the field of Islamic Studies, but also to his contribution in placing the study of Islam firmly in the broader field of Religion Studies. In this conversation, we discuss salient aspects of this book, and also explore some critical and previously unexplored contours of Ernst’s scholarly journey traversing multiples themes, cites, and actors.
    SherAli Tareen is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Franklin and Marshall College. His research focuses on Muslim intellectual traditions and debates in early modern and modern South Asia. His book Defending Muhammad in Modernity (University of Notre Dame Press, 2020) received the American Institute of Pakistan Studies 2020 Book Prize. His other academic publications are available here. He can be reached at sherali.tareen@fandm.edu. Listener feedback is most welcome.
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    J. Andrew Bush, "Between Muslims: Religious Difference in Iraqi Kurdistan" (Stanford UP, 2020)

    J. Andrew Bush, "Between Muslims: Religious Difference in Iraqi Kurdistan" (Stanford UP, 2020)

    Between Muslims Religious Difference in Iraqi Kurdistan (Stanford UP, 2020) by J. Andrew Bush asks what it means to be Muslim, yet not pious, in Iraqi Kurdistan. Though Islam is often represented in terms of either daily devotion, such as prayer and fasting, or abandonment of faith, there are many who turn away from tradition without departing from Islam. J. Andrew Bush offers us a new way to understand religious difference in Islam, one that invites questions about divine texts and rejects easy answers about political or sectarian identities. 
    Exploring the lives of irreligious Muslims, Bush highlights the paradoxes of their ethical orientation. While profoundly averse to many aspects of Islamic traditions, irreligious Muslims nonetheless harbor attractions to other aspects--such as Sufi poetry. Exploring this complex weave of attraction and aversion, the book provides intimate portraits of irreligious Kurdish Muslims in everyday life and the historical conditions that have allowed such paradoxical religious orientations to appear very ordinary in contemporary Kurdistan. 
    Whether readers approach the book as Muslims with a commitment to Islam, or as Muslims with ambivalence to Islam, or as non-Muslims who bear their own forms of certainty or ambivalence about Islam, the book will open to the door to thinking about the relationship between commitment and ambivalence in Islamic traditions.
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    Barbara Pitkin, "Calvin, the Bible, and History" (Oxford UP, 2020)

    Barbara Pitkin, "Calvin, the Bible, and History" (Oxford UP, 2020)

    John Calvin was known foremost for his powerful impact on the fundamental doctrines of Protestantism, and his biblical interpretation continues to attract interest and inquiry. Calvin, the Bible, and History investigates Calvin's exegesis of the Bible through the lens of one of its most distinctive and distinguishing features: his historicizing approach to scripture. Barbara Pitkin here explores how historical consciousness affected Calvin's interpretation of the Bible, sometimes leading him to unusual, unprecedented, and occasionally controversial exegetical conclusions. 
    Through several case studies, Pitkin explores the multi-faceted ways that historical consciousness was interlinked with Calvin's interpretation of biblical books, authors, and themes, analyzing the centrality of history in his engagement with scripture from the Pentateuch to his reception of the apostle Paul. First establishing the relevant intellectual and cultural contexts, Pitkin situates Calvin's readings within broader cultural trends and historical developments, demonstrating the expansive impact of Calvin's concept of history on his reading of the Bible. Calvin, the Bible, and History (Oxford UP, 2020) reveals the significance of his efforts to relate the biblical past to current historical conditions, reshaping an earlier image of Calvin as a forerunner of modern historical criticism by viewing his deep historical sensibility and distinct interpretive approach within their early modern context.
    Zach McCulley (@zamccull) is a historian of religion and literary cultures in early modern England and PhD candidate in History at Queen's University Belfast.
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    Clemena Antonova, "Visual Thought in Russian Religious Philosophy: Pavel Florensky's Theory of the Icon" (Routledge, 2019)

    Clemena Antonova, "Visual Thought in Russian Religious Philosophy: Pavel Florensky's Theory of the Icon" (Routledge, 2019)

    Often referred to as “the Russian Leonardo”, religious philosopher and Orthodox parish priest Pavel Florensky was a pivotal figure in the Russian religious renaissance at the turn of the 20th century. In Visual Thought in Russian Religious Philosophy: Pavel Florensky's Theory of the Icon (Routledge 2019), art historian Clemena Antonova (Research Director at Eurasia in Global Dialogue, Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna) challenges prevailing readings of Florensky’s oeuvre, presents an analysis of the thinker’s theory of pictorial space in the icon, and argues for the relevance of his thought to contemporary debates on religion and secularism. In this interview we discuss the religious and pictorial turn in contemporary modernity, the clash between Russian Orthodox clergy and theologians and religious philosophers in the early 20th century, the influence of St. Gregory Palamas on Florensky and his contemporaries, the Slavophile roots and fin-de-siecle manifestations of the theory of full unity, the limits of Florensky’s work in art history, and the challenges that contemporary scholars of Russian religious thought encounter when confronting its problematic aspects.
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    Thomas S. Kidd, "Who Is an Evangelical?" (Yale UP, 2019)

    Thomas S. Kidd, "Who Is an Evangelical?" (Yale UP, 2019)

    News and media outlets have become especially attentive to the political leanings of a particular subset of American Protestants: the Evangelicals. Leading historian of American Christianity, Thomas S. Kidd, wrote Who Is An Evangelical?: The History of a Movement in Crisis (Yale UP, 2019) to offer a wide range of readers an easy and accessible summary of this contested religious identity. He shows how gradually a theological identifier has become associated with an ethnic and political markers. In this succinct overview of the movement, Kidd helps to both explain how those political associations were formed, and also how pollsters and popular media presentations overlook groups who might claim this theological heritage, as evangelicalism continues to become a global phenomenon. 
    Ryan David Shelton (@ryoldfashioned) is a social historian of British and American Protestantism and a PhD researcher at Queen’s University Belfast.
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    Brian Carwana: Director of Encounter World Religions

    Brian Carwana: Director of Encounter World Religions

    Why study World Religions? This podcast features words of wisdom from Dr. Brian Carawana, Founder of Encounter World Religions who advocates for widespread religious literacy. We learn core insights Dr. Carwana has arrived at having avidly studying and taught the world’s religions for over 20 years.
    Raj Balkaran is a scholar, educator, consultant, and life coach. For information see rajbalkaran.com.
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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5
13 Ratings

13 Ratings

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