Latest Issue: Vol 46, No 1 (2017) RSS2 logo

Bulletin for the Study of Religion

Philip L. Tite, University of Washington

Managing Editor
Arlene MacDonald, University of Texas Medical Branch

Blog Editors
Adam Miller, University of Chicago
Matt Sheedy, University of Manitoba
Stacie Swain, University of Ottawa

The Bulletin began life in 1971 as the CSSR Bulletin when it was published by the Council of Societies for the Study of Religion (CSSR). In 2009 the Council disbanded and the journal moved to Equinox. It remains affiliated with the North American Association for the Study of Religion (NAASR), a CSSR successor and NAASR members receive The Bulletin as part of their annual membership. See below for NAASR 2017 Call for Respondents, annual AAR program.

The Bulletin publishes articles that address religion in general, the history of the field of religious studies, method and theory in the study of religion, and pedagogical practices. Articles featured in the Bulletin cover diverse religious traditions from any time period (from ancient religions to new religious movements), but are typically distinguished by their social scientific methods (e.g., historical, sociological, anthropological, cognitive scientific) or critical theory apparatus (i.e., post-colonialist, post-structuralist, neo-marxist). The Bulletin is unique in that it offers a forum for various academic voices to debate and reflect on the ever-changing state of the field, and insofar as it encourages scholars continually to engage meta-level questions at the leading edge of inquiry.

Since 2010 (volume 39), the Bulletin has been published in print and online, with a print frequency of 4 issues per volume. The associated Bulletin Blog has been active since 2010 and has approximately 2,500 followers.


new Bulletin App, launching in March 2017 offers easy access to Bulletin issues as well as supplemental content not appearing in the print or electronic editions including interviews, book excerpts, and virtual issues drawing on content from across other Equinox books and journals as well as special offers for members and subscribers.

Publication Frequency (Print Edition)
March, June, September and December

ISSN: 2041-1863 (Print)
ISSN: 2041-1871 (Online)

Editorial Address
Philip Tite
c/o Equinox Publishing Ltd
Office 415, The Workstation
15 Paternoster Row
Sheffield, S1 2BX

Recent Blog Entries


Emoji Dei: Religious Iconography in the Digital Age

by Méadhbh McIvor and Richard Amesbury Editor’s Note: this is an abbreviated presentation of a fully developed article that will appear in a forthcoming issue of the Bulletin for the Study of Religion journal. In September 2016, Rayouf Alhumedhi, a fifteen-year-old high school … Continue reading
Posted: 2017-04-20More...

Theory & Religion Series: Bruce Lincoln’s Gods and Demons, Priests and Scholars

by Adam Miller * This post is part of the Theory & Religion Series, where contributors are asked to discuss a current project they are working on, or a book or essay by a particular theorist that they have found useful in … Continue reading
Posted: 2017-04-18More...

What’s in Your Syllabus? Michael Graziano

In this new series with the Bulletin, we ask scholars of religion to share with our readers what’s in their religion syllabus, from a new class or a class they’ve taught for years, reflecting on what has worked, what has been … Continue reading
Posted: 2017-04-13More...

Announcing Bulletin Book Reviews!

The editors of the Bulletin for the Study of Religion are delighted to announce that we are launching a new book review project. Although the Bulletin has not had a traditional book review section, it has published review essays and … Continue reading
Posted: 2017-04-12More...

Theorizing Religion in the Age of Trump: Donovan Schaefer

The election of Donald Trump has given rise to new kind of politics that has already increased tensions between competing groups, including religious groups over issues such as public education, science funding, and a proposed travel ban impacting several Muslim … Continue reading
Posted: 2017-04-11More...

“Gender” in/and the Study of Religion

by Stacie Swain How might one approach “gender” and the study of religion, or “gender” in the study of religion? What follows is a critical engagement with how “gender” can intersect with becoming a “scholar”, drawing upon my own experience thus … Continue reading
Posted: 2017-04-06More...

What’s in Your Religion Syllabus? Natasha L. Mikles

In this series with the Bulletin, we ask scholars of religion to share with our readers what’s in their religion syllabus, from a new class or a class they’ve taught for years, reflecting on what has worked, what has been … Continue reading
Posted: 2017-04-04More...

Theorizing Religion in the Age of Trump: Matthew Baldwin

The election of Donald Trump has given rise to new kind of politics that has already increased tensions between competing groups, including religious groups over issues such as public education, science funding, and a proposed travel ban impacting several Muslim … Continue reading
Posted: 2017-03-31More...

A Warm Welcome to a New Addition to the Bulletin’s Staff: Stacie Swain as New Co-Editor of the Blog

We are delighted to welcome Stacie Swain to the editorial board of the Bulletin for the Study of Religion. Over the past year, Adam Miller has been working with Matt Sheedy to oversee the daily work on our blog and … Continue reading
Posted: 2017-03-28More...

On the Usefulness of Reza Aslan

by Matt Sheedy The launch of Reza Aslan’s Believer on CNN has, not surprisingly, garnered a fair bit of attention since its release earlier this month, from both popular websites as well as from scholars of religion. For example, The Huffington … Continue reading
Posted: 2017-03-23More...

Recent Articles


Failed Theory, Cynicism, and the Study of Religion

An afterword to the essays responding to Russell T. McCutcheon's "Beyond Cynicism: A Sampling of Current Work in the Swiss Study of Religion".
Posted: 2017-03-03More...

For the Good or the “Guild”: Responses to Kate Daley-Bailey’s Open Letter to the American Academy of Religion

In this series, a number of scholars respond to Kate Daley-Bailey’s provocative essay, “For the Good or the ‘Guild’: An Open Letter to the American Academy of Religion,” which appears in the most recent issue of the Bulletin journal, Vol 44, No. 4 (2015). In this series, scholars Charles McCrary (FSU), Jack Fitzmier (Executive Director of the American Academy of Religion), Kerry Danner (member of the AARs Contingent Faculty Task Force, Jason Sagar, and Helen Ramirez respond, with a reply by Kate Daley-Bailey.
Posted: 2017-02-24More...

Rethinking Islamkritik: Notes of a Hazy German Debate

The article outlines how the scholarly attempt of Islamophobia studies to systematize the terminological field of Criticism of Islam remains within the ideological discourse on the legitimacy of Criticism of Islam itself. The attempt is criticized for its normativity as well as for its unreflected reference to criticism of religion.
Posted: 2017-02-15More...

The Guru is a Donut: Applications of Social Network Theory to the Study of Religion

How are global gurus successful in enchanting thousands of devotees? Common descriptions tend to highlight attributes of the actors, e.g. the charisma of the guru or the biographies and socio-economic backgrounds of the devotees. In my opinion this does not sufficiently explain the growth or stability of these movements. By using a social network theory approach, I focus on the types of ties between the involved actors. From this relational perspective, the network position of the actors and the qualities of the ties between them are the „material“ a guru-centered movement is made of. Instead of searching for more and more characteristics of the actors to explain the phenomenon (e.g. the guru's rhetoric skills and theological virtuosity or the devotee's disappointment with more conventional forms of religion), this approach helps to see a distinctive pattern of social organization that both enables and restricts interaction.
Posted: 2017-02-12More...

Siblings Veiled by Ideology? Reflections on the Epistemological Kinship between the Phenomenology of Religion and Soviet Scientific Atheism

The essay proposes that historically Soviet scholarship on religion should not only be understood as the result of Marxist-Leninist ideology, but also as a phenomenological approach to religion operating in many ways with the same epistemological foundation as the Western phenomenology of religion.
Posted: 2017-02-12More...

Most Viewed Articles


Current Trends in the Study of Early Christian Martyrdom

This paper investigate recent scholarship on early Christian martyrdom. It discusses the shift away from the study of the origins of martyrdom to an interest in martyrdom and the body, Christian identity formation, and martyrdom and orthodoxy. It further discusses the need for a reappraisal of the evidence for early Christian martyrdom and the renewed attention that questions of dating, authorship, and provenance have received.
Posted: 2012-08-12More...

Reinventing Religious Studies: An Interview with Scott Elliott

I interviewed Scott S. Elliott in December 2013, where we discussed his recent book (as editor) Reinventing Religious Studies: Key Writings in the History of a Discipline (Acumen 2013). Our conversation ranged from the history of the Council of Societies for the Study of Religion to how articles appearing in its journal, the CSSR Bulletin, over some 40-odd years have been at the leading edge of advancing debates in the study of religion, from problems in theory and method and the definition of religion, to issues of identity politics and the study of Islam.
Posted: 2014-03-05More...

Theoretical Challenges in Studying Religious Experience in Gnosticism: A Prolegomena for Social Analysis

Several theoretical impediments face the ancient historian who wishes to embark on the study of religious experience within ancient cultures. While many of these difficulties face other religious studies scholars, the historical quality compounds these challenges. This paper explores several of these theoretical difficulties with a specific focus on the Valentinian, Sethian, and other so-called “Gnostic” groups in late antiquity. Specifically, the study of religious experience tends to give privileged interpretative position to insiders (evoking the etic/emic problem) and psychological analyses due to the “personal” or “individual” quality of such experiences (typified by perennialist approaches) (Otto, Wach, Eliade, Smart), or, following James and Jung, focus on the initial charismatic moment’s effect upon subsequent social structures. In contrast to such tendencies I suggest, by building on Fitzgerald’s lead in the Guide to the Study of Religion and largely agreeing with constructivist approaches, that we re-direct our focus toward the external social forces at play that discursively facilitate, shape, and direct experiential moments within the confines of social identity construction. This article builds on attachment theory from social psychology. Such analysis will allow us to better appreciate the experiential aspects of “Gnosticism” while appreciating the individual, communal, and (most importantly) discursive quality of the intersection of the individual and communal. Specific examples of such social facilitation will be briefly explored from Nag Hammadi, where ritual, narrative, and mythological discourse function to enable, and thereby define, religious experience.
Posted: 2012-12-18More...

Religion Snapshots: On the Uses of “Data”

Religion Snapshots is a new feature with the Bulletin for the Study of Religion blog, where a number of contributors are asked to briefly comment on popular news items or pressing theoretical issues in the field, especially those topics relating to definitions, classification and method and theory in the study of religion more generally. Below is one such roundtable discussion, focusing on the problematic notion of “data” in the study of religion. The editors of the Bulletin encourage readers to follow Religion Snapshots on our blog (and, of course, we welcome responses to the topics discussed by other scholars).
Posted: 2014-01-10More...

Romania’s Saving Angels: ”New Men”, Orthodoxy and Blood Mysticism in the Legionary Movement

In Romania, a Christian, ultranationalistic movement known as The Legionary Movement has before and after the Communist period called for a national, spritual revolution. Perceiving themselves as front fighters protected by the Archangel, Legionaries endeavour to purify the nation so that it can live in its God-given fatherland. In order to assure national resurrection, Legionaries want to create a “New Man”, understood as a new male. This ideal combines the qualities of a Christian martyr, a working hero, a monk and a militant and as such both complex and ambiguous. In practice, Legionaries have a lot in common with other European “boot boys”. Based on field studies, this article discusses the role of men in this movement: their role models, male bonding, rituals and myths, as well as their concepts of family, brotherhood and blood relations, all with reference to a particular ethnonationalistic, christocentric worldview.
Posted: 2012-03-15More...


No announcements have been published.
More Announcements...

Equinox Publishing Ltd - 415 The Workstation 15 Paternoster Row, Sheffield, S1 2BX United Kingdom
Telephone: +44 (0)114 221-0285 - Email: