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


Imagine 7: A Secular Retreat – A Report from the Field, Part Two

by Matt Sheedy For part one in this series of posts, see here. Imagine 7: A Secular Retreat, which I recently attended in Toronto from June 2-4, is the seventh annual Imagine No Religion conference that was started by Bill Ligertwood and … Continue reading
Posted: 2017-06-22More...

Hijacked! Conference in Bonn, Germany

by Leslie Dorrough Smith Note: This post originally appeared on the Culture on the Edge blog. Hijacked!: A Critical Treatment of the Public Rhetoric of “Good” and “Bad” Religion was a conference held from June 8-10 in Bonn, Germany, at the Forum Internationale Wissenschaft … Continue reading
Posted: 2017-06-20More...

Imagine 7: A Secular Retreat – A Report from the Field, Part One

by Matt Sheedy The very popular Imagine No Religion conference/convention and gathering for atheists, agnostics, skeptics, and non-believers of all stripes is being held this year in Toronto, the first time the yearly event has journeyed from its British Columbia … Continue reading
Posted: 2017-06-16More...

Defining Theology (with reference to Jean-Luc Marion)

by Tenzan Eaghll When I went for my first academic interview in a religious studies department after completing my PhD, the first question I was asked by the hiring committee was “what is the difference between religious studies and theology.” … Continue reading
Posted: 2017-06-12More...

How to Resist Christian Hegemony: Reflections on the #RAAC2017 Biennial

                  by Travis Cooper Just this last weekend I had the privilege of attending the 5th Biennial Conference for the Study of Religion and American Culture held in Indianapolis. I started coming … Continue reading
Posted: 2017-06-08More...

The Six-Day War and 21st Century Religion in the Public Sphere

by David Tollerton 5-10 June 2017 marks the 50th anniversary of the Six-Day War, a fleeting but crucial conflict in the Middle East which saw Israel militarily defeat its Arab neighbours and the basic contours of the now familiar land-disputes, … Continue reading
Posted: 2017-06-06More...

Laying it All Out: On Moving from Dissertation-to-Book Series: Leslie Dorrough Smith

In this series with the Bulletin, we ask scholars who have published in the field to share some insights on the dissertation-to-book process–what to do, what to avoid, to put it all together. For other posts in this series, see here.  … Continue reading
Posted: 2017-06-02More...

Joint statement on the European Academy of Religion by the European Association for the Study of Religions (EASR) and the International Association for the History of Religions (IAHR)

Editors Note: See below for the European Association for the Study of Religions and the International Association for the History of Religions joint statement regarding the European Academy of Religion, released on May 24th, 2017. You can view the original here. Joint statement on the … Continue reading
Posted: 2017-05-30More...

Theorizing Religion in the Age of Trump: James Crossley

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: 2017-05-26More...

Bulletin Book Reviews

Last month, the Bulletin for the Study of Religion announced its new book review project. Still in its developing stages, Bulletin Book Reviews will soon have its own tab on the blog site (next to Home and About above) where … Continue reading
Posted: 2017-05-23More...

Recent Articles


Preconditions of the Post-Theoretical: Periodizing the Study of Religion

This article analyzes strategies of periodization both in the contemporary political discourse as well as in the construction of disciplinary identities in the study of religion.
Posted: 2017-04-26More...

On Becoming a Lucid Theoretical Dreamer. Reflections on Academic Work Venturing Outside its Local Knowledge System

Postcolonial and postmodern critique left us with a range of insights that have a fundamental impact on how we perceive our work as scholars. It has for instance seriously damaged the idea that there is a way to escape epistemology to some kind of ’real’ reality that lies beneath our versions of rendering reality intelligible. This confronts us with a fundamental dilemma: As we always write as situated observers there is no proper / unbiased way to write about ‘others’, however not considering ‘others’ is ethnocentric and therefore wrong as well. Forced to take a stance towards this dilemma, this essay expands on the questions at stake and indicates a possible positioning towards it.
Posted: 2017-04-26More...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...


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