Latest Issue: Vol 45, No 2 (2016) RSS2 logo

Bulletin for the Study of Religion

The Bulletin began life in 1971 as the CSSR Bulletin when it was published by the Council of Societies for the Study of Religion. In 2009 the Council disbanded and the journal moved to Equinox.

Historically the journal has published 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. From 2010 (volume 39), the Bulletin is published in print and, for the first time, online, with a print frequency of 4 issues per volume.

The online edition includes supplemental content not appearing in the print version including interviews, book excerpts, blogs, and profiles of key thinkers in the study of religion. The new Bulletin also includes open access features and offers enhanced search and access functions across the full range of Equinox books and journals in religious studies, biblical studies, ethics and theology.

Publication Frequency (Print Edition)

Feb, April, September and November

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


Better Know a Religion Blog: Religion & Politics

In this series with the Bulletin–whose title is a play on Stephen Colbert’s “Better Know a District” segment, and whose alternate title is “Religious Studies Blogs: What do they talk about? Do they talk about things? Let’s find out!” (from BoJack Horseman)–we ask blog authors/curators to tell us a … Continue reading
Posted: 2016-10-25More...

The Normative Turn and its Discontents

by Travis Cooper In Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, a 2015 BBC miniseries, an omniscient narrating voice opens the story as the camera hovers over an early modern British town and zooms in to focus on a public house: Some … Continue reading
Posted: 2016-10-20More...

American Gods, Part 1

5 by Eliza Rosenberg [Note: This is the first in a series of entries on Neil Gaiman’s novel American Gods. The series will consist of chapter-by-chapter discussions of the book from a religious studies perspective, each avoiding spoilers for future … Continue reading
Posted: 2016-10-18More...

The Hegemony of Normalcy and the Academic Study of Religion

This post originally appeared on the Studying Religion in Culture blog. by Daniel Jones “The hegemony of normalcy is, like other hegemonic practices, so effective because of its invisibility.”-Lennard Davis “We must… take account of the persistence of a model … Continue reading
Posted: 2016-10-13More...

Theory in Unlikely Places: Tim Kinsella’s Lyrics

In this series with the Bulletin, we ask readers and contributors to share some reflections on unlikely places (i.e., non-stodgy-academic-prose) where religious studies theory and method show up for them–be it in song, poetry, literature, television, film, or anything else.  by Adam T. Miller A … Continue reading
Posted: 2016-10-11More...

So You’re Not a Priest? Scholars Explain What They Do to Outsiders: James Crossley

In this series with the Bulletin, we ask scholars to talk about how they describe what they do to outsiders by sharing a story or two, and reflect on how this has affected their identity as scholars of religion. For other … Continue reading
Posted: 2016-10-06More...

Pope Francis’s Gender Trouble

by Matt Sheedy The other day I came across a short article on Facebook entitled, “Pope says gender theory part of ‘global war’ on marriage, family,” which I promptly shared on my wall. The Reuters News Agency piece recounts comments … Continue reading
Posted: 2016-10-04More...

The Problem with the Primacy of Primary Sources

by Andie Alexander Note: This post originally appeared on the Studying Religion in Culture blog. Over the past few weeks I have heard repeated talk of primary sources vs. secondary sources, privileging the former over the latter in every case. … Continue reading
Posted: 2016-09-29More...

So You’re Not a Priest? Scholars Explain What They Do to Outsiders: Adam J. Powell

In this series with the Bulletin, we ask scholars to talk about how they describe what they do to outsiders by sharing a story or two, and reflect on how this has affected their identity as scholars of religion. For other … Continue reading
Posted: 2016-09-27More...

So You’re Not a Priest? Scholars Explain What They Do to Outsiders: Stacie Swain

In this series with the Bulletin, we ask scholars to talk about how they describe what they do to outsiders by sharing a story or two, and reflect on how this has affected their identity as scholars of religion. For other … Continue reading
Posted: 2016-09-22More...

Recent Articles


"Trauma Makes You": An Interview with Donovan O. Schaefer

Matt Sheedy (U. of Manitoba) and Nathan Rein (Ursinus Coll.) interview Donovan O. Schaefer (Trinity Coll., Oxon.) about his 2015 book, Religious Affects: Animality, Evolution, and Power.
Posted: 2016-05-20More...

Rethinking the Rethinking of the Nag Hammadi Codices

A brief response to five essays in response to my article (co-authored with Justine Blount), "Rethinking the Origin of the Nag Hammadi Codices," JBL 133 (2014): 399-419.
Posted: 2016-05-08More...

The 70th Anniversary of the Discovery of the Nag Hammadi Codices: A Few Remarks on Recent Publications

A review of recent publications concerning the origins of the Nag Hammadi Codices and the conditions of their discovery and dissemination.
Posted: 2016-05-07More...

True Stories and the Poetics of Textual Discovery

As we know from the Nag Hammadi saga, there is something enchanting about telling find stories. This enchantment is part of the very reason “getting the story straight” is so difficult when it comes to manuscript discoveries: every story worth its salt will be transformed in the telling, and stories that are alive are reactive. If one way to approach these stories is to debunk those aspects that are products of embellishment and myth, another is to attend precisely to their affective power, seeing them as a narrative genre in the longue durée. Using examples from both pre-modern find stories and narratives about the discovery of the Cairo Geniza and the Dead Sea Scrolls, this essay discusses what the find story genre can tell us about how we imagine our relationship with a fragmented past. True or legendary, such stories are always imaginative products. Attending to this dimension can reveal a poetics of textual discovery that is ancient and widely shared--a vital link between modern scholarship, public interest, and ancient myth.
Posted: 2016-05-07More...

What Do We Talk About When We Talk About the Nag Hammadi LIbrary

Tony Burke responds to two recent articles on the discovery of the Nag Hammadi library—“Rethinking the Origins of the Nag Hammadi Codices” by Nicola Denzey Lewis and Justine Ariel Blount, and “How Reliable is the Story of the Nag Hammadi Discovery?” by Mark Goodacre.
Posted: 2016-05-07More...

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...

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...

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...



Letter from the President, Council of Societies for the Study of Religion

Russell T. McCutcheon' s announcement that appeared in the September 2009 issue of the CSSR Bulletin  
Posted: 2009-10-07 More...
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