Latest Issue: Vol 47, No 3–4 (2018) RSS2 logo

Bulletin for the Study of Religion

Robert A. Segal, University of Aberdeen
Philip L. Tite, University of Washington

Managing Editor
Arlene MacDonald, University of Texas Medical Branch

Book Review Editor
Adam T Miller, University of Chicago

Blog Editors
Matt K 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. 
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.


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Bulletin App, 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)

Recent Blog Entries


Studying Religion in the Age of a ‘White-Lash’

by Tenzan Eaghll On the evening of November 9, 2016, as Trump’s victory over Clinton seemed inevitable, CNN commentator Van Jones made a statement that would prove true not only about the results at the polls, but the many things … Continue reading
Posted: 2018-08-10More...

On Byzantine Apocrypha and Erotapokriseis Literature

by Tony Burke This post originally appeared on the author’s blog. As I work through the contributions to the second volume of New Testament Apocrypha: More Noncanonical Scriptures, I am struck by how many of them are related to a … Continue reading
Posted: 2018-08-06More...

Discourses of Religion and the Non-Religious/Secular in Islamic Contexts: Call for Expressions of Interest

CALL FOR EXPRESSIONS OF INTEREST Proposed New Network: Discourses of Religion and the Non-Religious/Secular in Islamic Contexts Please send expressions of interest to Dr Alex Henley ( A critical school has emerged in the Study of Religion that identifies the … Continue reading
Posted: 2018-08-01More...

A Review of Emily Ogden’s Credulity: A Cultural History of US Mesmerism

Editor’s note: Bulletin Book Reviews is the newly developed book review portal for the Bulletin for the Study of Religion, associated with NAASR and published by Equinox. We are interested in reviewing titles of wide relevance to the academic study of religion, … Continue reading
Posted: 2018-07-26More...

Name it and Disclaim it: A Tool for Better Discussion in Religious Studies

by Joseph P. Laycock and Natasha L. Mikles Anyone who has led discussion in an introductory undergraduate Religious Studies class has experienced frustrating comments from students such as, “Jews practice empty ritual,” or “Buddhists are more spiritual than other religions.” … Continue reading
Posted: 2018-05-24More...

So You’re Not a Priest? Scholars Explain What They Do To Outsiders: Merinda Simmons

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: 2018-05-02More...

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: 2018-04-20More...

CFP: Sovereignty & Strangeness Graduate Conference, Northwestern Department of Religious Studies

The Northwestern Department of Religious Studies graduate students invite young scholars to submit paper proposals for “Sovereignty & Strangeness,” a graduate conference to be held October 19-21, 2018 in Evanston, IL. Proposals are due May 6, 2018. You can get … Continue reading
Posted: 2018-04-17More...

So You’re Not a Priest? Scholars Explain What They Do to Outsiders: Sher Afgan Tareen

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: 2018-04-13More...

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

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: 2018-04-10More...

Recent Articles


Tips for Teaching. Name It and Disclaim It: A Tool for Better Discussion in Religious Studies

This article proposes a strategy of creating labels for problematic ways doing analysis in religious studies classes. By identifying patterns of weak analysis and naming them, faculty can give students the ability to talk about analysis and become more critical in their approach to religious studies. 
Posted: 2019-02-03More...

A Whole New People of the Book: Lewis and Lund’s Muslim Superheroes: Comics, Islam, and Representation

A. David Lewis and Martin Lund, eds. 'Muslim Superheroes: Comics, Islam, and Representation'. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2017. 264 pp., 15 illustrations. $24.95, paper.
Posted: 2019-02-03More...

"Porn Again Christians": Johnson, Conviction, and Affect Theory

Book review of Johnson, Jessica. Biblical Porn: Affect, Labor, and Pastor Mark Driscoll’s Evangelical Empire. Publisher: Durham: Duke University Press, 2018. ISBN: 9780822371533.

Posted: 2019-02-03More...

(Re)writing, (Re)righting, (Re)riteing Hupa Womanhood: Cutcha Risling Baldy and The Flower Dance Revitalization

In We Are Dancing For You, Risling Baldy explores the meaning and process of the revival of the Ch'ilwa:l, the Flower Dance, a coming-of-age ceremony for women of her tribe. The text opens with an epigraph from Lois Risling, a Hupa medicine woman and the author's mother, "The Flower Dance is a dance that I wish all young women could have. . . .[This dance] does heal. That kind of intensive trauma where women have been abused and mutilated both spiritually and emotionally and physically." (ix). These words offer a sense of what is at stake in this text. As Risling Baldy explains, Native women in what is now known as California were targets of strategic attacks of genocide by settler colonial governments through rape, murder, missionization, boarding schools, and assimilation. Such attacks worked to erase Native women's leadership, power, and ceremonial traditions. We can see the legacy of similar acts of violence in the ongoing epidemic of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, and two spirits across North America. This work is personal, too, as Risling Baldy is a member of the Hoopa Valley Tribe in northern California.1 She reflects on her own relationship as scholar and participant of the revitalization of this dance. Risling Baldy's text is particularly interesting in the nuanced ways she links the revival of this ceremony to Hupa cosmology, feminist theory, critiques of menstrual "taboos," embodiment, and decolonial futurity.

Posted: 2019-02-03More...

What Would a Religious History of goop Look Like?

This is a response to the responses on my article about Goop and asceticism. The response considers the meaning of "history" in the study of American religion today and considers possible alternatives to the types of genealogy that scholars in the field are using.
Posted: 2019-01-20More...

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...

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...

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...

Genealogies of Religion, Twenty Years On: An Interview with Talal Asad

Interview with Talal Asad on the 20th anniversary of the publication of Genealogies of Religion: Discipline and Reasons of Power in Christianity and Islam.
Posted: 2014-01-02More...


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