Latest Issue: Vol 48, No 1-2 (2019) RSS2 logo

Bulletin for the Study of Religion

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


Religion, Theory, Critique, and Epistemological Anarchy: A Review Essay

This review essay of the volume Religion, Theory, Critique: Classical and Contemporary Approaches and Methodologies. suggests that the feild of religiouos studies is characterized by epistemological anarchy. The author applauds the editor of the volume for the content and theoretical continuity in the volume, but also draws attention to the epistmological tensions exposed in the chapters and sections to suggest that they reveal a sort of theoretical anarchy at play in the feild.

Posted: 2019-07-09More...

On Theology in the Academy

Recently, theology has garnered renewed attention in the academy. For various reasons, both theologians and some religious studies scholars have argued that theology deserves to be brought into greater dialogue with other disciplines, and some have even argued that theology ought to be taught in the public university. There are interesting arguments to be made that theology is more similar to other disciplines than might initially be supposed, and even that it is at the cutting edge of certain recent developments in scholarship more broadly. There are also, however, noteworthy barriers to incorporating theology more fully into the academy, and these may present significant challenges to inter-disciplinary dialogue and the possibility of productive exchange between theology and other areas of research.

Posted: 2019-07-09More...

The Museum Caught in a Maelstrom of Narratives: Exhibiting Islam in Europe

It is not hard to argue that the terror attacks on September 11, 2001, and the subsequent horrific violent acts that have been carried out in the name of Islam in cities like, for example, Madrid, London, Paris, Brussels, Berlin, Nice or Stockholm have all had a serious impact on public perceptions of Islam and Muslims in the West. One way of understanding the outcome of these processes is to argue that they have contributed to and produced and strengthened what Riem Spielhaus and I call narratives of inclusion and exclusion (Larsson and Spielhaus 2013, 2017). In this article I will use narratives of inclusion and exclusion as a backdrop and heuristic tool for analysing and discussing the impacts of these two grand ideal-type narratives on museums planning to display so-called Islamic artefacts.

Posted: 2019-07-09More...

What’s Old Is New Again, But Still Pretty Old: Searching for a Post-Theory Turn in Religious Studies

Editor’s Note: The following article was written as a contribution to a larger set of papers engaging Russell McCutcheon’s fascinating and important observation of a “post-theoretical shift” in the study of religion. That thematic set of papers did not come together. However, we wanted to publish this wonderful theoretical reflection by Craig Prentiss with the hope that it will contribute to an ongoing discussion in the field and we are appreciative that he agreed to publish this article as a stand-alone piece.
Posted: 2019-07-09More...

Quaker Studies in Critical Perspective

Editor’s Note: Jon Kershner is a noted expert on the Quaker tradition. His recent collaborative project, Quaker Studies: An Overview: The Current State of the Field (Daniels, Healey, and Kershner 2018), and the series it is part of, offers historians an excellent opportunity to analyze scholarly trends in the study of Quakerism. I am pleased that Dr. Kershner agreed to write for the Bulletin this short state-of-the-art survey of Quaker studies building on that seminal volume.
Posted: 2019-06-09More...

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...

What is Euhemerism? A Brief History of Research and Some Persisting Questions

The third century BCE Greek writer Euhemerus of Messene composed a utopian travel narrative entitled Sacred Inscription where he articulated a theory, known as euhemerism, regarding the origin of religion. The theory maintained that all Olympian gods were deified prominent kings and later scholars made use of it as a justification of divine kingship in the Graeco-Roman world. Euhemerism managed to survive in the early Christian era as a theory that represents the falsity of the gods of the pagans. From a theory of myth to a theory of religion and from a less important element of Euhemerus’ utopian narrative to mere historiography, euhemerism has managed to preserve itself in scholarly discussions without the existence of a comprehensive examination of the theory from a religious studies perspective and the way it was used in later periods. Based on the various and divergent usages and applications of euhemerism both in historical studies and in theoretical discussions on religion, the question remains: What is euhemerism?
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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