Approaching Religion


Approaching Religion is an academic open access journal published by the Donner Institute for Research in Religious and Cultural History in Åbo, Finland. Its purpose is to publish current research on religion and to offer a platform for scholarly co-operation and debate within the field. The journal appears twice a year and consists of articles, book reviews and discussions. It addresses an international readership and, as the title suggests, approaches the field of religion from a broad perspective, engaging contributors from different theoretical and methodological traditions.

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Uusimmat viitteet

  • Independence Day in a would-be Christian nation 

    Kallinen, Timo (The Donner Institute, 07.11.2022)
    When the West African nation of Ghana attained its independence from colonial rule in 1957, its traditional culture was to be promoted in all sectors of public life. Similarly, what was construed as Ghanaian traditional ...
  • Innovation, adaptation, and maintaining the balance 

    Pesonen, Heikki (The Donner Institute, 07.11.2022)
    The environmental crisis has challenged faith traditions to take a stand and act both globally and locally. Statements and action build on reinterpretations of tradition, which also produce a variety of ritual applications. ...
  • An interview with Terhi Utriainen 

    Woodhead, Linda (The Donner Institute, 07.11.2022)
    An interview with Terhi Utriainen by Linda Woodhead.
  • Between art and ritual 

    Korte, Anne-Marie (The Donner Institute, 07.11.2022)
    This article analyses the short performances of Drag Sethlas at the yearly Gran Canaria Drag Queen Contest in Spain (2017–20) from the perspective of religious studies and gender studies, following on from an earlier article ...
  • Out of many modes and motivations 

    Kyyrö, Jere; Mantsinen, Teemu T. (The Donner Institute, 07.11.2022)
    This article explores a sequence of events, a combination of Orthodox Christian village and chapel festivals, associated processions and a cross-border procession, through the theoretical concept of ritualisation. The ...
  • Editorial. Rituals and ritualization 

    Butters, Maija; Kupari, Helena (The Donner Institute, 07.11.2022)
    This issue of Approaching Religion is dedicated to Terhi Utriainen, Professor of the Study of Religions at the University of Helsinki. It is published on the 7 November 2022, Terhi’s sixtieth birthday, and contains reflections ...
  • Religious practice among Finnish converts to Orthodox Christianity 

    Kupari, Helena (The Donner Institute, 07.11.2022)
    In this study, I discuss the devotional lives of Finns who have joined the Orthodox Church of Finland as adults. The analysis is based on interviews conducted with 29 converts to Orthodoxy. My specific focus is the interplay ...
  • Praying with Blathmac 

    Bergholm, Alexandra (The Donner Institute, 07.11.2022)
    The mid-eighth-century Old Irish text known as the poems of Blathmac is a long devotional composition meditating on the mystery of Christ’s cross and its significance for salvation history. Since the discovery and subsequent ...
  • Salafi Sufism? 

    Sorgenfrei, Simon; Stjernholm, Simon (The Donner Institute, 14.06.2022)
    The aim of this article is to analyse a local expression of the transnational Ahbash Sufi movement in light of recent scholarship on the relationship between Salafism and Sufism as well as Islamic neo-traditionalism. Some ...
  • ‘One of the most important questions that human beings have to understand’ 

    Olsson, Susanne; Svensson, Jonas (The Donner Institute, 14.06.2022)
    In the present article, the authors argue that the study of Salafism as a contemporary Islamic new religious movement could benefit from an analytical perspective separating fundamentalism into the modes of inferentialism ...
  • Chabad on Ice 

    Czimbalmos, Mercédesz Viktória; Tuori, Riikka (The Donner Institute, 14.06.2022)
    The article examines the Finnish branch of Chabad Lubavitch as a fundamentalist and charismatic movement that differs from other branches of ultra-Orthodox Judaism in its approaches to outreach to non-observant Jews. Whilst ...
  • Soft charisma as an impediment to fundamentalist discourse 

    Hammer, Olav; Swartz, Karen (The Donner Institute, 14.06.2022)
    The Anthroposophical Society in Sweden is, in the view of many of its members, going through tough times. Times of crisis and the search for a collective identity often inspire the formation of ideological rifts within a ...
  • ISKCON and intelligent design 

    Broo, Måns (The Donner Institute, 14.06.2022)
    Bhaktivedanta Swami (1896–1977), the founder of ISKCON, had a complex relationship with science and modernity, and many of his followers have consequently allied themselves with various kinds of critiques of the modern ...
  • Editorial. Nordic fundamentalism 

    Olsson, Susanne; Sorgenfrei, Simon (The Donner Institute, 14.06.2022)
  • ‘No “wise” men or women but real doctors!' 

    Kouvola, Karolina (The Donner Institute, 02.03.2022)
    Magical healers and physicians were among those who provided healing in the medical market of pre-modern Swedish-speaking Ostrobothnia. Using newspaper texts published in the region about local occurrences of magical healing ...
  • Mapping the geography of choirs in Sweden 

    Göransson, Per (The Donner Institute, 02.03.2022)
    The geography of choirs has seldom received attention in human geography and even less so in a Swedish context. This article analyses the geography of choirs in Sweden by focusing on choir members in the Church of Sweden. ...
  • Dance as an agency of change in an age of totalitarianism 

    Hellsten, Laura (The Donner Institute, 02.03.2022)
    This article identifies two different paths where the amnesia described by Hannah- Arendt and the fragmentation identified by Willie James Jennings of our historical past has distorted how people today view dan-cing. I set ...
  • How dare you think divergently! 

    Helenius, Visa (The Donner Institute, 02.02.2022)
    Freethinking seems to be desirable because the human being is seen as an independently thinking being. However, as is well known, freethinking should not be taken for granted: ideological indoctrination, manipulation and ...
  • Supernatural punishment, spiritual violence and the Gospel of Matthew 

    Pisilä, Mikko (The Donner Institute, 02.03.2022)
    Spiritual violence is a modern concept expressing the abusive aspects of religion. This article observes the potential for spiritual violence within the rhetoric of the Gospel of Matthew, a principal text of the dominant ...
  • The many voices in a Muslim self 

    Pauha, Teemu (The Donner Institute, 01.03.2022)
    Previous research has demonstrated that young European Muslims relate to religion and religious authority differently from their parental generation. While traditional ‘ulama (Islamic scholars) are not about to become ...

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