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

  • Glastonbury Holy Thorn: Much more than the ‘biography of a symbol’ 

    Sepp, Tiina (The Donner Institute, 20.03.2021)
    Review of Adam Stout's Glastonbury Holy Thorn: Story of a Legend (Glastonbury: Green & Pleasant Publishing, 2020).
  • Esoteric and occult Sweden 

    Mahlamäki, Tiina (The Donner Institute, 20.03.2021)
    Review of Per Faxneld's Det ockulta sekelskiftet. Esoteriska strömningar i Hilma af Klints tid (Stockholm: Volante, 2020).
  • Spiritual treasures in Finnish art 

    Martin, Hedvig (The Donner Institute, 20.03.2021)
    Review of Spiritual Treasures: Esotericism in the Finnish Art World 1890–1950, edited by Nina Kokkinen and Lotta Nylund (Helsinki: Parvs, 2020).
  • Crystals and skulls at Villa Gyllenberg 

    Granbacka, Camilla (The Donner Institute, 20.03.2021)
    Review of The Path to Hidden Knowledge, art exhibition curated by Nina Kokkinen, 3.6.–11.10.2020 at Villa Gyllenberg, Helsinki.
  • Opening minds for the wisdom of art: Encounters between art and esotericism 

    Leskelä-Kärki, Maarit (The Donner Institute, 20.03.2021)
    A reflection on the symposium ‘Clear-sighted Art – Open Mind? Encounters between Art and Esotericism’ arranged at the Amos Rex Art Museum, Helsinki, 25th August 2020.
  • Tyra Kleen: Artist and religious seeker 

    Ström Lehander, Karin (The Donner Institute, 20.03.2021)
    The Swedish artist and writer Tyra Kleen (1874–1951) was a professional artist and a constant traveller who had a great interest in different religious questions. This article describes her Symbolist artistry, her interest ...
  • The painter Meri Genetz and the endless quest for spiritual wisdom 

    Ryynänen, Sanna (The Donner Institute, 20.03.2021)
    Meri Genetz (1885–1943) was a Finnish painter, esotericist, and a spiritual seeker. Around 1925, she began truly dedicating herself to spiritual seeking and started to make notes of her studies in black notebooks. This ...
  • Religious and spiritual motifs in the art of the patients of Nikkilä Hospital 

    Kuuva, Sari (The Donner Institute, 20.03.2021)
    This article focuses on religiousness and spirituality in the art works of psychiatric patients of Nikkilä Hospital, Finland. The pictures analysed here belong to a collection held at the Helsinki City Museum and they were ...
  • Dance as a contemplative practice. The space of distinction and union 

    Hellsten, Laura (The Donner Institute, 20.03.2021)
    This article analyses ethnographic material gathered in Sweden amongst dancers in the Church of Sweden. With the help of the writings of Sarah Coakley and Simone Weil I explore if, and how, dancing could be considered a ...
  • Decadence and occulture Oscar Parviainen´s art 

    Välimäki, Mikko (The Donner Institute, 20.03.2021)
    This article contributes to the understanding of relations between occulture and Decadence in Finnish art at the turn of the twentieth century, focussing on occulture and Decadence in the works of the Finnish artist Oscar ...
  • Architectural visions Reima Pietilä’s nature architecture and his ‘shamanistic’ design method 

    Broner, Kaisa (The Donner Institute, 20.03.2021)
    In this article I examine the architecture and architectural thinking of Finnish Academician Reima Pietilä (1923–93) in relation to his design methodology. Pietilä was an architect with an original, creative, artistic ...
  • ‘Mirages and visions in the air’ Tyra Kleen and the paradoxes of esoteric art 

    Faxneld, Per (The Donner Institute, 20.03.2021)
    Around the year 1900, European discourse on art was becoming increasingly ‘esotericized’. The 1890s saw esoteric art salons create a sensation in Paris, and art critics and theorists painted a picture of the true artist ...
  • Sigrid af Forselles and ‘The Development of the Human Soul’ 

    Lahelma, Marja (The Donner Institute, 20.03.2021)
    The five-part relief series The Development of the Human Soul (c.1887–1903) by the Finnish sculptor Sigrid af Forselles is a monumental work consisting of five large plaster reliefs. The artist’s esoteric interests have ...
  • Gendering seekers and upstarts in early twentieth-century Finnish literature 

    Parente-Capkova, Viola (The Donner Institute, 20.03.2021)
    The search for truth and spirituality, intertwined with the search for one’s self, has been a perennial theme in arts and literature. In some works of Finnish literature at the turn of the twentieth century, the figure of ...
  • Artists as truth-seekers: Focusing on agency and seekership in the study of art and occulture 

    Kokkinen, Nina (The Donner Institute, 20.03.2021)
    This article focuses on the concept of the seeker and considers how the analytical tool of seekership, defined and developed in the sociology of religion, could be applied to the study of art and esotericism. The theoretical ...
  • Seekers of the spiritual art and higher wisdom: Encounters between art and esotericism 

    Kokkinen, Nina; Illman, Ruth (The Donner Institute, 20.03.2021)
    Editorial of Approaching Religion, Vol. 11 Issue 1, based on a two-day seminar arranged in Helsinki in August 2020 by the Signe and Ane Gyllenberg Foundation under the title ‘Clear-sighted Art – Open Mind? Encounters between ...
  • Orthodox Christianity and gender through a religion-as-lived perspective 

    Illman, Ruth (the Donner Institute, 30.10.2020)
    Book review of Kupari, Helena, and Elina Vuola (eds.), 2020. Orthodox Christianity and Gender. Dynamics of Tradition, Culture and Lived Practice. Routledge Studies in Religion (London & New York: Routledge).
  • A lack of meaning? Reactive nihilism and processual materiality 

    Sauka, Anne (the Donner Institute, 30.10.2020)
    This article explores the ‘lack of meaning’ in contemporary society as a consequence of Western dualist thought paradigms and ontologies, via Gilles Deleuze’s concept of ‘reactive nihilism’ following the colloquial murder ...
  • A mind of care Responding ethically to COVID-19 

    Hellsten, Laura (the Donner Institute, 30.10.2020)
    This article approaches issues arising out of being in the middle of the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in Finland in March 2020, both from the point of view of the lived experience of caring for people in our conference ...
  • Bound to hospitality: An asymmetry of power in the Finnish church asylum movement 

    Ahonen, Talvikki (the Donner Institute, 30.10.2020)
    Church asylum, a practice aimed at assisting migrants with precarious residence statuses, has been enacted in Finland particularly since the 2010s. As a result of migrants’ insecure residency, their capacities of action ...

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