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Lecture: ‘Total Devotion – Passions and Plots in Radical Religion in the Ancient World’ by Laura Feldt

Datum evenement: 19 January 2023
Locatie: Hybrid

Description

Total Devotion – Passions and Plots in Radical Religion in the Ancient World
Laura Feldt, Associate Professor of the Study of Religion, Department of History, The University of Southern Denmark

When: Thursday, 19th of January, from 3:30 till 5pm
Where: Hybrid, Zoom and on the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Registration: e-mail to extremebeliefs.fgw@vu.nl to receive the zoomlink/exact location.

Abstract:

This lecture will discuss the research field of radical religion and identify some major trends that have focused on radical beliefs, marginalization, and societal relations. While these are important aspects, I will suggest that the focus on radical beliefs and exterior relations should be supplemented by a broader perspective that places more emphasis on group-internal ideals of devotion and the role of emotionality and narrativity. I argue that these aspects are important for the formation and continued pull of radical religion, for enduring forms of total devotion that enable identity fusion and motivate costly sacrifice. I will present the concept of total devotion and a theoretical framework for addressing and analysing shared ideals of devotion and the role of emotionality and narrativity. The lecture will also discuss a historicization of the study of radical religion that takes it beyond the focus on Islam and on the contemporary era. To that end, I present the Total Devotion project (www.sdu.dk/radrel), funded by the Danish Research Fund for Independent Research in the Humanities and discuss some examples drawn from Judaism and Christianity in the ancient world.