During recent years, the body has become a central focus of religious studies. The understanding of religion as a solely intellectual practice of beliefs, norms and convictions is giving way to a broader understanding of religious subjects as contextually situated agents with a personal history, emotions, values, gender and – as is explored at length in this volume – a body. Religious and spiritual practitioners today seek a connection with the divine through their bodies, acknowledging the intimate connection between soul, mind and body on questions of human well-being, meaning-making and religious experiences. This may always have been the case in lived religion, but for scholars of religion the recognition of the body offers a fairly novel approach.

In this volume, the body as a theme for religious studies is presented and discussed in relation to several religious traditions including Judaism, Islam, Christianity, Hinduism and Buddhism as well as Contemporary Spirituality. The subjects dealt with include, among others, such varied themes as sports and thinness, gender identities, asceticism and charismatic rituals.

Published: 2011-01-01

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