State University of New York Press

McGill Studies in the History of Religions, A Series Devoted to International Scholarship (discontinued)

Katherine K. Young

Published by: State University of New York Press

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McGill Studies in the History of Religions, A Series Devoted to International Scholarship (discontinued)

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Methodology in Religious Studies

The Interface with Women's Studies

Methodology in Religious Studies assesses the impact of women’s studies on the various methods employed in studying religion. Since its inception in the 1860s, the study of religion as an academic discipline has evolved over time, ranging from the classically historical to the boldly hermeneutical. The women’s studies movement has, since the 1980s, become part and parcel of the intellectual landscape of our times, and the study of religion has become increasingly influenced by it. What are the implications of this new development for the methodology of religious studies? Leading practitioners of psychological, theological, sociological, anthropological, phenomenological, historical, and hermeneutic approaches examine the mutually enriching interface between religious studies and women’s studies, as they explore the broader issue of the interaction between method and the nature of the subject itself.

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Ritual Worship of the Great Goddess

The Liturgy of the Durga Puja with Interpretations

During a nine-day period every autumn, Hindus in India and throughout the world worship the Great Goddess, Durgaµ—the formidable deity who is loved like a mother. One of the most dramatic and popular of these celebrations is the Durgaµ Puµjaµ, a rite noted for its visual pageantry, ritual complexity, and communal participation. In this book, Hillary Peter Rodrigues describes the Bengali style of Durgaµ Puµjaµ practiced in the sacred city of Banaras from beginning to end. A romanization of the Sanskrit litany is included along with an English translation. In addition to the liturgical description, Rodrigues provides information on the rite’s component elements and mythic aspects. There are interpretive sections on puµjaµ, the Great Goddess, women’s roles in the ritual, and the socio-cultural functions of the ritual. Rodrigues maintains that the Durgaµ Puµjaµ is a rite of cosmic rejuvenation, of empowerment at both the personal and social levels, and a rite that orchestrates manifestations of the feminine, both Divine and human.

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Women in the Yoruba Religious Sphere

Drawing on a wide range of oral and written sources, this book shows that women occupy a central place in the religious worldview and life of the Yoruba people and shows how men and women engage in mutually beneficial roles in the Yoruba religious sphere. It explores how gender issues play out in two Yoruba religious traditions—indigenous religion and Christianity in Southwestern Nigeria. Rather than shy away from illuminating the tensions between the prominent roles of Yoruba women in religion and their perceived marginalization, author Oyeronke Olajubu underscores how Yoruba women have challenged marginalization in ways unprecedented in other world religions.

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