Posts Tagged ‘Volume 35 No. 3’

Reviewing and previewing religion in fractured times

It may not come as a surprise that the religious trends emerging in 2019 reflected many of the divides that mark society—from denominational schisms to new political-religious fractures. Yet some developments stemmed from actors and actions existing apart from political dynamics, even if they will carry considerable social impact. In this year’s review and preview of trends in religion, we will put the accent on the latter, particularly because our new publishing schedule brings our issue to readers already into the new year of 2020. As usual, we cite the issues of RW and other sources where these trends were reported.

Islamist violent extremism beyond ISIS is far from waning

Despite the eradication of ISIS’s caliphate across Syria and Iraq in 2017, the group remains active, while 96 other Islamist extremist groups were tracked in 2018 by the annual Global Extremism Monitor (GEM). The authors of this detailed report released by the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change (January 15) also includes developments monitored during the following year, such as the April 2019 attacks in Sri Lanka.

Women pursuing Talmudic study

Study of the Talmud, long confined to men, especially in orthodox circles, is finding new interest and participation among orthodox Jewish women, reports the New York Times (January 5). The conclusion of an intensive international marathon of daily Talmud study in Jerusalem but streamed to an international audience showed a growing number of women who have joined the effort.


A study by the Pew Research Center finds striking differences in the length and content of American sermons according to their Christian traditions. The study used computational tools to identify church in the Google Places application programming interface (API) and then collected, transcribed, and analyzed the sermons publicly posted on a representative sample of their […]

Catholic traditionalism finds a following in Latin America

There has been a growth of Catholic traditionalism in Latin America as seen by the spread of the celebration of Latin Masses, reports Julie Gomes in the conservative web site, The Church Militant (December 25). Latin Masses are mushrooming in the main South American dioceses of Rio, São Paolo, Buenos Aires, Bogota, Lima and Santiago, often attended by youth and young families. The website cites a frontpage article in the Italian newspaper Il Giornale, which reported on the spurt in the Catholic traditionalist movement in Latin America: “Right-leaning blogs are multiplying, animated by young and very young people, with millions of followers.

European Buddhism between Asian legacies and Western contexts

Faced with a loss of innocence in the West after the controversies regarding the abuses by some spiritual masters, Buddhism must also deal with key questions about finding a balance between preserving ancient teachings and finding its European way, writes the former head of the unit for interreligious dialogue of the Archdiocese of Vienna (Austria), Werner Höbsch, in a contribution written for an issue on Buddhism in the West in the series Weltanschauungen – Texte zur religiösen Vielfalt (No. 113).

New Age Sufism finds fertile ground in Egypt

Meditation practices inspired from Sufism are gaining popularity in the Egyptian capital Cairo as people are looking for alternatives to rigid religious practices, writes Egyptian journalist Dalia Chams on the French website Orient XXI (January 9). This is a recent phenomenon, acknowledges 46-year-old Sonia Hassan, an American Egyptian-born meditation teacher who was trained at the US-based University of Spiritual Healing & Sufism and claims to have been the first to have associated Sufism with Zen meditation in Egypt in the years after the 2011 Egyptian revolution.

Findings & Footnotes

American JewBu (Princeton University Press, $29.95) by Emily Sigalow, is both a history and sociological study of the phenomenon of Jews converting to or simultaneously practicing Buddhism. The book is also one of a growing number of works that explores the growth of religious syncretism or at least “dual religion” in the West, where once this pattern was most evident in Eastern societies.

On/File: A Continuing Record of Groups, Movements, People, and Events Impacting Religion

The newly launched Hurma Project is a Muslim expression of the broader #MeToo movement and is direct response to cases of sexual abuse by leaders in the Islamic community. The project, started by Canadian Islamic scholar Ingrid Mattson, recently had its first conference looking at abuse in Muslim spaces.