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Religious Experience: North and South

Gothóni, René (ed.)

Religious Experience: North and South

Year of Publication: 2012

Oxford, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Wien, 2012. X, 282 pp.
ISBN 978-3-0343-0853-3 pb.  (Softcover)

Weight: 0.430 kg, 0.948 lbs

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Book synopsis

As institutional religiosity loosens its hold, different modes of spirituality are on the rise. The essays in this volume, based on papers delivered at the ‘Religious Experience: North and South’ international symposium convened at the University of Helsinki in 2010, focus on how religious experience is linked to tradition and discuss current beliefs, debates, politics, rituals and spirituality in Finland and Malta.
Malta is one of the most Roman Catholic and Finland one of the most secular countries in the world. This book, with its unique comparative perspective, illuminates the differences between northern and southern Europe in attitudes, norms and religious values, as well as exploring areas such as bioethics, a much discussed issue in contemporary politics. Finally, the Maltese festa and the Finnish sauna, constituent elements in the construction of local identity, are analysed in relation to discussions of festival and ritual.


Contents: René Gothóni/Tuula Sakaranaho: Introduction – René Gothóni: Religious Experience in Hermeneutic Perspectives – Hector Scerri: Table Fellowship: A Religious Experience? Some Reflections on the Maltese Context – Paul Galea: Discriminating Personality Traits related to Religious Experience by means of the NEO PI-R Personality Inventory – Emmanuel Agius: Religious Values and Bioethics in Malta – Tuula Sakaranaho: One Religion, One Nation? State, Church and Freedom of Religion in Finland – George Grima: A Changing Scenario for Politics, Culture and Religion in Malta – Risto Pulkkinen: Finnishness and Religion: Finnishness as Religion? – Emanuel P. Magro: The Maltese Festa: A Potential Space for Religious Experience – Adrian Gellel/Mark Sultana: Aspects of Feminine Spirituality in the Maltese Village Festa – Terhi Utriainen/Heikki Pesonen: Religious Women and the Sacrality of Nature in Modern Finland: Two Cases – Riku Hämäläinen: The Finnish Sauna: A Potential Space for Transition.

About the author(s)/editor(s)

René Gothóni is Professor of Comparative Religion at the University of Helsinki, a life member of Clare Hall, Cambridge, and a life member of the Finnish Society of Sciences and Letters. He is also President of the Finnish Society of Friends of Mount Athos. His publications include Attitudes and Interpretations in Comparative Religion (2000), The Unknown Pilgrim (2006) and Words Matter: Hermeneutics in the Study of Religions (2011). He also edited How to Do Comparative Religion (2005), The Monastic Magnet: Roads to and from Mount Athos (with Graham Speake, 2008) and Pilgrims and Travellers in Search of the Holy (2010).


«The books’s style is simple, communicative, understandable and direct. Since the language used lacks unnecessary jargon and technical terms, it is a great pleasure to read. [...] As a pastoral theologian, I strongly recommend this important book, which provides an insightful way of articulating how the religious experience is linked to tradition and national identity. I also recommend this book to those who are willing to search for new insights that may prove to be fruitful when examining the religious experience of other countries and peoples.» (Elzbieta Osewska, The Person and the Challenges 3, 2013/1)