CSS research fellow Jafe Arnold speaks at Amsterdam religious studies conference
By: Jafe Arnold
n January 23rd, 2018 CSS research fellow Jafe Arnold delivered a presentation entitled “The Eternal Return: Mircea Eliade’s Homo Religiosus and the Cognitive Science of Religion” at the “Religionism and Historicism” mini-conference in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Organized by the University of Amsterdam’s Religious Studies and Western Esotericism Masters programs, in which Arnold is a student, the conference sought to address the theoretical and practical problems peculiar to the “religionist” and “historicist” approaches to the academic study of religious and esoteric currents.
Arnold’s talk focused on two case studies in this context that are relevant to the research of the Center for Syncretic Studies – the theories of the 20th century Romanian scholar of religion, Mircea Eliade, and the relatively new, interdisciplinary field of the Cognitive Science of Religion (CSR).
One of the Center for Syncretic Studies’ chief spheres of research is the relationship between different paradigms of understanding human religiosity, their reflections in intellectual discourse, and the possibilities of – as our mission statement says – “promoting an interdisciplinary approach which seeks to develop theory from unique combinations of ideas while also preserving space for and appreciating the utility of established orthodoxies.” As our Center’s name suggests, we are interested in syncretic perspectives on different schools of thought otherwise separated by time and ideological paradigms, especially in relation to the global “de-secularization” process which we believe is a pivotal, defining experience of the present era with profound implications for everything from scholarship to socio-political movements and geopolitics. The reconsideration of Eliade and the rise of CSR can be distinguished within this context of de-secularization. Continue reading