Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Hajj on YouTube

Next Wednesday I begin my set of lectures on Islam.  To introduce that, here is a link to YouTube where the Saudis have allowed a live feed to this year's Hajj

The Hajj live on YouTube

Can religion.....

Can religion be studied academically?  Can one apply the discipline of one trained to analysis of historical periods to faith?

I do this... but is it a sign of one with no faith?  Or was Descartes correct that one can isolate parts of your mind, yourself really, into discrete sections that do not touch each other.  The man who turned me from an interest in legal and constitutional history to the study of religion in history advised that you should only study a religion not your own.  In that way only he thought, could you study with proper scholarly detachment.  Among Canadian historians of religion, he is the only one I know of who actually did this, however.  He is Michael Gauvreau, simply the best historian of religion in this country.  The others are very good, but seem to focus on aspects of Christianity they have a personal connection to.  I cheated a bit when I got my union ticket [PhD] - I focussed on Canadian Anglicanism.  A cheat because while I researched and wrote my dissertation, I was a Catholic - but I was raised in the Anglican Church of Canada and have kept a soft spot for this complex institution.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Not exactly religion

Descartes finishes his drink and the barman says: "Want another?" Descartes says: "I think not" and vanishes.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

U.S. Statistics

The American government is forbidden by the first amendment to their constitution from collecting information on religion. So statistics are estimated using standard social science polling techniques by private organisations and reported in the popular media.

Here is the newest, which might make proponents of American exceptional ism revise their hypothesis:

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Mughal Art

If anyone is lucky enough to be in England between November and next April, add this exhibition at the British Library to your agenda:

Mughal Art at the BL