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The Literary Avatars of Christian Sacramentality, Theology and Practical Life in Recent Modernity


Ioana Zirra and Madeleine Potter

Twelve Anglicists (from France, America, Poland, and Romania) who met in Bucharest to debate Religion and Spirituality in Literature and the Arts at the ACED Conference in June 2015 join their voices in demonstrating the vitally spiritual power of Christianity in the recently modern world (in twentieth and twenty-first century literature and society). Poetry (by Eliot, Yeats, Heaney, David Jones, Hill, G.M. Brown) and fiction (Henry James, Lodge, Evelyn Waugh, Flannery O’Connor, Rose Macaulay and Ron Hansen), interpreted with (Thomist and more recent) theology (J.H. Newman’s, Paul Tillich’s, Hans Urs von Balthasar’s, De Certeau’s) and philosophy (from Plato to Gadamer) in mind, give heartening suggestions for transcending, along Catholic, Anglican, and Orthodox lines, the modern secular ethos.
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Empirical Religion vs. Secularisation in Postcommunist Romania


Abstract: Looking at religious life in postcommunist Romania from an anthropological point of view, I try to understand the intercultural influences that can explain its present configuration. I take as first point of reference the period before 1948, when Christianity and “Orthodox spirituality” were current topics in intellectual debates; then I sum up the effects of the communist administration upon religious institutions and congregations; and finally, I explore the status of religion in society and private life after 1989, especially in rural environments. Along the way, I am also interested in defining operational concepts – like “folk religion/ religiosity”, “peasant religion/ religiosity”, “empirical religion/ religiosity” or “popular religion/ religiosity” – that could describe the confusing mixture of folk magical thought, Christian tradition and popular secular stereotypes which shapes the Romanian informal religious culture at the beginning of the third millennium.

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