Entangled Religions 2019-05-02T10:21:41+00:00 Julia Reiker Open Journal Systems <p><em>Entangled Religions</em> is an interdisciplinary, peer-reviewed academic journal. It deals with encounters between different religious traditions and concomitant processes of transfer in past and present times.</p> Introduction: (How) Do We Share the Sacred? 2019-05-02T10:21:41+00:00 Manfred Sing <p>Multi-religious cohabitation bears immense social and political implications, since the&nbsp;question of how multi-religiosity should be organized has become a hotly debated topic all over Europe.&nbsp;Although religious diversity has turned into an everyday experience in many parts of the world today, a&nbsp;perception that understands conflict between religions as inevitable still holds sway and has maybe even&nbsp;grown stronger, especially after violent events such as the terror attacks of 9/11 and the recent upsurge&nbsp;of political populism in Europe and the Americas. A historically informed perspective that illustrates the&nbsp;widespread dissemination of religious mixture and the commonness of religious interaction throughout&nbsp;the centuries, however, may help us to see current debates in a different light. The present focus edition&nbsp;is dedicated to this purpose.</p> 2019-04-30T00:00:00+00:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement## Sacred Spaces in a Holy City. Crossing Religious Boundaries in Istanbul at the Turn of the Twenty-First Century 2019-04-30T13:08:27+00:00 Méropi Anastassiadou-Dumont <p>The article examines Muslim pilgrimages to Christian places of worship in Istanbul after&nbsp;the 1950s. It aims to answer whether and how the Ottoman heritage of cultural diversity fits or does not&nbsp;fit with the pattern of the nation-state. After a brief bibliographic overview of the issue of shared sacred&nbsp;spaces, the presentation assembles, as a first step, some of the key elements of Istanbul’s multi-secular&nbsp;links with religious practices: the sanctity of the city both for Christianity and Islam; the long tradition of&nbsp;pilgrimages and their importance for the local economy; meanings and etymologies of the word pilgrimage&nbsp;in the most common languages of the Ottoman space; and the silence of the nineteenth century’s Greek&nbsp;sources concerning the sharing of worship. The second part focuses more specifically on some Orthodox<br>Greek sacred spaces in Istanbul increasingly frequented by Muslims during the last decades.</p> 2019-04-30T00:00:00+00:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement## A Muslim Holy Man to Convert Christians in a Transottoman Setting: Approaches to Sarı Saltuk from the Late Middle Ages to the Present 2019-04-30T13:08:25+00:00 Stefan Rohdewald <p>Interpretations of texts on Sarı Saltuk may serve as a central example of the entanglement&nbsp;of Muslim and Christian contexts in (south-)eastern Europe and the Near East. Analyzing the fifteenth-century&nbsp;Saltuk-nâme and reports by Evliya Çelebi from the seventeenth century, a wide extension of the&nbsp;area concerned, as far as Poland-Lithuania, Muscovy and Sweden, can be observed. With the change of&nbsp;the contents of reports from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, an increasing interest in Christians&nbsp;participating in the veneration of sites connected to Sarı Saltuk can be remarked. Yet descriptions&nbsp;of a veneration of Sarı S altuk in a non-Muslim setting r emain firmly embedded in Christian contexts,&nbsp;complicating a transreligious interpretation of them. In today’s Turkish perspective, though, Sarı Saltuk is&nbsp;no longer contextualized in a manner encompassing Russia and Poland, too, but much more in a context&nbsp;focusing on and affirming national Turkish Anatolian or nationalized post-Ottoman contents in the Balkans.</p> 2019-04-30T00:00:00+00:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement## Spirit of Place and Nation Building: Kosovo and Bosnia from Imperial to Post-Communist Times 2019-04-30T13:08:24+00:00 Tanja Zimmermann <p>During the period of nation building, the spirit of place (genius loci), attributing uniqueness&nbsp;to specific locations and ascribing to them close attachment to the nation, became a central vehicle for&nbsp;defending and appropriating territories and even for establishing a diaspora in exile. It was evoked through&nbsp;discursive practices reminiscent of religious rhetoric and around monumental works of art, thereby staging&nbsp;history as mythical sacred theatre. The process of establishing imagined national geographies during the&nbsp;long period of nation building from the nineteenth century to the post-communist period is analysed&nbsp;in comparative perspective in two multi-religious and multi-ethnical regions in southeast Europe—Kosovo and Bosnia. The leading question I will try to answer is why the Field of Blackbirds in Kosovo was&nbsp;successfully established as a national holy place in the collective memory of the Serbs, whereas similar&nbsp;efforts in Bosnia did not result in inscribing mythic places into national memory.</p> 2019-04-30T00:00:00+00:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement## Shared Shrines and the Discourse of Clashing Civilisations 2019-04-30T13:08:22+00:00 Glenn Bowman <p>Since I began, in the early 1980s, to research Muslim-Christian cohabitation of religious&nbsp;sites, I have been convinced of the political importance of making practices of intercommunal ‘sharing’&nbsp;ethnographically visible. Thirty-five years of that work, spread across the Eastern Mediterranean (Israel/Palestine, Yugoslavia and its successor states, and both sides of the Cyprus divide), have not only&nbsp;revealed contemporary and historical choreographies of cohabitation but also their disintegration and&nbsp;the forces which bring it about. While I was carrying out this research, an accelerating resurgence of&nbsp;ethnic, religious and nationalistic politics was taking place not only throughout the areas I was studying&nbsp;but also in the global arena. This ‘identitarian’ politics, its philosophical grounding, and its shaping of&nbsp;academic and popular thought and practice is the focus of the first half of this paper; in the second part&nbsp;I look theoretically and empirically into examples of sharing and its refusal so as to show not only how&nbsp;cohabitation with alterity works but also to make visible the processes which sabotage it.</p> 2019-04-30T00:00:00+00:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement## Digressions on Polytropy: An Exploration of Religious Eclecticism in Eurasia 2019-04-30T13:08:21+00:00 Dionigi Albera <p>The anthropologist Michael Carrithers introduced the notion of polytropy in the field of the&nbsp;study of religion, proposing that this notion (deriving from the Greek poly, ‘many’, and tropos, ‘turning’)&nbsp;may account for the eclecticism and fluidity of South Asian religious life. The exploration effectuated in&nbsp;the article suggests that the notion of polytropy could offer a promising tool for capturing some important&nbsp;features of religiosity in other Asiatic contexts, too, as well as in the Mediterranean. Polytropic trends&nbsp;appear in different religious contexts, from the fuzzy Chinese situation, where religious affiliations are&nbsp;very limited in their scope and relevance, to the South Asian contexts, in which religious orientations&nbsp;coalesce around the multivocal concept of dharma, to the tightly structured Abrahamic religions in&nbsp;the Mediterranean with their strong confessionalism. Polytropy is associated with a practical mode of&nbsp;religiosity and is linked to a particular conception of believing in which the believer tends to multiply the&nbsp;transactions with different supra-mundane partners. This orientation is distinct from religious styles that&nbsp;are based on a discursive and scriptural approach and/or on the cultivation of oneself, which often display&nbsp;a tendency towards unity, coherence and continuity. This permits identifying an opposite pole with respect&nbsp;to polytropy, which I define as monotropy.</p> 2019-04-30T00:00:00+00:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement## Where Do the Multi-Religious Origins of Islam Lie? A Topological Approach to a Wicked Problem 2019-04-30T13:08:20+00:00 Manfred Sing <p>The revelation of Islam in Arabic, its emergence in the Western Arabian Peninsula, and its&nbsp;acquaintance with Biblical literature seem to be clear indications for Islam’s birthplace and its religious&nbsp;foundations. While the majority of academic scholarship accepts the historicity of the revelation in Mecca&nbsp;and Medina, revisionist scholars have started questioning the location of early Islam with increasing&nbsp;fervour in recent years. Drawing on the isolation of Mecca and the lack of clear references to Mecca&nbsp;in ancient and non-Muslim literature before the mid-eighth century, these scholars have cast doubt on&nbsp;the claim that Mecca was already a trading outpost and a pilgrimage site prior to Islam, questioning the&nbsp;traditional Islamic and Orientalist view. Space, thus, plays a prominent role in the debate on the origins&nbsp;of Islam, although space is almost never conceptually discussed. In the following paper, I challenge the&nbsp;limited understanding of space in revisionist as well as mainstream scholarship. For the most part, this&nbsp;scholarship is not really interested in the multi-religious landscape sui generis, but understands early&nbsp;Islam either as a stable or an unstable entity that either reworked or digested the impact of Judaism&nbsp;and Christianity. In contrast, my contention is based on the view that Islam emerged neither “in” Mecca&nbsp;nor anywhere else, but that Muslims’ practical and symbolic actions produced such places as Mecca,&nbsp;Medina, and the Ḥijāz as the central places of Islam. My argument is threefold: Firstly, the production&nbsp;of the Meccan space and its central meaning for Islam were mutually dependant, gradual processes.&nbsp;Secondly, the creation of an exclusively Muslim space in the Ḥijāz conversely inscribed multi-religiosity&nbsp;into the general topology of early Islam. Thirdly, the early history of Islam hints at practices of un/doing differences, exemplified by instances of sharing, the creation of ambivalence, and processes of<br>purification. Moreover, my contribution questions the way in which research on the origins of Islam has&nbsp;become a meaningful object of knowledge about the “true” nature of Islam against the background of&nbsp;populist discourses on Islam.</p> 2019-04-30T00:00:00+00:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement## Towards a Multi-Religious Topology of Islam: The Global Circulation of a Mutable Mobile 2019-04-30T13:08:18+00:00 Manfred Sing <p>Narratives of the origins, the history, and the present state of Islam always entail spatial&nbsp;claims. Accordingly, Islam emerged in the Arabian Peninsula, spread over its so-called heartlands, and&nbsp;became a world religion. A common understanding inscribes Islam onto the Orient and opposes it to&nbsp;Europe, the Occident, or the West. Such spatial claims are faced with fundamental challenges and&nbsp;epistemological shortcomings because neither Islam nor space are naturally given, bounded entities.&nbsp;Rather, different historical actors and observers produce spatialized Islam. In this chapter, I challenge&nbsp;the notion that “Muslim space” is a useful analytical concept, and scrutinize the ways in which&nbsp;academic discourses inscribe Islam onto space and history. As an alternative, I propose a topology that&nbsp;understands the production of space as a multi-dimensional social process, including Muslim and non-Muslim perspectives at the same time. Thus, I delineate the topology of Islam as variegated, dynamic,&nbsp;and multi-religious from its inception. My argument is that Islam’s trans-regional spread turned it into a&nbsp;polycentric, mutable mobile characterized by internal and external diversity. I further argue that images&nbsp;of Islam are an integral, yet often concealed part of European and Western knowledge production and&nbsp;self-understanding. Epistemologically, this perspective argues that the “Islamization of Islam” is nowhere&nbsp;better visible than in the spatial ramifications of discourses that marginalize, exclude, or obfuscate both&nbsp;the multi-religious experiences in Islamic contexts and the continuous presence of Islam in European&nbsp;history.</p> 2019-04-30T00:00:00+00:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement## The Changing Landscapes of Cross-Faith Places and Practices 2019-04-30T13:08:17+00:00 Manfred Sing <p>The present special issue&nbsp;of<em>&nbsp;Entangled Religions</em>&nbsp;has emerged from a conference about “Shared Sacred Places&nbsp;and Multi-Religious Space” that took place at the Leibniz Institute of European History&nbsp;(IEG) in Mainz in September 2016. As the title of the conference indicates, a main&nbsp;interest was to re-think the relation between place and space and between different&nbsp;religions. The conference took place in the framework of the IEG focus topic “Europe&nbsp;from the Margins,” which also included a lecture series on processes of marginalization&nbsp;and exclusion with regard to social and religious minorities within and beyond Europe.&nbsp;This background explains the range of topics in this special issue to a certain degree,&nbsp;because the conference had the aim to de-centre established notions of Europe and&nbsp;religion and understand them in their multi-dimensionality. While cross-faith practices&nbsp;are a worldwide phenomenon, the main geographical focus of the following articles is&nbsp;on southeastern Europe and the Mediterranean with their spatial extensions to Asia.&nbsp;Proceeding from here, the contributions in this volume understand multi-faith practices&nbsp;as embedded in local arrangements as well as in larger multi-religious landscapes,&nbsp;thus taking account of the interconnection between the local and the global and paying&nbsp;attention to the micro and macro levels of analysis.</p> 2019-04-30T00:00:00+00:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement##