The recently founded International Society for Heresy Studies is starting a new online journal tentatively titled The Journal of Heresy Studies. The journal will focus on interdisciplinary, peer-reviewed academic papers on the subjects of heresy, blasphemy and non-belief in contexts of literature, art, and culture. Current academic discussions of religion and faith often pass over these subjects or give them a confessional turn, a critical blind spot that this new publication aims to correct. The journal is currently looking for members of the editorial board as well as peer-reviewers who would be qualified to evaluate papers on these subjects, or whose scholarship is in the disciplines of literary studies (in any language or genre), art history, religious studies, secular studies, theology, history, philosophy, psychology, sociology, and humanism. Please send inquiries to Bernard Schweizer (firstname.lastname@example.org), Geremy Carnes (GCarnes@lindenwood.edu), or Ed Simon (email@example.com). The Society plans to hold its first conference in the spring of 2014 in New York City. Those interested in the aims and history of the Society are welcome to refer to our website at http://heresystudies.org/.
Associate Professor, New York University
What the concept of heresy gives me, as a literary critic, are alternate ways of questioning assumptions about the relationship of religion to literary texts.
Professor, Harvard University
There is territory to be claimed, and we should claim it: positioning ourselves as writers and scholars open to both religious expression and to anti-religious expression.
Methodist Minister, Author
Why is someone with a title like mine (Revd. Dr.) sharing in the founding of an International Society for Heresy Studies? The simple answer is that the reverent academic appraisal of heresy, unbelief and atheism fuels my understanding of my work as a ‘professional Christian.’
Philosopher, Novelist, and Biographer
The analytic philosophical tradition in which I was trained tends to think of literature itself as inherently heretical—an attitude that can be traced back to Plato, who famously banished the poets from his city of reason. As usual, Plato was onto something.
When people have historically gathered to discuss the subject of “heresy” it isn’t to broaden the parameters of discussion. Think of poor Arius at the Council of Nicea in 325, banished to Illyria because he didn’t view Christ as coequal with the Father. Or think of stern Martin Luther who stood because he could do …View full post
James Morrow Novelist I think our premiere convention proved a ringing affirmation of heretical literature in all its glorious paradoxicality. Valuable poems, plays, stories, and novels embrace simultaneously the discursive and the dramatic; they cannot be domesticated. During the Friday afternoon roundtable I introduced the image of Ivan Karamazov “returning his ticket”—his unwillingness to accept …View full post
Professor, Long Island University (Brooklyn)
These two factors—that critics do not see the heretical contents that are there and that those who do explore heretical aspects of literature without an apologist agenda are shunted to the margins of scholarly meetings—persuaded me that it was time to found our own Society to explore the heretical potentials of literature, art, and culture.
Gregory EricksonOn the Need for a Society for Heresy Studies:
James WoodOn the Need for a Society for Heresy Studies:
David DickinsonOn the Need for a Society for Heresy Studies:
Rebecca N. GoldsteinImpressions of the ISHS 2014 Conference: Ed SimonImpressions of the ISHS 2014 Conference: James MorrowOn the Need for a Society for Heresy Studies:
Permanent link to this article: http://heresystudies.org/2013/08/31/the-journal-of-heresy-studies-call-for-participation/
Note: This post is part of a series of exposés by ISHS members on what attracts them to heresy, blasphemy, or unbelief as a subject of study. We encourage everyone to respond to the exposés in the comments section. If you are an ISHS member and would like to write an exposé, please contact us.
Doctoral Candidate, Lehigh University (Bethlehem, PA)
In 1592 an English Jesuit priest by the name of Robert Persons wrote of a secret “School of Atheism.” Various writers, statesman, and scholars were identified with this heresy that was more often feared than visible. Supposedly centered around the courtier, poet, and explorer Walter Raleigh, the “school” included the astronomer and New World colonist Thomas Harriot, the playwright George Chapman, and Christopher Marlowe who was already largely associated with his ominous “Dr. Faustus.” In a society that was permeated with religious faith atheism seemed impossible and in many ways may have actually been impossible. Despite this, the threat of non-belief, of heresy, and of blasphemy were very real to a man like Persons who was himself exiled from England for deviating from his society’s current orthodoxy. While most modern scholars think that such a school’s existence was apocryphal, an academic a century ago renamed the supposed society with a line from Shakespeare: “Black is the badge of hell/The hue of dungeons and the school of night.” Whether it existed or not, the idea of a “School of Night” exerts a profound power, one that should not be dismissed simply because it may not be a historical reality.
Permanent link to this article: http://heresystudies.org/2013/07/06/on-the-need-for-a-society-for-heresy-studiesedward-simon/
Religious approaches to literature have been dominated by apologetics and by the confessional tendencies advocated by T.S. Eliot. An atheist, therefore, still sticks out like a sore thumb at the CCL (Conference on Christianity and Literature), and the majority of publications in journals such as Literature and Theology and Religion and Literature are cast in a traditionalist, pietistic mold. Critics who examine the heretical, blasphemous, or atheistic implications of literary texts—without using such analyses to advance a conformist religious agenda—tend to be relegated to the margins.
It is time to give those who specialize in nonconformist or even anti-religious aspects of literature a “home,” i.e. a society, a peer-reviewed journal, and regular conferences. To this end, we propose to found the Society for Heresy Studies.
Permanent link to this article: http://heresystudies.org/2013/05/01/call-for-the-foundation-of-a-society-for-heresy-studies/