Raymond Lemieux

Fanaticism or the Perversion of Sacredness and Power

At the beginning, there is an emptiness ; an impossibility to ensure the absoluteness of our constructions of meaning, to guarantee the adhesion of others to our understanding of the world. At the same time, there is an appeal to the Other, with its promise to seal this breach in our constructions, to guarantee not only this incapacity but our ability to live in the world with others. Fanaticism is a particular response to this incapacity ; it sets up its certainties against the generalized fragility of meaning in today’s societies. Certainties that are all the more absolute because they appeal to an absolutely singular experience of the Other ; an " all or nothing " that not only precludes any contradiction, it isolates itself in its own circle of meaning.

Power, on the other hand, is based on an instrumentalization of the other, on a denial of this incapacity, which in the face of the contingency of meaning, opposes the perpetuity of the other on the arbitrariness of its own social construction, placing its seal of nature and eternity.

In looking as much at one as the other, the purpose of the scientific study of religion is to return the individual to their status of ethical subject, to assume this fragility of meaning and to help bring about in language civilization solutions in the absence of the Other.


Giovanina Gomes de Freitas Olivier

Religion and Modernity : Sketching Postmodern Spirituality

Despite some hasty predictions, the coming of modernity has not been the dissolution of religion. On the contrary, it seems to have engendered new dynamics for spirituality, which don’t empty historical religions ; rather, they sift through their different symbolic universes for contents that are more or less adapted to the needs and expectations of contemporary life. The notion of healing typifies the transformations the religious has undergone in the secularization context : total healing, immediate, definitive, and accomplished in the here-and-now. This paper explores a number of characteristics that seem, in light of reflections made by Danièle Hervieu-Léger and Françoise Champion, essential if we want to comprehend this new " nebulous esoteric-mysticism " so prevalent in the West. In conclusion, it appears that contemporary quests for spirituality are not so different from the modern quest for individual happiness.


Patrice Brodeur

Towards an Applied Critical Study of Religion

If the " experts in religion " have recognized the social pertinence of the critical study of religion, they have yet to focus on the implications that a real integration of theoretical and pragmatic dimensions requires if we are to begin to articulate the interdependence between academic intellectual production on the one hand, and the human realities in which we navigate in utter and complete symbiosis on the other. This paper shows the necessity for rigorously defining (theoretically and methodologically) a new sub-discipline in the critical study of religion : the applied critical study of religion.

This definition, and its sub-discipline, would essentially focus on integrating the theoretical and practical dimensions of the critical study of religion, that is, conceptualize the social pertinence of the critical study of religion in continuity with the concrete conditions of its application in the numerous domains where various social actors interact.


Baccar Gherib

Reason and Tradition in the " Auto-Authentification " of the Koran

This paper addresses the issue of " auto-athentification " used by the Koran. At first sight, the latter relies on the authority of reason as it sets out to discredit the discourses of it detractors who rely on their tradition and the beliefs of their ancestors. However, on looking closer at the rhetoric we find that the Koran relies less on reason and more on a challenge and… biblical tradition !


Jacynthe Tremblay

The " I — You " Relationship in the Philosophy of Nishida

This paper gives an interpretation of the idea of relationality proposed by Nishida Kitaro (1870-1945), especially as it is developed in his essay " Concerning Self-Consciousness " (1932). It initially starts with the notion of " personal self " through a critique of the individual " I " on the one hand, and through a return to the word principle " I-that " of Buber. In the second section, after having set out the paradoxes of the inaccessibility of the consciousness of the " absolute other ", the author shows how society becomes the " place " (basho) for the encounter between the " I " and the " You ". The third section opens with a confrontation between Buber and Nishida over the relation " I — You " especially as it relates to the Nishidian concepts of " auto-negation " and the " absolute nothingness ". Situated in history and enveloped by the absolute nothingness, the " I " and " You " enter into a relation through different modes, which find their completion in the very important idea of " consciousness of self-consciousness " (jikaku).


Patrick Bruneteaux

The Positive Double. Dimensions of Individual Sacrality in Modern Secularized States

In religious experience, the double is a practical form of the desire for immortality. Man knows he is mortal and cannot accept this reality unless there is a part of him that does not perish. The figure of the double can be seen as the construction of a greater power that can calm the horror of the putrefying cadaver.

The strong push towards institutional secularization, which has marked the West from the 18th century, does not lead to the disappearance of the sacred (nor the desire for immortality). Without resorting to a hypothesis of some anthropological invariancy, it is nonetheless difficult to ignore the fact that religiosity has not disappeared ; rather, it is expressed through other modes.

This paper, having considered the " displacements of the sacred " (D. Jeffrey) in Western societies, which are primarily secularized, pacified, and individualized, explores cotemporary figures of the double.


Olga Hazan

Rhetorical Strategies in Sacred Painting from the First Italian Renaissance

The analysis of a few paintings from Quattrocentro, four of which come from the Italian art collection of the Budapest Fine Arts Museum, suggests that the painters of this period used multi-layered pictorial rhetorical strategies. The use of linear perspective allows them to depict spaces whereby the sacrifice of Christ for humanity is as equally magnified as their own artistic talent. By confronting the spectator with a number of spaces in which he can situate himself, symbolic universes which can only be entered by accepting the Christian mystery, the painters use this same rhetoric to their advantage, showing the miraculous nature of their talent to represent such Christian mysteries.


Jean-René Milot

The Media in the Time of Islam and a Specialist of Islam in the time of the Media

On the occasion of September 11th, specialists in the study of religion, and especially Islamologists, have been massively consulted by the media. What conclusions can we draw from this collaboration between two worlds whose interests and modes of functioning rarely coincide ?