Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Religious movements, new and old

Ireland's new religious movements, the first academic overview of the range of new religion in Ireland, has just been published. As opposed to the received wisdom that everyone in Ireland has been born either Catholic or Protestant for centuries, the book shows among other things the growing significance of the rejection of religion (and "lukewarm religion"), the long history of alternative religions in Ireland, the importance of feminism and woman-centre religious movements, the complexities of migrant religion and Ireland's role as a global "Celtic" homeland.
Co-edited by Olivia Cosgrove, Laurence Cox, Carmen Kuhling and Peter Mulholland. Available from Cambridge Scholars at £50 sterling, which is pretty steep but libraries can buy in copies if asked. Full details here.

While the rest of Ireland was competing in building denominational churches (and collaborating in converting the "heathen" under the auspices of the British empire...), a number of Irish people travelled to Asia and joined anti-colonial movements both religious and political. One of the most interesting of these was a Dublin-born ex-hobo turned Buddhist monk (and scourge of Christian missionaries), U Dhammaloka (?1856 - ?1914). UCC is celebrating the centenary of his trial for sedition; full details and a ten-minute video are online here. This is also the Irish launch of a special issue of Contemporary Buddhism on the subject.

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