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Renewal and Successions

Session Chair: N.N. | Monday, August 24, 1:30-3 p.m. | Venue

Mikhail Sergeev

Religious Cycles

My proposal represents a culmination of a larger project that I have been involved in for the last fifteen years – the formulation and development of a theory of religious cycles, which I apply to traditional religions of Judaism, Buddhism, Christianity and Islam, as well as to modern religious movements such as the Bahá’í Faith. My project is an attempt to philosophically reinterpret the Soviet period of Russian history, which, in my view, is one of the main tasks of post-Soviet Russian philosophy, comparable to what Germans had to go through after the Nazi period of their history. I view the rise and fall of the Soviet Union as a phase within the religious history of humankind. The manifold implications of my approach may help in a better understanding of the last twenty years of Russian history and, in particular, of the newly arisen tensions between Russia and the West.

Maciej Potz

Religious succession procedures as factors of stability and change: a political science analysis

Religious groups have used various succession procedures, ranging from designating a successor by a charismatic founder, acclamation, co-optation, to election. Their principle function has been to legitimize a new leader by infusing them with divine sanction, thus preventing the potential crisis the leadership change may cause in any political system. Furthermore, while no succession procedure can determine the fate of the community, they may display certain potential: innovative or conservative, disruptive or stabilizing. Examples from various religious traditions will be analysed – such as pope’s election by “selectorate” of cardinals, providing a degree of flexibility for an autocratic system; the „finding” of a new Dalai Lama, leading to protracted interregna and thus structural instability; Shaker gender-balanced co-optation and Mormon succession by precedence in the apostolic quorum, both allowing for the institutionalization of the early charismatic leadership etc. – to demonstrate the socio-political consequences of various types of succession procedures in religious organizations.

Nao Kaneko

Robe Selling Ritual in the Context of Chan Funeral Rites

Robe-Selling ritual is one of funeral rites described in Chan/Zen pure rule texts (Qinggui). In the ritual, dead monks' personal belongings or properties are put up to auction. Most detailed descriptions of the ritual are found in a Chinese Chan pure rule text named “Chixiu Baizhang Qinggui”, which was compiled in 14th century, Yuan dynasty era, and has been estimated as the compilation of all pure rule texts written up to those days. It was confirmed from Chinese Chan pure rule texts that when a monk was dead, his personal belongings were to be sealed and placed under the control of a monastery. In the course of funeral rites, monastery’s officials judged their value and prices, and a part of these belongings were put up for auction in the Robe-Selling ritual, in which they were bid by the dead monk’s colleagues. I have studied Chinese Chan pure rule texts for these years and made inquiry into what economic effects a dead monk’s mementoes or properties and the Robe-Selling ritual could bring to a monastery he belonged. In my paper for IAHR World Congress 2015, I would like to examine a meaning of the Robe-Selling ritual and what it generated in Chan/Zen monasteries based on the analysis of “Chixiu Baizhang Qinggui”, not only from the economic point of view, but also from a perspective of Chan/Zen funeral rites, in the course of which a renewal from death might have proceeded in the monasteries.


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Open Sessions

Thematic Outline

University Map (pdf, 192 KB)