Belonging without commitment: the Christocentric view and the traditionist perspective on modern religion

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Abstract

This essentially theoretical article suggests a novel way to conceptualise the middle spaces of people whose link to religion is perceived as partial and fragmentary–the vast majority of the population in the world of the twenty-first century, who belong to a religious tradition but are quite selective in their observances. We first argue that current conceptualisation of the middle spaces suffers from a predisposition we view as ‘Christocentric’. As the key to an alternative and non-Christocentric approach, we suggest the concept of ‘traditionism’, which permits a new theoretical discussion of the meanings of religion for contemporary individuals who belong to a religious tradition but are not fully committed to its current authorities or affiliated with recognised denominations. As a case study to clarify the new, non-Christocentric conceptualisation, we suggest the religious identity of contemporary ‘Arab Jews’–Jews whose families originated in the Muslim Middle East–to highlight the potential contribution of a certain Jewish perspective to an understanding of modern religion as tradition and of modern practitioners of religion who belong to no denomination as ‘traditionists’.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)235-252
Number of pages18
JournalCulture and Religion
Volume19
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 3 Apr 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

Keywords

  • Israel
  • Middle East
  • Theory of religion
  • secularisation
  • sociology of religion
  • tradition

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