Thursday, November 13, 2014

For goodness sake

I've been asked to speak in 宗教学导论, Fudan's equivalent of "Theorizing Religion," next Monday. Yippee! The instructor told me it's two forty-five minute lectures around a break and that I could talk about whatever I wanted. Picking up cues from our conversations I've proposed "theodicy and the theory of religion" for the first half and "religion and theater" for the second.

More easily said than done... but here's what I'm thinking. It's a bit of a great American novel but the fun thing is how, along with the kitchen sink, my old pash "the problem of good" crops up!

Part I
Theodicy and religion
(lots of Max Weber, including his claim that traditional China had no use for theodicy)
Two critiques of the idea that religion is primarily an answer to the problem of evil:
- "lived religion" finds that people are less concerned with coherence than this presupposes
- what about the "problem of good"?
And yet life throws disappointment, pain, grief and heartbreak at us. Maybe religion addresses these in different ways than philosophers think

Part II
Theater and religion
Intro: The Book of Job, philosophy or theater, scripture or ritual? Or all of the above?
The "religion and theater" question cracks open the standard views of both (at least in much of the US)
is religion at its worst no more than theater? is theater at its best like religion?
liturgy, play, community
enacting and engaging the problems of evil AND good through theater, and religion

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