Over the past five decades, the field of religion-and-science scholarship has experienced a considerable expansion. This volume explores the historical and contemporary perspectives of the relationship between religion, technology and science with a focus on South and East Asia. These three areas are not seen as monolithic entities, but as discursive fields embedded in dynamic processes of cultural exchange and transformation. Bridging these arenas of knowledge and practice traditionally seen as distinct and disconnected, the book reflects on the ways of exploring the various dimensions of their interconnection.
Through its various chapters, the collection provides an examination of the use of modern scientific concepts in the theologies of new religious organizations, and challenges the traditional notions of space by Western scientific conceptions in the 19th century. It looks at the synthesis of ritual elements and medical treatment in China and India, and at new funeral practices in Japan. It discusses the intersections between contemporary Western Buddhism, modern technology, and global culture, and goes on to look at women’s rights in contemporary Pakistani media. Using case studies grounded in carefully delineated temporal and regional frameworks, chapters are grouped in two sections; one on religion and science, and another on religion and technology.
Illustrating the manifold perspectives and the potential for further research and discussion, this book is an important contribution to the studies of Asian Religion, Science and Technology, and Religion and Philosophy.
Table of Contents
1. Introduction: Asian religions, technology and science István Keul Part 1: Asian religions and science 2. ‘True facts of the world.’ Media of scientific space and the transformations of cosmo-geography in 19th-century Buddhist-Christian encounters Adrian Hermann 3. An illusion of conciliation: religion and science in Debendranath and Rabindranath Tagore C. Mackenzie Brown 4.Vedic science, modern science, and reason Anna King 5. Is the earth round? Traditional cosmography and modern science in Jainism Knut Aukland 6. On ‘science’ in ‘the science of happiness’: the Japanese new religious movement Kofuku no kagaku, occult ‘science,’ and ‘spiritual technology’ Franz Winter 7. The synthesis of religious and medical healing rituals in the Song Philip S. Cho 8. Medical treatments described in the ritual texts of Kerala: interaction between religion and science S. A. S. Sarma Part 2: Asian religions and technology 9. New technology and change in the Hindu tradition: the Internet in historical perspective Heinz Scheifinger 10. Japanese new religions and the social networks: toward a 2.0 interactive religious discourse? Danilo Giambra 11. #Hashtag meditation, cyborg Buddhas, and enlightenment as an epic win: Buddhism, technology, and the new social media Ann Gleig12. The technology of tradition: Javed Ahmad Ghamidi and the contemporary Pakistani media’s participatory construction of women’s shari’a David Doss 13. New technologies and new funeral practices in contemporary Japan Fabienne Duteil-Ogata 14. Producing deities? Ritual as technology István Keul
István Keul is Professor in the Study of Religions at the University of Bergen, Norway. His areas of research include various aspects of the history and sociology of South Asian religions. He is the author of a monograph on the Hindu deity Hanuman and has edited volumes on tantra, Yoginis and Banaras.