1st Edition

Religious Responses to Pandemics and Crises Isolation, Survival, and #Covidchaos

    Religious Responses to Pandemics and Crises explores various dimensions of the interrelations between the individual, community, and religion. With their global scope, the contributions to this volume represent reflections on the rich and multifaceted spectrum of human responses in a variety of different religions and cultures to the current SARS-2-COVID-19 pandemic and similar crises in the past.

    The contributions are organized in three thematic parts focusing on strategies, rituals, and past and present responses to pandemics and crises. They reflect on the intersection of personal or communal responses and state-mandated policies relative to SARS-2-COVID-19 while outlining different strategies to cope with the pandemic crisis. Timely questions explored include:

    • How do individuals connect with or disconnect from religious and spiritual communities during times of personal and collective crises, including pandemics?
    • How do religious practices such as rituals bridge individuals and communities?
    • How do religious texts from past and present highlight and represent crises and pandemics?

    Dynamic and multidisciplinary in its inquiry, this volume is an outstanding resource for scholars of religion, theology, anthropology, social sciences, ritual theory, sex and gender studies, and contemporary medical science.

    1. Introduction Sravana Borkataky-Varma, Christian A. Eberhart, Marianne Bjelland Kartzow

    Part 1: Strategies and Theologies Facing Pandemics

    2. Pandemic Pūjā: Corona Devi, Coronasur, and how a Viral Twitter Campaign Affirms Analog Ritual Power Dheepa Sundaram

    3. Sitting on a Grave: Female Agency and Resistance During the COVID-19 Pandemic in Chiga Village, Kenya Loreen Maseno

    4. ‘He Has Filled the Hungry with Good Things’ (Luke 1:53): Theologizing on the Pandemic, Pagpupuri, and Pantries Ma. Maricel S. Ibita and Ma. Marilou S. Ibita

    Part 2: Rituals in Times of Trouble

    5. Diseased Rites: Magic Tantras and Inflicted Illness Aaron Michael Ullrey

    6. "Can a Virus Destroy the Sacred?" The Latvian Experience of Holy Communion during COVID-19 Ilze Ūdre, Dace Balode, and Linards Rozentāls

    7. Ritual Reinvention and the Celebration of the Eucharist in Times of Crises: Biblical and Contemporary Perspectives Korinna Zamfir

    8. Isolation, Community, and Religious Identification: The Ritual World of Early Christian Imprisonment Letters Soham Al-Suadi

    Part 3: Plagues, Infections, and Witchcraft

    9. Plagues, Withdrawal, and Wayfaring in the Hebrew Bible Elisa Uusimäki

    10. The Leper as Transcestor: Queens in Exile Audrey Gale Hall

    11. Constructing the Sacred Self: 21st-Century Paganism, Self-care, and Ascetic Witchcraft MiloRhys K. Teplin di Padilla

    12. Pedagogy of Death in the Era of #Coronachaos Keith E. McNeal.


    Sravana Borkataky-Varma is an Instructional Assistant Professor at the University of Houston, Texas, and a Research Fellow at CSWR, Harvard University.

    Christian A. Eberhart is a Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Houston, Texas, USA.

    Marianne Bjelland Kartzow is a Professor of New Testament Studies at the University of Oslo, Norway.