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Total Devotion – passions and plots in radical religion in the ancient world

Total Devotion – passions and plots in radical religion in the ancient world

Focused on emotions and narrativity, the Total Devotion project theorizes and operationalizes a new approach to, and a historization of, the study of radical religion. We analyse the emergence and forms of radical and intense religious devotion in ancient Jewish and Christian religious traditions before the advent of Islam, within the comparative context of ancient religions. We hypothesize that concentrating on emotions and narrative can help explain the “pull” and the intensity of involvement in radical religion in more depth, and that these foundational traditions will help us historicize total devotion passion plots and trace the key trajectories of development. Understanding emotional involvement in total devotion is a burning issue for the study of religions as well as for contemporary societies. The project analyses religious narratives that idealize total devotion and narrativize an all-encompassing emotional commitment in the era from ca. 520 BCE-450 CE.

The project is funded by the Independent Research Fund Denmark.