An Interview with Jeffrey Kripal, Part Two: Challenging Binaries

  This is part two of our three-part conversation with Jeffrey Kripal. Watch part one here. In conversation with Paul Courtright of Emory University, Jeffrey Kripal, of Rice University, discusses his new textbook, Comparing Religions: Coming to Terms. Professor Kripal’s latest book is a departure from the traditional ‘world religions’ textbook. He frames the adventure of the comparative study of religion as a kind of passage from conventional categories of religion, through an analysis of key themes and modes of reading texts and histories, to a reflexive re-reading in which the students rediscover themselves in relation to religion at the conclusion of the textbook, and the course […]

An Interview with Jeffrey Kripal, Part One: Comparing Religions

In conversation with Paul Courtright of Emory University, Jeffrey Kripal, of Rice University, discusses his new textbook, Comparing Religions: Coming to Terms. Professor Kripal’s latest book is a departure from the traditional ‘world religions’ textbook. He frames the adventure of the comparative study of religion as a kind of passage from conventional categories of religion, through an analysis of key themes and modes of reading texts and histories, to a reflexive re-reading in which the students rediscover themselves in relation to religion at the conclusion of the textbook, and the course in which Professor Kripal has used it. Our conversation ranges across a number […]

Sacred Spinebusters, Transcendent Toe Holds, Part Two: The Confluence of Religion and Professional Wrestling

By Dan Mathewson Ask any wrestling aficionado about the greatest wrestlers from the last quarter century and one name you will consistently hear is “The Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels, the wrestler discussed at the very end of part one of my series on the intersection of religion and professional wrestling. With the charisma of The Rock, the wrestling skill set of Bret “The Hitman” Hart, the masochistic daring of Jeff Hardy, the microphone skills of “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, and the eye-candy good looks of Chris Jericho, Michaels was the proverbial total package, possessing in abundance every trait of the superlative […]

If You See Shirdi Sai Baba’s Face on This Wall, Don’t Worry . . . It’s Normal

Jonathan Loar I.  The miracle in Mississauga Last month, the face of Shirdi Sai Baba (d. 1918)—a holy man who lived about 150 years ago in the small village of Shirdi in what is today the state of Maharashtra in western India—appeared on the wall of Sai Dham Canada in Mississauga, Ontario.  According to the temple’s website, the miracle was discovered on April 12 as Sai Baba devotees were celebrating Ram Navami, one of the nineteenth-century saint’s favorite festivals. Since then, temple caretaker Vishal Khanna has posted videos on a YouTube channel to document the continued presence of the image, […]

Hell Is Coming Here: Cthulhu Cosmology in Hellboy

  David McConeghy In the four issues of the Dark Horse Comics mini-series Hellboy: Seed of Destruction (1994), readers meet the titular demon Hellboy, who arrived in the world thanks to a Nazi “Doomsday” ritual led by Russian occult figure Grigori Rasputin. If this sounds familiar, you may have caught the popular 2004 movie adaptation directed by Guillermo Del Toro. Or you may recall the small but persistent interest connecting Hitler and occultism. As fodder for Hollywood blockbusters such as Indiana Jones, Hitler’s desire for religious objects such as the Ark of the Covenant has become an expression of the devotional elements of […]