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5th IKSRS.

Conference information and book of abstracts

Sala Bobrzyskiego and Sala Kazimierza Wielkiego, Collegium Maius
ul. Jagielloska 15, Krakw

About 5th IKSRS:

The merit of the academic study of religions lies in its ability to undertake
interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary approaches. Its subject, religious beliefs and
behaviour, can be understood as a historical, cultural and social phenomenon. On the
other hand, religion seems to be a universal human trait, explainable by means of
scientific methods of evolutionary biology, ethology, neuroscience, or genetics. If we try
to locate the study of religions in the overlapping fields of humanities and science, it
seems worthwhile to recall the distinction between understanding (Verstehen) and
explaining (Erklren) as proposed by Wilhelm Dilthey.
The founding myth of the discipline tells a story of the liberation of research from
the hegemony of theology, and of the creation of an empirical discipline. Understanding
religious phenomena was proclaimed as one of the main objectives of our research. At
the beginning, religious texts were approached as data to be commented on and
interpreted through the use of philological and historical methods. Later, the birth of
anthropology, sociology and psychology of religion contributed to the broadening of the
field, and to the introduction of new methodologies. Recently, new research fields, such
as evolutionary psychology, genetics, cognitive sciences and sociobiology, changed the
landscape and climate of the study of religions by applying state-ofthe-art scientific
methods in hope of explaining religious beliefs and behaviour.

We would like to dedicate this edition of the Krakw Symposium to the memory
of Walter Burkert, a philologist, historian, and a scholar of classics who undertook a
search for "tracks of biology" in religious phenomena. Approaches such as his made it
possible to bring religious traditions of the past to the contemporary laboratory for the
study of religions.

Contact: religions.confer@gmail.com
The Organizing Committee
Lech Trzcionkowski (Institute for the Study of Religions, Jagiellonian University)
Katarzyna Bajka (Institute for the Study of Religions, Jagiellonian University)
Matylda Ciokosz (Institute for the Study of Religions, Jagiellonian University)
Magorzata Alicja Dulska (Institute for the Study of Religions, Jagiellonian University)
Joanna Malita-Krl (Institute for the Study of Religions, Jagiellonian University)
Jakub Szczniak (Institute for the Study of Religions, Jagiellonian University)

The Academic Committee

Krzysztof Bielawski (Institute of Classical Philology, Jagiellonian Centre for
Interdisciplinary Study of Culture, Jagiellonian University)
Dominika Motak (Institute for the Study of Religions, Jagiellonian University)
Tomasz Sikora (Institute for the Study of Religions, Jagiellonian University)
Andrzej Szyjewski (Institute for the Study of Religions, Jagiellonian University)
Lech Trzcionkowski (Institute for the Study of Religions, Jagiellonian University)

Institute for the Study of Religions

Established in 1974, the Institute for the Study of Religions Studies is the oldest
academic institution in Poland offering complete degree programmes in religious
studies, and the country's leading research unit on the religions of the world.
Spread across seven departments and one laboratory, the academic staff of the Institute
conduct research in all sub-disciplines of religious studies (history, anthropology,
phenomenology, psychology and sociology of religion).
The Institute works together with many universities and research facilities from
EU countries, the USA and Eastern Europe. We organise international conferences,
symposiums, plenary lectures and workshops for academics, students and people
interested in the world's religions. At present the Institute is located in the Collegium
Broscianum building at 52 Grodzka Str. in Krakow's Old Town.


Book of abstracts

Name: Katarzyna Bajka

Affiliation: Jagiellonian University in Krakw
E-mail: bajka@iphils.uj.edu.pl
Uncanny Valley an evolution of a theory
Uncanny Valley, a scientific theory first introduced by Masahiro Mori in 1970 and
published as a very short article in technological journal in Japan is a vivid example of a
compelling idea that over the course of years proved to be a major inspiration for
both humanities and social sciences. It became one of the most gratifying ways of
explaining or understanding myths and rituals concerning uncertain ontological status
of entities, objects and things that one might also call an anomaly or an Other. Over the
years it has been widely (over)used in researches conducted from anthropological and
cognitive perspectives; however, like many such theories, it was often misunderstood
and oversimplified.
In brief, uncanny valley is a scientific hypothesis stating that entities with human
likeness (from dolls and statues to robots, mummies, zombies and vampires in popular
fiction, to people with severe disabilities or body modifications) can elicit strong feelings
of eeriness and revulsion among some observers. An encounter with an Other, an
anomaly, makes it impossible for the viewer to define the ontological status of such a
creature, as it sends out mixed signals that human brain cannot depict. Such a
repulsion, awe, aversion or scare originates in a category mismatch leading to a conflict
in brains parietal cortex, visual cortex and the motor cortex thought to contain mirror
neurons. Once understood and embraced, such an organic reaction can be seemingly
provoked and deliberately used by ones who would benefit from it, be it religious
leaders, ritual agents or simply the creators of a popular fiction, for example horror
movie directors or any storytellers.
The aim of my presentation will be to point out the most attractive and persistent
features of this theory and to analyze in retrospect, how does this 46 years old idea
relate to a modern, diverse world? Is it of any use outside the vague realm of humanities,
and how does it confront a vast number of criticisms that have been raised concerning
whether the uncanny valley actually exists as a unified phenomenon amenable to
scientific scrutiny. My presentation will be illustrated by some examples from my
forthcoming doctoral thesis.


Name: Bartomiej Bednarek

Affiliation: University of Warsaw
E-mail: panantoniny@gmail.com
Philology of killing, religion of eating. Cleaning the Burkert's table
Walter Burkert's oeuvre may certainly be taken as an example of how philology
contributes to our understanding of some cultural phenomena that go far beyond
literature. Meticulous reconstruction of the textual layer along with deep analysis of
language, rhetoric, etc. of specific passages aims at (and happens to be very promising
in) elucidating of what is often tacitly presupposed by more or less ancient authors.
Yet, from the point of view of (post-)modern scholarly disciplines there is a little more to
it. In my contribution I would like to ask a question that goes somehow opposite
direction to that indicated in the CFP, namely, whether classical philology in its most
traditional form is still possible outside the field of cultural studies, of which religious
studies are one of most intriguing parts. From Nietzsche and Freud onwards the model
of strict philology for its own sake, such as that represented by Wilamowitz has
gradually become virtually confined to few academic centres and happens to be at risk
of extinction. On the other hand, less rigid approach, such as that represented by Burkert
seems to be flourishing, giving a chance of survival for the discipline and at the same
time posing some serious problems to which more traditional philology seemed to have
been immune.

Name: Jan N. Bremmer

Affiliation: University of Groningen
E-mail: j.n.bremmer@rug.nl
Descents to the Underworld from Gilgamesh to Christian Late Antiquity
umankind has long been interested in knowing the Beyond, which has often
been conceptualised as an area below the earth or as a land at the edge of the known
world. The border between this world and the Beyond constituted a challenge that in
myth and legend has proven to be irresistible to many a hero. The earliest example of
such a brave descent into the underworld is to be found in the epic of Gilgamesh,
whereas, surely, the most famous descent is described by Dante. In my lecture today I
would like to trace the transformations of this descent from ancient Assyria via Greece
and Rome to the world of Christian Late Antiquity. Yet my aim is not primarily to focus
on the brave heroes of these descents but especially to analyse the development of a
pagan and Jewish hellscape into a Christian one. As I hope to show, the subject is a
unique case where we can trace the mutual relationships between different cultures and
religions over a long period of time. First, I will briefly discuss the earliest known
literary descent, that by Enkidu, which almost certainly influenced the poet of the

Odyssey, who, in turn, paved the way for the famous descent of Orpheus in the classical
period ( 1). Subsequently, we will return to Assyria and from there move to Israel and
Rome ( 2), and we will conclude with Christian Late Antiquity ( 3).

Name: Sara Chiarini

Affiliation: Otto-von-Guericke-Universitt in Magdeburg
E-mail: sara.chiarini@ovgu.de
The Thesaurus Defixionum Magdeburgensis (TheDeMa) as a Tool for CrossLinguistic Analyses of Ancient Curses. Preliminary Results of a Systematic Study of
the Relationship Between Formulaicity and Individualization in the Corpus of
Ancient defixiones
A team of scholars based at the University of Magdeburg and directed by
Professor Martin Dreher has set up an online database of all published curse inscriptions
from the ancient world1. The digitalization of over 1200 curse texts written in Greek,
Latin, Aramaic, Hebrew, Oscan, Gaulish and other languages of the ancient
Mediterranean and Near-Eastern countries gives for the first time the opportunity to
pursue systematic researches on lexical, phraseological and structural features of these
texts. The results of such surveys supply new insights on the formulaic constants that
overcame linguistic, chronologic, cultural and spatial boundaries. In this perspective the
new formulaic framework of ancient cursing proposed here moves one step forward
from previous language-based studies. At the same time the textual enquiries on the
TheDeMa help retrace the diachronic evolution as well as the local peculiarities of this
widespread magical practice. A third level of linguistic analysis on this corpus focuses on
the customization of the cursing text according to the personal motivations for such
action of sorcery. The uniqueness of certain formulations provides precious insights on
the intimate beliefs and feelings of the cursers, thus offering new material for the
current debate on the ancient expression of emotions.

Name: Vichi Ciocani

Affiliation: Babes-Bolyai University in Cluj-Napoca
E-mail: vicki.ciocani@mail.utoronto.ca
Votive offerings and the language of sincerity in Greek religion
Greek myth offers plenty of examples of corrupted gift giving let us just name
Pandoras box (Zeus gift to mankind), Nessus gift for Deianeira or the apple thrown at
Thetis and Peleus wedding. The malicious intent hidden within each gift contrasts with
http://www-e.uni-magdeburg.de/defigo/thedema.php; to access the database please type nomen
as Username (Benutzername) and quidam as password.


their apparent splendidness. This paper will consider in which way this type of
corruption (the malicious intent) also applies to Ancient Greek ritual offerings, votive
offerings and libations to gods. Which are the proper and improper ways of offering
such gifts to the gods in Greek religion? We know that Greeks could pray and make
offerings for the destruction of another: how much significance had the right
mind/intention of the offerer? We will look at a number of relevant passages from
Homer (Il. 6.305-310, Od. 10.521-525, 14.414-453) and comment on Hectors, Odysseus
and Eumaeus sincerity, clarity and focus of intention, as well as the use of specific,
proper words when addressing the gods.

Name: Matylda Ciokosz

Affiliation: Jagiellonian University in Krakw
E-mail: tylda.c@gmail.com
Switching Bodies: Understanding through Enaction in Comparative Study of
The aim of the paper is to consider the significance of Diltheys notion of
understanding for the enactive approach within the study of religions.
Diltheys understanding, namely the process by which we recognize, behind signs given
to our senses, that psychic reality of which they are the expression is part and parcel of
the hermeneutical project within cognitive anthropology: To interpret cultural activity,
one must account for the cognitive processes that underlie it. According to the
proponents of the enactive stance within cognitivism, the core of these processes is
sensorimotor interaction with the environment (or enaction thereof). What this implies
is that to understand how the participants in a given culture think, one must account for
how they move and feel in the world that surrounds them.
By participating in the kinetic practices (e.g. ritual performances) of a studied
culture, the researcher may access the attitudes and conceptual structures related to
these practices. In other words, they may use their body, with its capacity for learning
new ways to move and feel, as an interpretative tool. In order to do that, however, they
must be able to negotiate between their original, entrenched sensorimotor patterns, and
the newly learned ones. Virtually, they must be able to operate more than one model of
the body at once.
By referring to her experience as a participant in ritual practices in modern
postural yoga schools in India and Europe, the author will discuss the challenges related
to switching bodies for the purpose of understanding.


Name: Eleonora Colangelo

Affiliation: Centre AnHiMA Paris Diderot University University of Pisa
E-mail: eleonora.colangelo@univ-paris-diderot.fr
Hiera anathekein. Notes about the Epiklesis Panathenaic Regulation between
Semiotic Iconology and Hymnology
The combined impact of visual and verbal languages on the ancient divine
objectivation could appear as an entirely-explored topic. The aim of this very
presentation is to illustrate the application of a multimodal method, both semiotic and
philological, to a new holistic study of the ancient Greek epicletic repertoire after the
recent contributions on the ancient Greek hymnography. After an historiographic
review, the first results of a multidisciplinary survey conducted on the written and
figured languages in the Greek act of epikalen will be discussed in the light of i) the
sphragis practice; ii) the stylized occurring of gods nomenclature with some specific
salutation formulae in the hymnic archai as well as in the epithysion of the attic vases;
iii) the exact coinciding of the narration of the gods agogai in the hymnodic partes epicae
with their representation in the amphorae body. Ergo, some first hypotheses about the
Panathenaic regulation of the ritualized, performed, textualised, figured religious
invocation will be advanced via interdisciplinary scheduling of four enunciative issues,
as a) the authoritative sphragides, b) the conative expressions related to the agalma
ritual habilitation; c) the rhythmic formulas revealing a crossed stylization of religious
and mythological topoi; d) the pseudo inscriptions.

Name: Piotr Czarnecki

Affiliation: Jagiellonian University in Krakw
E-mail: snieznydemon@interia.pl
Did the Catholic polemists invent Cathar dualism? Discussion with the foundations
of deconstructionist interpretation of Catharism
Deconstructionist interpretation of Catharism, which is growing more and more
popular in the recent years leads to revolutionary conclusions, totally changing the
image of this heresy, and in its extreme form assuming that it didnt exist at all.
According to the adherents of this interpretation there was no such thing as organized
Catharism based on a fixed doctrine, rooted in the earlier medieval dualistic heresies,
but only separated groups of dissidents, trying to revive the purity of early Christianity,
and interpreting Holy Scripture on their own. Cathar dualism, in the deconstructionist
interpretation, was invented by the Catholic polemists, who tried to discredit their
opponents by attributing to them heretical errors taken from commonly known antimanichaean works of Saint Augustine. In my presentation I will try to verify this
revolutionary theory. The juxtaposition of the sources concerning Cathar dualism with

anti-manichaean scriptures of Saint Augustine on one hand and the doctrines of earlier
medieval dualists (Bogomils and Paulicians) on the other will show if its reasonable to
talk about some Augustine-based doctrinal pattern attributed to the dissidents by
Catholic polemists and to reject eastern roots of Cathar heresy.

Filip Doroszewski (Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski University in Warsaw)
Dariusz Karowicz (Center for Thought of John Paul II in Warsaw)
E-mail: f.doroszewski@uksw.edu.pl
The Penthean Leaders: Dionysus and the Fall of the Roman Republic in Plutarchs
The paper aims at examining the place of Dionysiac motifs in the image of the late
Republic as depicted in Plutarchs Lives. As observed by David Braund, the case of the
Parthian campaign that was organized by Crassus with support from Caesar and
Pompey, and ended with Crassus head reduced to a prop in a performance of the
Bacchae, was for Plutarch not only a personal folly but also a symptom of the malaise of
the late Republic. But similar Dionysiac references appear in several other Vitae (e.g.
Ant. and Caes.), too. They resonate with echoes of the conflict between mans political
reason and Dionysus divine logic as known from Greek tragedy (esp. from Eur. Ba, but
also e.g. Soph. Ant.). This paper, therefore, will argue that the reason why Plutarch often
follows this tragic pattern in his late Republican Lives is because he sees the fall of the
Republic as resulting from the Penthean attitude of its leaders. In their selfish pursuit of
power, Plutarch seems to say, they neglected the irrational elements embodied by
Dionysus, and by so doing they brought destruction upon themselves and the whole

Name: Erik Sporon Fiedler

Affiliation: University of Copenhagen
E-mail: fiedler@hum.ku.dk
Religious forms-of-life as cultural and sociobiological experimentations. Remarks
on Peter Sloterdijks idea of immunology and ascetology as meta-paradigmatic
In the works of German philosopher Peter Sloterdijk, a wide array of wellestablished boundaries important to the study of religion is being challenged. In his
seminal work You Must Change Your Life, he advances the idea of studying human
phenomena under the meta-paradigmatic disciplines of General Immunology and
General Ascetology.

With the idea of a General Immunology Sloterdijk uses an explanatory model

from the natural sciences as a metaphor to help improve our understanding of various
phenomena in the social and cultural sciences: Humans do not only have a biological
immune-system, through evolution they have developed socio-immunological methods
and psycho-immunological practices. The General Ascetology is the science of these
psycho-immunological practices. Here we are shown how culturally prescribed actions
have biological and mental implications: The physical constitution and cognitive
capabilities of a person are affected through rituals, ascetic practices, studies, alimentary
regulations and so on. With these changes of perspective, Sloterdijk claims to attain a
more coherent and nuanced perspective on human phenomena, rendering obsolete the
schismatic cognitive boundaries between nature and culture.
This paper will discuss these ideas and their possible implications on the study of
religion, paying special attention to the religious phenomena of monasticism and

Name: Jakub Filonik

Affiliation: Jagiellonian University in Krakw
E-mail: jakub.filonik@uw.edu.pl
A cognitive reading of civic religion: can metaphors reveal something about
Athenians thinking and beliefs?
As often acknowledged by students of polis religion, links between poliadic
citizenship and citizens religious practices and beliefs were particularly strong in
classical Athens. Citizenship itself, in addition to being a primary relationship between
individuals and the state, has been referred to as a form of psycho-social identity. While
the emphasis of much of scholarship has been on citizenship seen as a legal and political
status, I aim to draw on Conceptual Metaphor Theory to explore more oblique ways
inaccessible through straightforward approachesin which civic and religious
obligations were constructed, reframed, and exploited in the explicitly hierarchical
world of fourth- century Athens. This paper argues that metaphorical appeals to shared
identities could prove to be a rhetorical skeleton key, employed whenever speakers
were striving for favourable reactions of their audiences, gathered in the civic space of
the Assembly and the courtrooms. It particularly aims to show how orators emphasized
religious duties through metaphorical appeals to conceptual domains other than
religion. This paper will also attempt to identify some prevalent modes in which
metaphors were used in the political rhetoric of classical Athens and the implications
they brought to Athenians own thinking about their civic status, religious identity, and
communal obligations.


Name: Juraj Franek

Affiliation: Masaryk University in Brno
E-mail: j.franek@mail.muni.cz
Cognitive Science of Religion, Ontological Commitment and Evolutionary
Debunking Arguments
Over the past several years, there has been an increased interest in examining
possible philosophical implications of the cognitive theory of religion, esp. in the relation
of the cognitive approach to (a)theism and the justification of religious beliefs. Although
scholars working in the cognitive tradition have, historically, had strong ties with
naturalistic and explanatory theories in the field of religious studies, as opposed to the
protectionist paradigm that considers religion to be a domain sui generis, many strongly
deny that the cognitive science of religion could have any implications whatsoever for
the justification and truth of religious beliefs. In the present paper, I will examine some
of the consequences of the cognitive approach with respect to the concept of ontological
commitment and truth-tracking theories used in so-called evolutionary debunking
arguments. To anticipate some of the conclusions, the answer to the question does the
cognitive science of religion explains religion away? depends largely on who are we
posing the question to (religious layman? liberal theologian?) and what do we expect
cognitive science of religion to accomplish in the long run (ultimate explanation of
religious phenomena or just another added perspective?).

Name: Ralph W. Hood Jr.

Affiliation: University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
E-mail: ralph-hood@utc.edu
Death and Near Death Experience from Serpent Bites in Religious Settings: A
Jamesian Perspective
Research on what has become known as near death experience (NDE) has history
of moving from first person field reports on NDEs to efforts to establish under quasiexperimental conditions empirical support for discretely identified aspects of NDE. The
irony of this shift in method parallels Albert Heims own efforts to collect descriptions of
NDEs from skiers who suffered life threatening falls while skiing in the Alps. While Heim
was collecting these data, William James was working on the one undisputed classic in
the psychology of religion, The Varieties of Religious Experience, illustrating his own shift
from the natural science assumptions of the Principles of Psychology to more
phenomenological and narrative methods appropriate to the study of religious
experience. We will briefly address this history in light of conceptual issues in the
identification, measurement, and ontological assumptions by researchers in NDE. The
historical tracing of the conceptual issues raised by NDE will serve to lay the foundation
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for our empirical study of contemporary Christian believers who handle serpents in a
religious ritual that provides a likelihood of maiming or death. Interviews from those
actually dying from serpent bites and from those who survived what were clearly NDEs
from serpent bites will be used to illustrate the phenomenology of NDEs from serpent
bites in an explicitly framed religious tradition whose central ritual is rooted in their
understating of the plain meaning of Mark 16:17-18 which includes the mandate to take
up serpents.

Name: Theodora S.F. Jim

Affiliation: Lancaster University
E-mail: t.jim@lancaster.ac.uk
Ancient Mystery Cults and Salvation
In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, it was often held that ancient mystery
cults were religions of salvation (Erlsungsreligionen). Ancient mystery cults, it is said,
were very much concerned with the afterlife, and therefore already expressed the very
same concern for individual salvation that was later expressed in Christianity. Such
interpretations have been criticised by Walter Burkert in Ancient Mystery Cults (1987),
who argued against the other-worldly character of Greek mysteries. Burkerts work
remains one of the most important studies of mystery cults today; nevertheless it does
not examine the actual use of the Greek word soteria (salvation, deliverance), which is
central for determining whether Greek mystery cults were indeed Erlsungsreligionen.
This paper investigates the extent to which Greek mystery cults could offer soteria
(salvation) in the eschatological sense. By examining the language of soteria in the bestknown mystery cults in the Classical and Hellenistic periods, it will ask whether Greek
eschatological hopes were ever expressed in the language of soteria or in other terms. It
will be demonstrated that, even when used in relation to mysteries, soteria did not mean
anything other than protection in the here-and- now, so that what was offered was
predominantly a this-worldly salvation. If early Christianity indeed derived its most
important concept (soteria) from Greek religion, it was a derivation with a significant
adaptation and change in meaning.

Name: Elena Sol Jimnez

Affiliation: University of Cantabria
E-mail: elena.sol.j@gmail.com
Christian Gnosticism: Against Institutionalizing the Divine
Ante-Nicene Christianity was characterized by its variety of groups and doctrines.
However, since the 4th Century, the institutionalizing process of the Great Church fought
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against any deviation considered a Heresy. Some Christian writers resisted this process
and insisted on individual ability of knowing and reaching God without the necessity of
any intermediate hierarchy. Thus, Christian Gnosis found the divine inside the
individual, who experienced it and became part of it through contemplative rites. Texts
such as Three Steles of Seth or Allogenes made scholars think on mental stages of
abstraction that the gnostics would use to approach the divine until they reach a
moment of total closeness with it. In Christian Gnosis, the link with God belonged to the
believer, while the hierarchy was considered to misguide Christians. Gnostics defended
a religiosity external from the temporal power and promoted research on the divine in a
spiritual sense, instead of restricting it inside dogmas and a hierarchy that would
monopolize God.

Name: Joanna Jurewicz

Affiliation: University of Warsaw
E-mail: j.jurewicz@uw.edu.pl
Conceptual Blending and Mystic Experience
In the lecture, I will present a cognitive approach in the analysis of mystic
experience which is described in the ancient Indian literature and presented in art as the
summum bonum of the religious endeavor. It is possible to learn the techniques which
lead to this aim under the control of reason. These techniques are called yoga. The vision
of the God who manifests himself in the whole cosmos appears at the final stages of the
experience, just before the ultimate liberation. The main source for the investigation will
be 11th chapter of the Bhagavad-Gita and visual representations of the vision described
in it. I will use the theory of conceptual blending (Fauconnier, Turner 2000, 2004,
Sweetser 2000) to show that vision is realized thanks to the compression of multiple
concepts which leads the mystic to the global insight of reality. As Fauconnier and
Turner (2004), conceptual blending is part of our everyday thinking, although most of
the time it is unconscious. I will argue that the Indian mystics acquired the ability to
consciously control it in order to gain the proper vision. This would explain the specific
nature of the Indian mystic experience which is intersubjective and repeatable. The
general conclusion is that cognitive approach and the tools of cognitive linguistics are
very useful in the investigation of religious experience.

Name: Sonia Kamiska

Affiliation: Jagiellonian University in Krakw
E-mail: kaminska.sonia@gmail.com
Alexander of Aphrodisias and his mystical interpretation of Aristotles nous
poietikos and Deity
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Alexander of Aphrodisias (head of the School in Athens in the years 198-211) was
one of the most influential heirs of Aristotle. He followed in Eudemuss footsteps
mainly in believing that the active intellect (nous poietikos) was divine, scil. it was Deity
(Prime Mover) itself. According to Alexander nous poietikos is a purely spiritual
substance, separate from the nature of man and acting upon him. Since it is the divine
intelligence itself (Deity) it is the ground of all things. This view has this peculiar
consequence that human soul (i.e. passive mind / nous pathetikos) is fully dependent on
the body and thus mortal. Whereas the active intellect is one and the same for all
people who can participate in it. Such a view is rather exotic among Aristotelian
scholars, as most of them try to prove that we are immortal beings and some of them
even claim that this immortality is an individual one. And this drive to establish the
grounds for our immortality is characteristic not only of Christian-Aristotelian thinkers.
In my talk I will present Alexanders reading of Aristotles De Anima 3.5 as well as briefly
compare it to other thinkers, like Theoprastus, Eudemus, Themistius, Avicenna,

Name: Andrew J. Korzeniewski

Affiliation: University of Pittsburgh
E-mail: ajk42@pitt.edu
The Growth of Venus
Do the gods lie and actively deceive us? In Aeneid I, Aeneas senses that a deity is
deceiving him and hes right: Venus, wearing a disguise that Aeneas immediately sees
through, delivers verae voces, false words (i.409). Why? Well, perhaps we might want
to amend our initial question and ask, Do the gods lie and actively deceive themselves?
Similarly, do the divine grow, or are they fixed, fully developed and immutable in
Over the course of the Aeneid, Venus transforms from an initial state of
myopically choosing not to grasp Aeneas fated destiny, a position consciously produced
by her maternal desire to protect her son from the fated labors he has in store; she
eventually changes her stance and comes to help Aeneas realize that undergoing said
labors is his destiny, even going so far as to provide him the tools necessary to achieve
Vergils Venus exhibits the thoroughly human capacity for personal growth, and
in her growth, we see a new understanding of the gods: They are more human than we
might have thought and Venus possesses a distinctly human nature, her behavior
reflecting fundamental issues of human biology.

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Name: Jan Kozowski

Affiliation: University of Warsaw
E-mail: jan.kozlowski@uw.edu.pl
Christian Martyr as a Hyperthanatic Philosopher and Mystes and the Victory of
Christianity in the Late Antiquity
The creation by ancient Christianity of the concept of the martyr was
undoubtedly one of the reasons, why the young religion could on the one hand endure
times of persecution and on the other attract new believers. But why, precisely, the
invention of the martyr turned out to be the wonderful weapon of Christianity? Among
many possible and not mutually exclusive answers one more may be given: the person
of the martyr fulfilled simultaneously, in a unknown earlier intensity and scale, two
soteriological ideals of the ancient world: this of a dying philosopher (the concept of
noble death) and that of a mystes, intimately united with a dying and resurrecting
divinity. From this point of view, Christianity won the confrontation with paganism,
since it gave more convincing and forceful answer to the central anthropological issue of
the Greco-Roman world, that of mans mortality and his aspiration to eternal, divine life.

Name: Krzysztof apiski

Affiliation: University of Warsaw
E-mail: k.lapinski@uw.edu.pl
Therapeutic dimension of dreams in ancient Greece: the cult of Asclepius and
Hippocratic medicine
The aim of this paper is to juxtapose selected inscriptions (iamata) from the
stelae preserved in the temple of Asclepius at Epidaurus and the Hippocratic treatise On
Dreams, to show two different approaches to the role of dreams in treating diseases in
ancient Greece. The former texts include the cases of miraculous healings via incubation
procedure, and are closely connected to the peculiar, intimate religious experience,
which was typical for the cult of Asclepius. The latter depicts an effort to apply a more
scientific perspective into understanding dreams. The Hippocratic author attempts to
use his analysis of dream content to his diagnostic and prognostic purposes, discerning
between religious and natural dreams. Finally, both these paradigms will be compared
to the recent scientific perspective, which perceives sleep and dreams as purely
physiological phenomena, and is focused on sleep disorders and the quality of sleep
rather than on the content of dreams as a diagnostic or therapeutic tool.

Name: Oena ucyszyna

Affiliation: The University of Humanities and Economics in d
- 14 -

Email: olutsyshyna@yahoo.co.in
Classical Skhya on the Relationship between the Vedic Revelation (ruti) and
Its Own Doctrine
The aim of my paper is to clarify the view of classical Skhya, one of the
orthodox (stika) schools of Indian philosophy, on the status of the Vedas. The
Skhya orthodoxy, as well as orthodoxy of all other schools of Brahmanical
philosophy, is defined by their acknowledging the authority of the Vedic revelation
(ruti). What is the real Skhya attitude towards the Vedas? Are the Vedas considered
as the highest authority and the source of the Skhya teaching, or the recognition of
their authority is nothing more than a declaration? The paper is a contribution to the
studies of the attitude of the schools of Indian philosophy to the Vedas, as well as the
studies of the role of the Vedas in Hindu tradition in general.
My research is based on all the available classical Skhya texts, that is, the
Skhyakrik by varaka and the following eight commentaries on it: the
commentary which survived in the Chinese translation of Paramrtha, the Skhyavtti,
the Skhyasaptativtti, the Skhyakrikbhya by Gauapda, the Yuktidpik, the
Jayamagal, the Mharavtti by Mhara, and the Skhyatattvakaumud by Vcaspati
Mira. I distinguish and reconstruct the following three main tendencies which
constitute the classical Skhya view on the status of the Vedas: 1) Skhya is
authoritative because it is based on ruti; 2) Skhya is ruti; 3) Skhya is higher than
the Vedas; it is the highest teaching and the source of the Vedas and all the authoritative
texts and doctrines. It is possible that the second and the third tendency are not two
separate tendencies but the same one.

Name: Anna M. Makowiak

Affiliation: Jagiellonian University in Krakw
E-mail: aniamackowiak@gmail.com
Commodifying Balinese Mystical Heritage: Tari Kecak
The kecak dance, the most recognisable performance of Balinese culture and a
must-see for numerous travellers, originated from the sanghyang dedari purification
ritual. In the course of the exorcism, virgin girls are possessed and singers intonate
entrancing cak, cak, cak, cak The kecak is based on the same vocal pattern performed
by mens chorus. In the middle of singers, leading dancers act the episodes from
Ramayana. The transformation of the genre, from sanghyang to kecak begun in 1930s,
thanks to Walter Spies and I Wayan Limbak.
My aim is to examine the kecak, its ritual ancestor, and the relation between them.
According to Comaroffs and Michael Stausberg, traditional Balinese dances in the
context of tourism capture the attention of locals who perceive them as authentic,
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indigenous, mystical. Therefore, I am convinced that the distinction between sacred

dances, like sanghyang dedari and purely entertaining, aimed at tourists, secular
performances, like kecak is blurred.

Name: Joanna Malita-Krl

Affiliation: Jagiellonian University in Krakw
E-mail: joanna.malita@doctoral.uj.edu.pl
Meeting Gods in the circle British Traditional Witchcraft as a modern mystery
Wicca, also known as the British Traditional Witchcraft, has become one of the
fastest growing contemporary Pagan religion in past years. In its most traditional form it
is often defined as a mystery religion, and the role of the rite of initiation to the cult
cannot be overestimated. Every initiated witch becomes a priest or priestess to the
Wiccan deities, the Triple Moon Goddess and the Horned God, and during every ritual he
or she meets and worships them within the sacred circle.
Basing on the writings of the prominent witches, including Gerald B. Gardner,
Doreen Valiente and the Farrars, as well as on my on-going research among Polish
traditional Wiccans (semi-structured interviews and observational study), I will analyse
Wicca as a modern mystery cult. What does this mystery mean for the modern witches,
can it actually be conveyed in any way to non-initiated people (given the oath of secrecy
and the simple inability of expressing the experience)? Parallels with the ancient cult
like the Eleusinian Mysteries will also be presented, as the believers often see
themselves as the continuators of the ancient traditions.

Name: Maciej Mnnich

Affiliation: John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin
Email: munnich@kul.pl
The Concept of Netherworld in the Post-Exilic Biblical Wisdom Circles
In Biblical research it is generally accepted that Yahweh is the Lord of all the
World, including the netherworld. However, a careful analysis of the Biblical text can
show some cracks on such the picture. These cracks are visible in some sapiential
Biblical works (Jb 7:21; Ps 88:6). It is an effect of the removal of Yahweh from the
impure sphere of the dead. Such process began already before the Exile, but the apogee
was after the return from Babylon. In addition it was a time when the principle of the
temporal retribution was shaken, but the divine justice could not be moved beyond the
grave because the concept of resurrection did not appear yet.

- 16 -

Name: Zbigniew Nerczuk

Affiliation: Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toru
E-mail: zibbi@umk.pl
Protagoras lost treatise On the gods
Protagoras from Abdera was counted by the ancient scholars among the main
atheists of antiquity. The reason of that opinion was his treatise On the gods of which
just the opening sentence has been preserved to our times. In Diogenes Laertius version
(DL IX 51 = DK 80 B 4) the sentence reads: Concerning the gods, I am not in a position
to know either that they exist, or that they do not exist; for there are many obstacles in
the way of such knowledge, notably the intrinsic obscurity of the subject and the
shortness of human life. In this presentation on the basis of the philological (the
analysis of extant testimonies) and philosophical (reconstruction of Protagoras
ontological and epistemological position) examination it is argued that although the first
sentence of the testimony (Concerning the gods, I am not in a position to know either
that they exist, or that they do not exist) is rightly regarded as the quotation from the
opening phrase of Protagoras treatise, yet the final part of this saying (notably the
intrinsic obscurity of the subject and the shortness of human life) is not likely to be the
quotation, but is rather the summary of the contents of the lost writing.
(The project was financed from the funds of the National Science Centre granted under a
decision no. DEC-2013/09/B/HS1/01996)

Name: Kamil Nowak

Affiliation: Jagiellonian University in Krakw
E-mail: anthropos32@gmail.com
Understanding Buddhism in Modern Taiwan through the Concept of Gnosis
Gnosis is understood in the presentation as a liberating wisdom being the
important part of the soteriology of various religious traditions. The analysis is focused
on the changes in Taiwanese Buddhism that occured in the last century and resulted
with the rapid growth of the new Buddhist organizations such as Fo Guang Shan,
Dharma Drum Mountain or Chung Tai. These organizations focus, each in its own way,
on spreading the knowledge of Buddhist Doctrine and meditation practice in opposition
to the Buddhist temples founded in the times of Qing dynasty which are mostly oriented
towards ritualistic activities. In nowadays Taiwan both approaches to Buddhism are
widespread and representative for Taiwanese Buddhism. The aim of the analysis is to
understand the differences between these approaches and motivations standing behind
them, based on the concept of gnosis.

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Name: Monika Nowakowska

Affiliation: University of Warsaw
E-mail: m.nowakowska@uw.edu.pl
When gods are nothing but names a case of a ritual syntax
Dharm is the automatic contemporary equivalent in the Hindi language, for example,
for the Western term religion. Its Sanskrit source, dharma, notoriously significant and
thus ambiguous a word, with a long and broad, cross-religious history of usage, about
two thousand years ago was defined in the oldest exegetical tradition to the Vedas,
called Mms, as a rather vague objective of the ritual activity (cf. Mms-stra
1.1.2). Mms was focused on the Vedic rituals and their proper implementation and
interpretation, and had it as an axiom that Vedas as the source of ritual injunctions are
eternal, authorless and meaningful. It did not thus see any point in assuming the
existence of a one God-Creator, either of the world or of Vedas, and in its explanations of
ritual syntax, Mms assigned gods the rather limited role of addressees of offerings.
Gods were not useless, as some scholars even said, but they definitely were only names,
indispensable, yet just components of the overall ritual structure, deprived of any
independent being. In this paper I will sum up the discussion of gods role according to
the oldest Mms, concluding with some remarks on the quite archaic ritual
understanding of dharma in this system.

Name: Stanisaw Obirek

Affiliation: University of Warsaw
E-mail: s.obirek@uw.edu.pl
Evolution vs Theology, or Theology of Evolution
The impact of Charles Darwins theory of evolution on religious thinking is
beyond dispute. Darwin published his most important work on general biological
evolution (On the Origins of Species) in 1859 and in 1871 he applied this theory to the
origin of man (The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex). From the beginning,
most of Christian churches rejected Darwins view but most of the scientist accepted it
as the most convincing explanation of life mechanisms. A new chapter in this
controversy was opened by Richard Dawkins in 2006 with the publication of God
Delusion in which he not only vigorously defended Darwins theory but also rejected any
religious dimension of biological reality. An interesting alternative to Dawkins theory
was elaborated by John F. Haught in his trilogy: God After Darwin: A Theology of
Evolution (2000), Making Sense of Evolution: Darwin, God, and The Drama of Life (2010),
and Resting on the Future: Catholic Theology for an Unfinished Universe (2015 in which
he elaborated a theology of evolution wherein he reconciled the theory of evolution with

- 18 -

Christian-Catholic theology. The aim of my presentation is to ask to what extent this

attempt is successful.

Name: Ewa Panik-Tuowiecka

Affiliation: University of Warsaw
E-mail: ewa.pasnik@uw.edu.pl
Antemortem Meditations. Death preparations in Taoism and Yungdrung Bon
Yungdrung Bon is a prebuddhist religion of Tibet, which nowadays has been
recognized as the fifth spiritual path leading to enlightenment (beside four Tibetan
Buddhist traditions). This tradition not only has very elaborate beliefs related to the
process of dying and preparations for it, but also very rich mourning and burial rituals.
Those preparations include embracement of certain attitude towards the process of
dying during one's lifetime and, show similarities with Taoist philosophy and religion
(especially inner alchemy practices). On one hand these similarities arent that
surprising for both traditions were subject to the influence of Indian Buddhism, on the
other hand it is interesting that the motivations and in some sense the ultimate goal of
these practices is completely different.
From the second half of the 20th century scholars of different academic
disciplines have more often researched the question of death. Chinese thanatology and
eschatology also have been the subject of numerous studies of Chinese and western
scholars. Even though the similarities between inner alchemy and Tantric Buddhism
have been noticed, the heritage of the Bon tradition has often been omitted.
The main purpose of this paper is to describe similarities in the meditation
instructions for dying person, which are proposed by both traditions, as well as to show
the differences in motivations and goals.

Name: Artur Przybysawski

Affiliation: Jagiellonian University in Krakw
E-mail: artur.przybyslawski@uj.edu.pl
Buddhism as transformation of consciousness. Cognitive perspective
The paper approaches Buddhism as a system aiming at transformation of
consciousness. Through philological-philosophical analysis of two key notions in
Buddhist philosophy of Tibet: conditioned consciousness (rnam shes) and primordial
consciousness (ye shes), Buddhism is shown as a kind of applicable psychology and
philosophy rather than a cult based on faith. Two crucial notions of Buddhism, namely
samsara and nirvana, are shown in the context of two concepts of consciousness as well.
- 19 -

The basis for the paper are the following Tibetan texts:
rnam shes dang ye shes 'byed ba'i bstan bcos bzhugs so//
rnam shes dang ye shes brtag pa zhes bya ba'i bstan bcos bzhugs so//
rnam par shes pa dang ye shes 'byed pa'i bstan bcos kyi tshig don go gsal du 'grel pa
rang byung dgongs pa'i rgyan ces bya ba bzhugs so//
rnam par shes pa dang ye shes 'byed pa'i bstan bcos kyi mchan 'grel rje btsun 'jam pa'i
dbyangs kyi zhal lung nor bu ke ta ka dri ma med pa'i 'od ces bya ba bzhugs so//

Name: Ruzana Pskhu

Affiliation: Russian Peoples Friendship University in Moscow
E-mail: r.pskhu@mail.ru
The Problem of Interpretation of the Sufi Texts of Niffary
The strangest figure of the history of Sufism or Islamic Mysticism, Muhammad
Ben Abd al-Jabbar al-Niffary (d. 965), is a scientific puzzle for any researcher, who
investigates his written heritage. We have at least two reasons to consider him as a
scientific mystery. One of them is the fact that we havent any information about his life,
teachers, disciples etc. Another reason is that al-Niffarys works are written in the
difficult style, they are filled by numerous allusions, various contradictions and vague
images, which in their turn dont allow any reader to systemize his ideas or to
understand with clearness the things, expressed by his language. As it is known, alNiffarys written heritage concludes several very small unedited treatises and two vast
works, which were edited and translated for the first time in 1935 by A.Arberry. These
texts are very similar in their structure, style and strong expressiveness. The dialogues
between the God and the mystic, presented in these works, are devoted to explaining the
path to the God and the God himself explain to the mystic the divine meaning of the
stayings, which are denoted by different terms. The paradoxicality of the phrases used
by him to express his thoughts completely disorients the reader in his attempts to
understand and reconstruct the logic structure of al-Niffarys doctrine.

Name: Magorzata Religa

Affiliation: University of Warsaw
E-mail: malgorzata.religa@uw.edu.pl
The Ancient Buddha the God of the Fourth Way?
The sectarian tradition of the Chinese religions (sometimes called the fourth
Chinese religion) remains alive even today (for instance in the Yiguandao, an important
sect active in Taiwan and among the overseas Chinese). One of the most important texts,
still read and used in the rituals and explanations of the sectarian teachings (Dao) is
- 20 -

Longhuajing Sutra of the Dragon Flower from the mid XVII century. This is the survey
of the language the Sutra of the Dragon Flower uses to describe its concept of ultimate
reality presented in anthropomorphic and personified symbols, important in unfolding
the mythical story of the generation of the world and its salvation: the Ancient Buddha
(GuFo), and other gods and/or his other appellations / manifestations such as The
Ancient Buddha of the Heavenly Truth (Tianzhen Gufo), The Venerable Heavenly Truth
(Lao Tianzhen), The Venerablenborn Mother (Wusheng Laomu), The Ancient Mother
(Gu Mu), The Venerable Nothingness (Lao Wu).

Name: Artur Rodziewicz

Affiliation: Jagiellonian University in Krakw
E-mail: arturodziewicz@gmail.com
Last Orphics from the Kurdish mountains? Orphic elements in the Yezidi religious
hymns and the Red Wednesday festival
Yezidism (Sharfadinism) is one of the most hermetic religions of Kurdistan, that
seems to contain elements of Sethian Gnosticism, Mithraism, Zoroastrianism,
Christianity and Islam. Due to the strict taboo on literacy, which was in force for
centuries, Yezidi religious knowledge has been passed down from generation to
generation in the oral transmission in a form of sacred hymns (qewls) recited
especially during the Yezidi festivals (most important of which is the Red Wednesday
festival, aremiya Sor).
During my studies on the Greek and Yezidi cosmogonies and a fieldwork in Iraq
and the South Caucasus I have observed a striking convergence between the Yezidi
cosmogonical myth and the Orphic one. This applies particularly to the Orphic theme of
the golden-winged Eros Protogonos emerging from the Egg and the Yezidi primary Pearl,
from which the four elements emerged, next joined together by the luminous Love.
The aremiya Sor festival is devoted to the creation of the world by God and its
passing to the Peacock Angel. During this festival the egg also plays important symbolic
and ritual role.
In my paper I will try to show the common elements of the Orphic and
Yezidi cosmogonies and propose a hypotheses on the origin of this convergence.

Name: Wacaw Romer

Affiliation: University of Wrocaw
E-mail: waclawromer@gmail.com
The methodology of comparative mysticism studies: the case of perennialism.

- 21 -

The paper aim to analyze the conditions of possibility in the field of comparative
study of mysticism. The goal is to criticize the perennialist notion of a common core of
various mystical experience, in a Wittgensteinian way, using the tools of philosophy of
language. The paper would strongly, but not entirely base on the work of Steven Katz.
Firstly, I would like to show, that the vast majority of problems in question are produced
on the methodological level, by choosing and setting an unclear essentialist
epistemological frame. Secondly, I would like to focus on the notion of ineffability by
showing that it cannot be an excuse for non-intelligibility of the study. I would do that by
analyzing different kinds of ineffability: in the experience of colors, tastes, emotions.

Name: Shoshana Ronen

Affiliation: University of Warsaw
E-mail: ronen@uw.edu.pl
Blessed Thou Lord for not being made a woman versus Blessed Thou Lord for
being made as I am: From exclusivism to inclusivism in Jewish prayers
Jewish prayers and holly texts of religious rituals, texts and fragments which are
repeated constantly in Sabbath, in holidays, and even in every morning prayer, contain
massages which are, form contemporary point of view, highly exclusive and
discriminating. However, Judaism treats its texts as sacred and given directly from God,
and therefore, as unchangeable. Jewish Orthodoxy refuses to alter a word, even one
letter, in the traditional texts, and even more progressive Jewish trends tend to keep the
original texts as they were written about two thousand years ago. Nevertheless, since
the reform Judaism in mid-1800s in Germany and particularly, since mid-1900s in the
USA liberal and progressive Jewish communities came into the conclusion that, with all
due respect and faithfulness to the old texts, concepts as human dignity is more
important, and therefore, some changes have to be made. Usually those were slight
alterations which eliminated from the original exclusive and belittling meaning. I would
like to discuss in my paper, some of those texts, their direct meaning, their many
interpretations, and their modern alteration.

Name: Tinu Ruparell

Affiliation: University of Calgary
E-mail: ruparell@ucalgary.ca
A Symetrical Basis







Where do our basic notions of fairness come from? How is it that even very young
children (and a growing number of primate species) exhibit a well-developed sense of
- 22 -

fairness? Recent work by De Waal (2014) and others has proposed that meta-ethical
sensitivities are evolved characteristics aimed at social cohesion. Very basic notions of
fairness seem to be hardwired and selected for. In this paper I seek to extend De Waals
work by asking whether there may be a biomorphological, perceptual basis for this
moral sense. I argue that our own experience of symmetry as a basic fact of our bodies
and environments may supply a non-social basis for moral sensitivities. This analysis
provides a potential basis for understanding the development of moral sense at the
individual level. Necessary but not sufficient, symmetry, I will argue, is a basic aspect of
our moral sensibility. I will then consider how symmetry plays a part in religious
traditions understood as social technologies. I will focus on certain theories of dharma
to illustrate the technologization of this axiom in religious traditions.

Name: Tatiana G. Skorokhodova

Affiliation: Penza State University
E-mail: tgskorokhod@gmail.com
Phenomena of Religious Consciousness in Genesis of Neo-Vedantism:
Understanding in Study of the Bengal Renaissance Philosophical Thought
The influences of phenomena of religious consciousness on thinking and
philosophy are underestimated subject in research of Modern Indian philosophy. Based
on the materials of the Bengal Renaissance XIX early XX century, the paper proposes to
complement an explanatory approach to genesis of Neo-Vedantism with
phenomenological approach for understanding on through religious consciousness of
the epochs thinkers. The basic foundations of Neo-Vedanta philosophy were created
predominantly owing to special phenomena of religious consciousness basic and
derivative. Basic one are primordial religious experience and an experience of
contemplation and understanding of Other religion. Derivative phenomena of religious
consciousness are monotheistic revolution (term by Grigory Pomerants) and dialogue
of religions in personal consciousness. The example of the Bengal Renaissance
inaugurator, reformer and philosopher Rammohun Roy (17721833) helps to describe
these phenomena in his own religious consciousness and to represent the influences of
Islam and Christianity on genesis of Neo-Vedantism along with Western rationalism
and Indian philosophical traditions. The paper are intended to prove that the novelty of
interpretation of Vedanta by Rammohun and his inheritors had been achieved by
opening of resemblance of Vedanta and Other religious traditions meanings in dialogue.
The novelty of Neo-Vedantism is in appearance of mighty ethical and social vectors of
thinking. Besides, the combination of aforesaid phenomena had created the method of
philosophizing free dialogue of own tradition with another for enriching of indigenous

- 23 -

Name: Konrad Szocik

Affiliation: University of Information Technology and Management in Rzeszw
E-mail: konrad-szocik@wp.pl
Evolutionary approach to the study of religion: Religion and religious beliefs as an
Scholars employing an evolutionary approach to the study of religion and
religious beliefs search for ultimate explanations of the origin, propagation, and
persistence of religious beliefs. This quest often pairs in debate two opposing
perspectives: the adaptationist and by-product explanations of religion and religious
beliefs. The majority of scholars prefer the by-product approach, which is agnostic and
even doubtful of the usefulness of religious beliefs.
Despite this pervasive negativity, it seems unwarranted to deny the great usefulness of
religious beliefs, particularly concerning its past utility. Instead, adaptationist
explanations of religion and religious beliefs must be re-established as interesting and
useful approaches to the study of religious beliefs.

Name: Andrzej Szyjewski

Affiliation: Jagiellonian University in Krakw
Email: a.szyjewski@iphils.uj.edu.pl
Kurpanys anomaly a contribution to the theory of hybridization
Dominance of hybrid shape of mythical beings was explained in Boyer and
Barrett researches as an effect of better memorizing some violations of intuitive
expectations for ontological categories (Religion Explained, p. 84). In order to be easily
recalled such violation must be moderate, and not iterative.
Ill try to show that the process of creating mythical beings is much more
complicated that is was assumed by aforementioned cognitivists, using an example of
Aboriginal mythic monster, Kurpany taken from the complex of belief connected with
Pitjantjatjara sacred centre Uluru. Construction of Kurpany several times seriously
violates categorial boundaries, not to mention taxonomic ones. Its shape is created
within the Aboriginal cultural tradition in a way that is specific for the Aboriginal mode
of thought. According to their worldview the more hybrid features are present, the
better their bearer may be qualified as the demonic being (mamu). Some hybrid features
of Kurpany (like wooden skeleton) were borrowed from the ritual building of earth
figures, other were simply caused by the structural transformations of mythical events
into characteristic landscape features of Uluru.
Kurpanys anomaly may be a proof that classical cognitive theories of religion, apart
from their enormous usefulness for the reconstructions of evolutionary processes

- 24 -

within religion in general, are not sufficient to explain successfully evolution of

particular religions.

Name: Konrad Talmont-Kaminski

Affiliation: University of Finance and Management in Warsaw
E-mail: k.talmontkaminski@gmail.com
Evolutionism 50 years after Theories of Primitive Religion
In 1965 Evans-Pritchard published what is considered the ultimate critique of
evolutionist theories of religion. 50 years later evolutionary approaches to the study of
religion are thriving. Is this because the lessons contained in Theories of Primitive
Religion have been forgotten? Or is it that the modern approaches have managed to
learn from the errors Evans-Pritchard catalogued?
It would be easy to dismiss the most fundamental criticisms of evolutionism made by
Evans-Pritchard on the grounds that the evolutionary theories he focussed upon were
based much more on Comtes positivist view of history than on Darwins evolutionary
theory and, therefore, have little in common with modern approaches that aim to be
based upon current evolutionary biology. However, Evans-Pritchards critique was
much more thorough than that and concerned theory, methods and data.
While enormous progress has been made concerning the available data, the variety of
methods used to obtain it and the theories used to make sense of it, many of the issues
Evans-Pritchard raised keep reappearing in novel forms. As such his book remains a
significant reference point for any attempt to understand religion.

Name: Lech Trzcionkowski

Affiliation: Jagiellonian University in Krakw
E-mail: trzcion@wp.pl
Bacchic-Orphic daimones and the spatial metaphor of way
It is well known that daimones appear in Orphic and Bacchic texts and rituals, but
their specific nature has not yet been studied in any detail. In the present paper I would
like to focus on the term impeding daimones ( , cf. P.Derv. col. VI l. 24) in the context of mystery cults, divinatory practices, and early philosophical thought. I
assume that they constitute a special category of the supernatural agents which should
be appeased by means of performance of proper rituals. First, I shall sketch the
characteristics of itinerant religious specialists (manteis, magoi) performing rituals to
appease gods and relieve their clients from some personal fears or to guarantee more
earthly goods (e.g., health and wealth). I will stress the spatial metaphors used in their
rituals and myths interpreting them in the light of cognitive dimensions of relations
- 25 -

between mortals and supernatural agents. Furthermore, I will discuss the daimones
attested in the so-called Orphic gold leaves. Daimones are mentioned in some variants
of the text from Thurii alongside other underworld deities (Persephone, Eubouleus and
Eukles) as the group of gods receiving the purified soul of the initiated. It seems to be
significant that in some of these texts daimones are replaced by theoi or are mentioned
together with them (the gods and other daimones). On the other hand, in the Derveni
papyrus daimones are identified with avenging psychai and appear in the context of the
fears of Hades, Erinyes and Eumenides. Recently, some scholars tried to reinterpret the
first columns of the Derveni papyrus as a description of Persian religious practices, but it
seems that the text demands some revision. Even if this interpretation at various points
remains acceptable, I would like to offer Greek parallels. As an ad hoc example may
serve Xenophons Anabasis (7.8.1-6), where Zeus Meilichios is represented as an
impeding divine agent to be appeased by sacrifices (cf. , to appease in P.Derv.
col. VI l. 1); it is worth noting that Socratic daimonion was an impeding divine sign too. I
would like to conclude with a suggestion that the concept of impeding daimones and
gods was a part of the technical vocabulary used by itinerant priests and in the mystery
cults since both of them offering to move the daemonic obstacles out of their clients

Name: Hanna Urbaska

Affiliation: University of Wrocaw
E-mail: hanna.urbanska@gmail.com
The Twilight Language of Svnubhava Gti by Nryaa Guru
The paper makes an attempt toward interpretation of the selected stanzas of the
Svnubhava Gti (Lyric of Ecstatic Self-Experience) by Nryaa Guru a South Indian
philosopher and social reformer from Kerala. In his mystical poem Nryaa includes
several verses (41, 42, 45-47) constituting mysterious description of iva being the goal
of yogic practice. Pictures of such a mystical experience that is unconceptualizable and
cannot be verbalized, presented by Guru in Svnubhava Gti, clearly show that
ineffability is the common characteristic of mysticism. However, it is worth comparing
the mentioned above stanzas with adequate passages of the Tamil aivite work
Tirumandiram by Tirumlar (especially verses included in the third tandiram devoted
among others to the concept of iva akti relation). An attempt to interpret these
stanzas by means of the so called twilight language of Tirumandiram (in which the most
sacred is hidden in the form of the most ordinary) shows that the comparative analysis
of these two works Tamil Tirumandiram and Malayalam Svnubhava Gti can become
an efficient instrument for research into nirgua poetry, presenting the indescribable
moments of realization.

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Name: Giuseppina Paola Viscardi

Affiliation: University of Salerno
E-mail: giusiviscardi@hotmail.com
Understanding to explain. Shifting ontologies and meaning-making processes:
categorization, explanation, and meta-representations in the study of religions
The study of religion is by its nature and by its history multi-disciplinary. The
contribution of new research paradigms such as cognitive, evolutionary, and
experimental approaches in the study of religion have called attention to a much
neglected but certainly fundamental aspect of human culture the mind. Recent work in
cognitive psychology applied to religion, especially that of Boyer (2001) and Atran
(2003) both strongly influenced by Sperber (1996, 2000) has made a strong case for
the claim that practices which, bundled together, have come to be classified as
religious, can be explained in terms of human (mind) evolution. In cognitive
perspective, the building of religious concepts requires mental systems and all sort of
specific human capacities (such as intuitiveness, or a tendency to attend to some
counterintuitive concepts, among the others).
Hence, assuming that humanity not only creates religion but is also created by it
(McNamara 2009), we can explain religion by describing how these various capacities
get recruited, how they contribute to the features of religion in many different cultures,
with particular reference to the human capacity to represent agency and ontological
shifting into the environment or, in other terms, to generate meta-representations, to
engage in meta-cognition.

Name: Maciej St. Ziba

Affiliation: John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin
E-mail: mszieba@poczta.pl
Neo-Confucians Understanding Sages - reflection on mind and language
Neo-Confucian revival of the Song era was facing a problem of the discontinuity
of its transmission of the Confucian Way. After Mencius (372-289 BC), up till Zhou Dunyi
(1017-1073) and his peers, Confucian scholars dealing with the Six Classics containing
the teachings of ancient Sages, did not understand their essence. Neo-Confucians
restored the philosophically sound interpretation by paying attention to the Four
Books (by Confucius and Mencius), as the Gate to Six Classics. These also became
obscure by the Song dynasty, so they needed to be commented upon and Zhu Xi (11301200) had to compose an anthology of his masters, the Reflections on Things at Hand
(Jinsilu), to make the Ladder to Four Books.How is it possible that those Song masters
started understanding texts? Human hearts/minds, and 10000 things have one common
nature, the Heavenly Principle (Tianli). The hearts of the Sages out of themselves are in
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harmony with it. Its by practicing the model of self-cultivation prescribed in the Four
Books (especially in Daxue, the Great Learning) that we reach the contact with the
Principle. Self-cultivation begins with investigation of things at hand for their
principle(s); one of those things is ones own heart. The principles contained in the texts
are found while comparing the principle of the things with the principle of the heart. But
without a guiding instruction from the Sages one could easily be misguided by ones
rising emotions. Its a hermeneutical circle, and entering the Way of philosophers with
the texts of the Ancient Sages in hand is like a religious conversion.

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