This special issue is a response to three remarkable developments in the humanities: religion's return to the center of scholarly attention, an outpouring of work on the changing nature and historical conditions of intellectual labor, and the widespread revival of interest in affect. While narrowly epistemological approaches to the study of religion have long been criticized for failing to capture aspects of mental activity that can't be described in rational-propositional terms, perhaps only a small portion of anyone's intellectual life can be adequately rendered in these terms. Simone Weil's famous assertion that every school exercise is like a sacrament challenges us to reconsider the limited vocabulary we employ to describe the nature of the mind's work in both “religious” and “secular” contexts. To this end, essays explore intersections between devotional practice and intellectual pursuits like textual production and scientific investigation.
Joanna Picciotto; Devotion and Intellectual Labor. Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies 1 January 2014; 44 (1): 1–15. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/10829636-2389470
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