Religion Professor Serves as Guest Editor, Contributes Article for International Journal

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Dr. Bryan Rennie, Westminster College Vira I. Heinz professor of religion, authored an article and served as guest co-editor for the international journal Archævs, Studies in the History of Religions, volume 15.

Volume 15 is a special issue dedicated to Mircea Eliade, the Romanian-American historian of religion who taught for 30 years at the University of Chicago.  Rennie has published a large body of work on Eliade's life and thought.  The issue's co-editor, Dr. Norman Girardot of Lehigh University, was a student and personal assistant to Eliade.

Rennie's article, "Fact and Interpretation: Sui Generis Religion, Experience, Ascription, and Art," argues that Eliade can best be seen as a proponent of the recently-named "attribution theory," which focuses on the characteristics that believers attribute to objects, acts, and events.  He suggests that religious art enables the apperception of "the sacred" in mundane experience in ways that are existentially valuable.

"The article grew out of a paper originally presented at the 2010 meeting of the American Academy of Religion," Rennie said.  "It was supplemented with new material and combined with previously published material to generate a longer paper that was first delivered at Harvard University's Davis Center in April.  This paper is intended to be the kernel of a more ambitious study of the relation of religion and the arts."

Rennie previously guest-edited the journals Religion in 2009 and Method and Theory in the Study of Religion in 2010.  He is currently guest-editing a volume of the bilingual Canadian journal Studies in Religion/Sciences Religieuses that is scheduled for publication in early 2012.

Rennie, who chairs Westminster's Department of Religion, History, Philosophy and Classics, has been with Westminster since 1992.  He earned an undergraduate degree, master's degree, and Ph.D. from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland.  He has authored four books and numerous articles on Mircea Eliade.

Contact Rennie at (724) 946-7151 or email for additional information.

About Westminster College...
Founded in 1852 and related to the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Westminster College ranks first in the nation as "Best College for Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math," according to Westminster, a top-tier liberal arts college, ranks third in graduation rate performance, according to U.S. News Best Colleges guide. Westminster ranked 6th among liberal arts colleges in social mobility, according to the Washington Monthly College Guide, and is one of the most affordable national liberal arts colleges in Pennsylvania. Westminster is also honored as one of "The Best 376 Colleges" by The Princeton Review, and is named to the President's Honor Roll for excellence in service learning.

Nearly 1,600 undergraduate and graduate students benefit from individualized attention from dedicated faculty while choosing from 42 majors and nearly 100 organizations on the New Wilmington, Pa., campus. Visit to view "Advantage: Westminster" A Strategic Plan 2010-2020.

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Dr. Bryan Rennie