November 1, 2016
Professor of Religion
The Ritual and the Sincere Self
Respondent: Dr. Tomer Persico, Religious Studies Program, Tel Aviv University
Adam Seligman, a sociologist, is Professor of Religion at Boston University and Research Associate at the Institute on Culture, Religion and World Affairs there. His significant works are: The Idea of Civil Society (1992); The Problem of Trust (1997); Modernity’s Wager: Authority, the Self and Transcendence (2000); with Weller, Puet and Simon, Ritual and its Consequences: An Essay on the Limits of Sincerity (2008) and most recently, with Weller, Rethinking Pluralism: Ritual, Experience and Ambiguity (2012). This paper explores the ideas of religious and secular selves, through a comparison of ritual and sincerity, as two ways of framing our human experience in the world. It argues for the role of ritual in creating a subjunctive, “as if” space through which relations between selves can come to exist.