Franck GUYEN

Six lines of research in science and theology of religions for 2016 – 2017

jeudi 7 septembre 2017 par Phap

For the text in French, see here - Pour le texte en français, voir ici


a) During the academic year 2016-2017, due to the present circumstances, we’ll study the ambivalence of the religious phenomenon capable of the best as well as the worst.
Dealing with the dark side, we’ll focus on the relationship between the religious fact and violence as well as what is called "involvement with cults".

b) The specific nature of monotheism is a serious question : we’ll deal with it in dedicating a research field to the first book of the Bible Genesis

c) Regardless of present circumstances, we’ll continue our long term research on Asian spiritual traditions and on the Japanese spiritual traditions more specifically.

This research field, now almost ten years old, has been developped with the addition of the Chinese Taoism and the Indian Sikhism. About the Japanese course, we have expanded the contemporary issue with half of the course dedicated to new religious movements.

d) Comparatist research between Eastern and Western religious traditions is also one of our long term research fields. This year we’ll study the links between words and silence in the religious traditions.

You are interested by this program : please feel free to register
– Registration is compulsory in any case.
Courses take place in France. French-speaking ability is required.

The religious traditions : Peace makers of War-Mongers ?
We’ll see how religious speeches have justified the violence against bodies and souls but also how they have inspired critics of this very same violence.

We’ll evoke the big religious traditions : Western monotheisms (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) and the Asian traditions (Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism).

  1. We’ll focus more specifically on the Inquistion and the Witch hunt in Christianity ;
  2. Two sessions shall be devoted to Islam

Religiously-motivated violence raises from the confusion between political and religious levels as we can see through history but there are other reasons as shown in apocalyptic cults drifting towards violence.

With Franck GUYEN, lecturer in the Faculty of Theology of Lille and in the Faculty of Theology of Paris and Jean-François BOUR who will be in charge of the sessions on Islam. Jean-François BOUR has spent several years in Cairo (Egypt) where he has been studying the Arabic language and Islamology. He is currently assisting the Director of the Relation Service with Muslims inside the Conference of the Bishops of France.
Please see the details in French

New Religious Movements : from the "Religion" to the "Cult"
The « Cult » concept is controversial. Should we use the term « New religious movement » (NRM) instead ? But is this term that more relevant ? How can we link it to the concept of « religion » ?

  • We’ll go through this subject by studying New Religious Movements which are classified as « Cults » by the public opinion, whether in Asia or in the Western countries.
  • We’ll face more specifically two NRM responsible for numerous deaths, Jim Jones’ Peoples Temple in the USA and Shōkō Asahara’s Aum Shinrikyô in Japan.
With Franck GUYEN, lecturer in the Faculty of Theology of Lille and in the Faculty of Theology of Paris
Please see the details in French

The religious fact in Japan – Between animism and post-modern apocalyptic cults
The contemporary Japanese religious space is quite disconcerting : traditional religious forms go on thriving if we look at the attendance to the Shintô shrines and the Buddhist temples on New Eve.
Meanwhile « New Religious Movements » NRM go on mushrooming in their trail, when they don’t supplant them. According to Shimazono Susumu, an expert in the Japanese NRMs, between 10 and 20 % of the Japanese are affiliated to an NRM.

We’ll study the basis of the NMR, viz the traditional Japanase religious forms of Shintô and Buddhism.

  1. Then we’ll consider several NRM which have appeared from the 19th century until now.
  2. Christianity being relatively new in Japan, we’ll consider it a NMR in Japan. A Japanese protestant theologian will take in charge the session devoted to Christianity.
  3. We’ll illustrate the drifts of the NRM with the Aum Shirikyô cult which launched a sarin gaz attack in the Tôkyô underground on the 20th of March, 1995.
With Franck GUYEN, lecturer in the Faculty of Theology of Lille and in the Faculty of Theology of Paris, and Ken YAMAMOTO, Doctor in Divinity from the University of Strasbourg (France), who will be in charge of the session on Christianity in Japan
Please see the details in French

The great Asian spiritualities, from India to China
We’ll consider the great native spiritual traditions which inspired the two main cultural spheres of Asia :

  • the South East Asia influenced by the Indian culture (India, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodgia, Laos, Shri Lanka, Malaisia, Indonesia) with Hinduism and Sikhism ;
  • the Eastern Asia influenced by the Chinese culture (China, Vietnam, Korea, Japan) with Confucianism and Taoism

We’ll study a spiritual tradition, Buddhism, which was born in India and spread all over Asia.

We’ll go through their history and we’ll sketch out their representation of the world.

The course will confirm the creativity of the homo religiosus (the religious man in latin) when he expresses in his culture the religious experience.
This course will be an oportunity to develop our ability to listen to things outside our usual frame of Western thinking.

With Franck GUYEN, lecturer in the Faculty of Theology of Lille and in the Faculty of Theology of Paris
Please see the details in French

Asia and the West : word and silence in Hinduism, Taoism and Confucianism
Religious and spiritual traditions face a dilemma : how to put in words something which cannot be expressed in words, not because it lacks intelligibilty but because it exceeds it ?
These traditions offer us with a training : they educate us in knowing when to talk and when to be quiet. Word and silence.
We ‘ll see what it is about in the Hindu, Chinese and Buddhist worlds before interviewing Christianity from their part.
With : Christine KONTLER for the Chinese world, Gisèle SIGUIER-SAUNE for the Indian world, Éric VINSON for Buddhism and Franck GUYEN for the Christian counterpart.
Please see the details in French

Monotheism in the Bible – What does the Book of Genesis say ?
Monotheism has been singularly flourishing in the West. Is there anyway we could be more specific regarding this particular form of the unique God ?

We ‘ll look after it by reading the Book of Genesis from the beginning to the end. We’ll use historical, litterary and anthropological keys to enter a text whose symbolic power a deeply marked the Western consciousness for more than two milleniums.

We may succeed in taming this text which sounds weird in our time. Then we’ll have sketched the face of the unique God in the Bible.
With Franck GUYEN, lecturer in the Faculty of Theology of Lille and in the Faculty of Theology of Paris
Please see the details in French

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