Exploring the Emotional Turn of Religious Studies

A special issue of Religions (ISSN 2077-1444). This special issue belongs to the section "Religions and Health/Psychology/Social Sciences".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 15 December 2024 | Viewed by 376

Special Issue Editors

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Guest Editor
College of Behavioral and Social Sciences, California Baptist University, Riverside, CA 92504, USA
Interests: burnout; emotional labor; morality; organizations & institutions; religion; teaching practices

E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
College of Behavioral and Social Sciences, California Baptist University, Riverside, CA 92504, USA
Interests: marriage and family therapy; integration of Christianity and psychology; theology; worldview; counseling theory; faith learning integration

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Guest Editor
School of Business, California Baptist University, Riverside, CA 92504, USA
Interests: burnout; coping; differentiation of self; mindfulness

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The emotional turn of religious studies in recent scholarship marks a substantial development. There is a growing literature on self-transcendent emotions, collective effervescence, and perceived emotional synchrony, with texts seeking to describe how one’s emotions have spiritual and religious causes and effects. At one level, the focus of religious studies has been on religious beliefs, behaviors, and institutions and how these have impacted psychological well-being, coping with stressors, and connections with the transcendent. Studying the role of emotions is a necessary next step in this process as belief (cognitive assent) in a religious doctrine does not compelling explain certain religious and spiritual phenomena like meaningful work, personal happiness, and spiritual coping mechanisms. Emotions are important aspects of being human, and understanding their role in religion will aid in explaining their impact on human flourishing. For example, Wlodarczyk et al. (2023) discuss how collective religious experiences and rituals foster increased self-esteem in individuals participating in those collective rituals. In other words, collective experiences result in positive emotional benefits for individuals.

In Christian theological circles, as an example, there has been an increasing appreciation for emotional and feeling as part of religious experience. Smith (2009) has written cultures and religions have foster a certain emotional orientation. That is, cultural liturgies result in the emotional connection between the individual’s beliefs and practices and the embodiment of his or her culture. These cultural (and religious) liturgies encourage and orient one’s feelings to align with the values being expressed in the culture or religion.

We are pleased to invite you submit articles for this Special Issue of Religions.

This Special Issue of Religions intends to explore the emotional turn in religious studies due to its increased importance. This special edition seeks contributions from various fields to provide a multidisciplinary perspective on emotions and their role in religious experiences, beliefs, and practices.

In this Special Issue, original research articles and reviews are welcome. Research areas may include (but not limited to) the following:

  • Psychology of religion – the focus on emotional and religious sentiments;
  • Definition and review of research methods used in psychology/sociology of religion that reflect emotions;
  • Christian religious tradition in the emotional turn in religious studies;
  • Buddhist perspectives on emotion and religious/spiritual experience;
  • Muslim perspective on emotion and religious experiences;
  • Meaning making and worldview components associated with the emotions;
  • Articles discussing the ways in which psychological/sociological frameworks reinforce the emotional turn in religious studies;
  • Theological/philosophical critique of the emotional turn in religious studies;
  • Emotions, religious/spiritual experiences, and other aspects of society, i.e., work, family, politics, and communities;
  • The role of self-transcendent emotions in religious coping;
  • The role of self-transcendent emotions in other aspects of society, i.e., work, family, politics, and communities;
  • Understanding self-transcendent emotions from philosophical and/or theological perspectives (broadly defined);
  • Connection with emotions and empirical theology.

We request that, prior to submitting a manuscript, interested authors initially submit a proposed title and an abstract of 200–300 words summarizing their intended contribution. Please send it to the Guest Editors, Prof. Dr. Yvonne Thai (ythai@calbaptist.edu), Prof. Dr. Thomas Frederick (tfrederick@calbaptist.edu), and Dr. Scott Dunbar (sdunbar@calbaptist.edu), or to the Assistant Editor of Religions, Ms. Margaret Liu (margaret.liu@mdpi.com). Abstracts will be reviewed by the Guest Editors for the purposes of ensuring proper fit within the scope of the special issue. Full manuscripts will undergo double-blind peer review.

Deadline for abstract submission: 1 March 2024

Deadline for full manuscript submission: 15 May 2024

We look forward to receiving your contributions.

Prof. Dr. Yvonne Thai
Prof. Dr. Thomas Frederick
Dr. Scott Dunbar
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Religions is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • emotions
  • religious emotions
  • spirituality
  • religion
  • interreligious dialogue
  • self-transcendent emotions
  • spiritual experience
  • empirical theology

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission.
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