Course date

24 July - 4 August, 2000
Application deadline
15 February, 2000
Course Director(s): 

Agnes Birtalan

Inner Asian Studies, Eotvos Lorand University , Budapest, Hungary
Course Faculty: 

Zourabi Aloiane

Institute for German Studies, Oldenburg University, Germany

Luwsanjav Chuluunbaatar

Foreign Languages and Cultures, School of Mongolian Studies, National University of Mongolia, Ulaanbaatar

Mihaly Dobrovits

Miskolc University, Hungary

Sandor Fodor

Arabic Studies, Eotvos Lorand University, Budapest, Hungary

Anuar Galiev

Oriental Studies, Academy of Labor and Social Relations, Almaty, Kazakhstan

Istvan Kamaras

University of Pannonia, Veszprem, Hungary

Erdeniin Purewjaw

Osaka University of Foreign Languages, Osaka, Japan

Alice Sarkozi

Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest, Hungary

Avihai Shivtiel

Arabic and Middle-Eastern Studies, University of Leeds, United Kingdom

Andrey Terentyev

University of Aberdeen, United Kingdom

Gyula Wojtilla

Faculty of Arts, Ancient History, Szeged University, Hungary
The main idea of the course is to initiate discussion about the "peaceful penetration" of Eastern religious culture into the Central European region. The modern religious movements of Eastern origin, having decades-old tradition in the Western world, are a relatively new phenomenon in the post-Communist societies and thus require the academic community of the region to have a deeper insight in the problem.
 
The SUN course is intended to introduce a comparative analysis of religions that are not part of the traditional ones in the region including religions of India, Buddhism, and Islam. In addition, some older cults which left no direct traces in the region are to be highlighted, too. This is the case with Shamanism. It is essential to note that Christianity and Judaism, both having centuries-long continual past in the region will not be amongst the topics of our primary interest since they would be better dealt with in other contexts.
 
The remarkably rapid spread of new religious movements raises important questions: 
 
1. What makes them attractive while no substantial social, historical and mythohistorical grounds exist? 
2. What kind of impact do the "alien" beliefs and rituals have on public opinion in the region? 
3. Are the new religious systems able to establish themselves in the region or will they remain a domain of curious youngsters? 
4. Do they convey historical and cultural messages to the local intellectual life?

In this respect, one may refer to the image of Shamanism as an ancient native structure amongst the nationalistic circles of Hungary. In order to convene a regional forum for experts who could study these issues, it is necessary to advance an interdisciplinary approach involving religious and social experts. Our course may become the first attempt in this direction and may be followed by other scholarly gatherings in the region and beyond.

The university lecturers will have a chance to discuss Oriental rituals and their reverberation in the new religious trends in Central Europe, linguistic prerequisites and ideological premises of what makes new religious movements so successful in our region. Resource people, representing West and East and various academic schools, will draw the audience's attention to conflicting issues and their cultural background. To facilitate the task, a series of lectures and seminars disclosing socio-cultural roots of both the region and Eastern religions are to be suggested.