This presentation is based on an ongoing research project aiming at finding an “Orthodox Christian ethic”, a particular Orthodox Christian worldview (albeit by far not homogeneous) that would help explain some “peculiarities” of Orthodoxy: the strong interplay between religion and politics, the intricate connection between religion and nation/nationalism, the pervasive attachment to tradition, the ambiguous relation to modernity, economic underdevelopment etc.
Methodologically speaking, this research emulates Max Weber’s discussion of the “Protestant ethic”, based on the respective religion’s rapport to otherworldly matters and the ensuing impact on the this-worldly social, political or economic life of the community that practices that religion or at least identifies itself with it. The omnipresent notion of the gift in both Orthodox theology and lived religion make it inevitable to translate the theologically embedded notion of the gift into social scientific language, with the help of gift theory approach (of Marcel Mauss and others). Ultimately, it could be argued that the “Orthodox ethic” could be formulated as an ethic of the gift.
About the speaker:
Dr. Maria Hämmerli is a scholar of Religious Studies, specialized in Orthodox Christianity. Her research expertise spans a variety of topics, from the sociology and history of Orthodox migrations to Western Europe and Orthodox diaspora issues, to Orthodox identity and the relationship between Orthodoxy, ethnicity and nationalism.