Contemporary Religious Trends
Modern religious trends research focuses mainly on religious and spiritual developments in present-day Estonia, including both global and local trends. The researchers observe emergent phenomena in new religious or spiritual groups, as well as changes taking place in traditional religious organisations. The areas of interest include the religious situation as a whole, as well as particular developments in society and in the life of individuals. The research is based on the theories and methods of sociology of religion, church history, anthropology of religion, psychology of religion, ethnology, and folkloristics.
The research results have been published in degree theses, as research articles in specialised journals, and in the paper series “Mitut usku Eesti” (Multi-Religious Estonia).
Ringo Ringvee and Lea Altnurme have studied the topics of world religions, new religious movements, and religious diversity. Many degree theses have been defended by the students in this field.
The collection of papers “Mitut usku Eesti” (Multi-Religious Estonia), describing the status of world religions in Estonia, was published in 2004, with Lea Altnurme serving as the editor.
Another collection, “Uued usulised ja vaimsed ühendused Eestis” (New Religions and Spiritual Unions in Estonia), was published in 2012.
Indrek Pekko and Liina Eek have analysed the changes taking place in traditional churches. The former has studied the Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church in the 21st century, while the latter has focused on the present-day religiosity of Estonian Orthodox believers. Both are preparing for the defence of their doctoral theses.
Some developments in traditional Christianity in Estonia were covered in the collection “Mitut usku Eesti II” (Multi-Religious Estonia II), published in 2007 and edited by Lea Altnurme. Focusing specifically on the Orthodox Church, the collection “Mitut usku Eesti IV. Õigeusu eri” (Multi-Religious Estonia IV. Special edition on Orthodoxy) was published in 2015, edited by Liina Eek.
Lea Altnurme and Marko Uibu have been involved in the research on new spirituality. The former examined this subject matter in her doctoral thesis, “From Christianity to own Belief”, in the context of religious paradigm shifts. Marko Uibu has studied different aspects of new spirituality and was the editor of the collection “Mitut usku Eesti III. Uue vaimsuse eri” (Multi-Religious Estonia III. Special edition on new spirituality) (2013).
Altnurme and Liina Kilemit have studied individual religiosity and the motivation for joining, commitment to, and leaving religious unions. The latter is preparing to defend her doctoral thesis, “Reasons for Joining and Commitment to Christian Churches and Communities”.
Different facets of non-religiosity and atheism have been studied from the historical and social studies perspective by Atko Remmel, who collaborated with Meelis Friedenthal as an editor of the special issue of “Ajalooline Ajakiri” (The Estonian Historical Journal) on the history of religion and atheism in Estonia (2012).
An international conference “Old religion and new spirituality: continuity and changes in the background of secularisation” (www.orns.ut.ee) was held in Tartu from 26 to 29 May 2015, with presentations covering most of the subject areas in the field of modern religious trends that have been studied at the theological faculty of the University of Tartu.
- Altnurme, Lea. „Changes in mythic patterns in Estonian religious life stories“. Social Compass, 58 (1), 77−94, 2011. (http://scp.sagepub.com/content/58/1/77.abstract)
- Remmel, Atko; Uibu, Marko. „Outside Conventional Forms: Religion and Non-Religion in Estonia“. Religion and Society in Central and Eastern Europe, 8 (1), 5−20, 2015. (http://www.rascee.net/index.php/rascee/article/view/93)
- Remmel, Atko. „Ambiguous atheism: the impact of political changes on the meaning and reception of atheism in Estonia”. Annual Review of the Sociology of Religion, 7, 233−250, 2016.
- Remmel, Atko. „Religion, interrupted? Religious indifference in Estonia“. In: Johannes Quack and Cora Schuh (eds.), „Religious Indifferences: Between and Beyond Religion and Nonreligion“ [forthcoming]. Springer, 2017.
- Ringvee, Ringo. „New Religious Movements and New Age in Estonia“. In: James R. Lewis, Inga Bårdsen Tøllefsen (Ed.). Handbook of Nordic New Religions (478−494). Leiden: BRILL Academic Publishers. (Brill Handbooks on Contemporary Religion; 11), 2015.
- Uibu, Marko. „Re-emerging Religiosity: The Mainstreaming of New Spirituality in Estonia“. Journal of Baltic Studies, 257−274, 01629778.2015.1113432, 2016.