Mikkel Gabriel Christoffersen, Niels Henrik Gregersen
Resonance, Risk, and Religion
Gerd Theißen and Hartmut Rosa on Religious Resonance
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In this article, we offer an interdisciplinary conversation between theology and sociology, critically assessing the concept of resonance in the theologian Gerd Theißen and the sociologist Hartmut Rosa. While the discipline of sociology has often been framed on the assumption that religions are merely social constructions of reality, both Theißen and Rosa take religious resonance experiences to exemplify a responsive attitude to reality. We begin by exploring physical and neurobiological instances of resonance as a general background for the use of acoustic metaphors in describing human relations between self and world. On this basis, we establish a critical dialogue between Theißen and Rosa, attending in particular to the ways in which risks of non-responsiveness appear on the horizon of resonance experiences. The central issue is how religious semantics may deal with the risks involved in human interactions with a reality that appears to be both generous and dangerous.