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Further Considerations on the Politics of Religious Discourse: Naim Frashëri and his Pantheism in the Course of Nineteenth-Century Albanian Nationalism

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In the standard tradition of both Albanian studies and Western scholarship, including either any interested religious and political activism or less ‘interested’ lay people, endeavours of historical and textual fact-finding have been relevant only to re-confirm and indeed perpetuate the very meaning of a myth, according to which the thinking of Naim Frashëri was formed and dominated by Bektashism and his ‘Albanianism’ had a Bektashi foundation. In an earlier paper this myth was shown to be unreliable by arguing that Frashëri's religious thinking was shaped by religious dualism. This paper argues further that Naim Frashëri went far beyond Bektashism in his heterodoxy, not only in a kind of liberation theology, but also by embracing a comprehensive pantheism which generated an active and all-inclusive attitude to Albanian identity, not necessarily limited in any special way to Bektashism. Methodologically, such a new picture must arise if the analysis of the historical and literary contextualization of Frashëri's major works is submitted to the perspective of social theoretical approaches to religion developed in sociology and anthropology.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 2013

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