Jens Schlieter (project leader) is professor for the Systematic Study of Religion at the University of Bern's Religious Studies institute. His research will include a systematic contribution on the relationship of experimentation/experience in the field of religious practice, This will include a conceptual history of both terms. Moreover, he will analyze how Indian scholars and practitioners (Neo-Hinduism and Neo-Buddhism) from the 19th century advanced the concept and idea of experimentation with spiritual experiences, and to experiment with different religious traditions.
Friedemann Rimbach-Sator holds a Research Master in Theology and Religious Studies of the University of Amsterdam. His subproject Religious Practice as Experimentation: Autobiographical Sources in India and the West deals with the consequences of religious experimentation for practitioners: how did they set up their experiments and how did the outcome change their beliefs and subsequent practices? Ultimately this leads to the hypothesis that contemporary spiritual seekers are indebted to these experimental perfomances as well as its discourses.
Bastiaan van Rijn studied Religious Studies at Leiden University. In his sub-project Experimental Systems, Spiritual Practices, and Religious Experience, he will look at how the experimental systems (both practice and discourse) of the natural sciences of the 19th century influenced spiritual seekers in their own search for religious experiences and spiritual insights. To what extent do we see a metaphorical, or even a literal, inspiration in the way these actors talked about and performed their own religious experiments?
The project is based at the Institute for the Science of Religion at the University of Bern and is supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation (2019-2022). It has close ties to 'The Legacy of the 1960s and 1970s' project of the same institute. Next to that, the project also enjoys the help of several cooperation partners: