Skip to main content
Article thumbnail
Location of Repository

The translation and domestication of an oriental religion into a western Catholic country: the case of Soka Gakkai in Italy

By Manuela Foiera


This thesis is premised on the fundamental notion of religious translation as a process of interpretation and adaptation that arises out of a complex iinguistic and cultural interplay. Its aim is to examine the types of interpretative problems one encounters as a society deeply rooted in Biblical and Christian practices struggles to integrate the rituals and formulae of Buddhism. As part of a cultural system, the translation of a religion cannot be explored in a vacuum, but needs to be viewed in the mutual interdependence with other elements of such system. Starting from Giambattista Vico's hypothesis that 'whenever men can form no idea of distant and unknown things, they judge them by what is familiar and at hand' (1744) this thesis aims to look at the interplay of local and foreign traditions in the translation and domestication of a Japanese new religious movement, Soka Gakkai, that has migrated from East to West. Through the notion of 'cultural repertoire', i.e. the aggregate of options utilized by a group of people for the organization of life', this work explores the extent in which Catholicism in Italy has influenced the formation of both religious sense and religious vocabulary. It will be argued that in Italy, the translation of an entire set of Japanese key-concepts pertaining to the sphere of religion has been measured on the yardstick of Christian vocabulary, and thus influenced by the search of 'perfect equivalences'. This operation has, in time, secured the successful dissemination of Soka Gakkai in the territory. At the same time, however, the overlap of Catholic and Buddhists practices has given rise to a peculiar form of hybrid religion that can be defined as 'Catho- Buddhism'

Topics: BQ, BR, P1
OAI identifier:

Suggested articles


  1. (1949). Enciclopedia Italiana di scienze, lettere e arti. Roma: Istituto della Enciclopedia Italiana. doi
  2. (1984). Memoria del sacro e tradizione orale. Atti del terzo colloquio interdisciplinare del Centro Studi Antoniani. Padova: Edizioni Messaggero. doi
  3. (1986). La Storia dItalia.
  4. (1992). La religione degli europei. doi
  5. (1961). L'eclissi del sacro. doi
  6. (1998). Sociologia delle religioni: probleini e prospettive. doi
  7. (2003). ll pluralismo introvabile: I problerni della ricerca
  8. (1994). Between Language and Cultures. Translation and Cross-Cultural Texts. doi
  9. (1996). Modernity at Large: Cultural Dimensions of Globalization. doi
  10. (2000). Soka Gakkai and Japanese Politics.
  11. (2002). The Insider/Outsider Problem in the Study of New Religious Movements. doi
  12. (1986). The Concept of Cultural Translation in British Social Anthropology. doi
  13. (1995). A Comment on Translation, Critique, and Subversion.
  14. (1996). Hennenberg (eds. ) (200 1) Making and Remaking Italy. The Cultivation of National Identity around the Risorginzento.
  15. (1998). Routledge Encyclopedia of Translation Studies. doi
  16. (1996). Anthropological Approaches to the Study of Religion. doi
  17. (2001). The Cambridge Companion to Modem Italian Culture. Cambridge: Cambridge UP. doi
  18. (1982). New Religious Movements: A Perspectivefor Understanding Society.
  19. (1989). New Religious Movements. A Practical Introduction. doi
  20. (1992). Authority and Dependence in New Religious Movements. "
  21. (1994). Religion: Contemporary Issues. London: Bellew Pubblishing ---.
  22. (1995). The Scientific Study of Religion? You Must Be Joking! " doi
  23. (1999). New Religious Movements: Their Incidents and Significance. "
  24. (2006). Back to the Future: a Neo-Durkheirnian Analysis of a New Religious Movement. The Case of Soka Gakkai doi
  25. (1998). The Translation Turn in Cultural Studies. doi
  26. (2005). Bringing the News Back Home: Strategies of Acculturation and Foreignisation. " doi
  27. (2007). Culture and Translation. doi
  28. (1992). Translation History Culture: A Sourcebook. doi
  29. (1998). Constructing Cultures. doi
  30. (1998). Grande dizionario della lingua italiana. Torino: Unione Tipografico-Editrice Torinese.
  31. (1997). Postmodernity and its Discontents. doi
  32. (1976). 1 Linguaggi Settoriali
  33. (1985). Cults Controversies: The Social Response to the New Religious Movements. London and
  34. (1992). Religion, Modernity and Post-Modernity. " doi
  35. (1989). The Changing Face of Religion. doi
  36. (2000). The Politics of Italian National Identity. A Multidisciplinary Perspective. doi
  37. (1974). The Five Religions of Modern Italy. doi
  38. (1976). New Religious Consciousness and the Crisis of Modernity. doi
  39. (1974). Varieties of Civil Religion. doi
  40. (1969). The Social Realit of Religion. London: Faber and Faber,
  41. (1980). Inchiesta sul nuovo misticismo.
  42. (1994). Riflessioni sul buddismo in occidente. " La Critica Sociologica.
  43. (1987). Sociolinguistica dell'italiano contemporaneo. doi
  44. (2001). Speaking of Meaning in Modernity: Reflexive Spirituality as a Cultural Resource. " doi
  45. (1973). Makiguchi the Value Creator: Revolutionary Japanese Educator and Founder of Soka Gakkai. doi
  46. (1989). Makiguchi the Value Creator.
  47. (1994). The Location of Culture. doi
  48. (1999). Investigating Religion.
  49. (1969). Sociology and Religion. A Book of Readings. Englewood Cliffs, doi
  50. (1978). 11 terrorismo italiano 1970-1978.
  51. (1995). Teologia cattolica. Duemila anni di storia, di idee, di personaggL Cinisello, Balsarno: Edizioni
  52. (1972). L'Italiano. Il carattere nazionale come storia e come invenzione. "
  53. (2007). ll Codice della strada Vaticano. Segno della croce prima di partire. " La Repubblica,
  54. (2005). Mussolini's Italy. Life under the Dictatorship. London: Penguin Books. doi
  55. (1990). In Other Words. Essay towards a Reflexive Sociology. Trans. Matthew Adamson. Cambridge: Polity Press. doi
  56. (2000). The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions. doi
  57. (1994). Religion and the Social Order. doi
  58. (1987). The Future of New Religious Movements. doi
  59. (1959). On Translation. doi
  60. (2003). Distinguishing Some Approaches to Translation Research. " The Translator Volume 9.1,39-64. doi
  61. (1996). Religion in the Modern World. From Cathedrals to Cults. doi
  62. (1996). The Translatability of Cultures. doi

To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.