The aesthetics of religion-network pioneers a well-defined theoretical approach with a comparative perspective. Based on the solid groundwork done in previous collaborations on key concepts such as museality and imagination, it reaches out to integrate new members and to explore urgent topics. A significant challenge in this field will be to bridge the gap between cognitive and cultural approaches to religion. To that end, the network extends its previous paradigmatic work and develops an epistemology and methodology of aesthetics. In this endeavour, it also includes fields such as semiotics of religion and cognitive narratology as determined by the historically and empirically wide-ranging specializations of the (new) group members.
Recent years have seen many trends shifting scholarly attention toward sensory categories as analytical tools, among them spatiality, visuality, embodiment or, most recently, material culture. Aesthetics of religion, in its long history of theoretic reflection, has accounted for culturally formed sensorial patterns of perception as well as for styles, media formats and elaborated strategies of beauty – including the modern aestheticisation of lifestyle in consumer culture. In its on-going research, the aesthetics of religion-approach works on discovering axioms, clarifying terms and integrating theories of perception. Thus, aesthetics of religion is one of the most suitable approaches to critically evaluate categories and methods from various disciplinary and theoretical backgrounds and to connect them with one another.