With this issue we celebrate the fact that Marburg Journal of Religion has now been in existence for ten years. The first issue appeared with one single article in April 1996, and the second issue appeared with richer contents only three months later. As far as is known, it was the first on-line journal in the world specialising in the study of religions. While it exists "only in cyberspace", as we put it then, Marburg Journal of Religion has the usual features of an academic journal. Each issue contains full length articles and reviews. For some time now, articles have been assessed by appropriate experts before publication, that is, in current jargon, they are peer-reviewed. There is a significant rejection rate.
We seek to maintain a high academic standard in the discipline known as the Study of Religions (c.f. German Religionswissenschaft and analogous terms in other languages). This is understood to be the appropriate, integrating discipline for studies in the field of "religion/s", and includes historical, comparative and social-scientific aspects. At the same time the "fuzzy edges" of this discipline, as practised internationally, are tolerated to some extent in the interests of scholarly diversity. Articles are therefore acceptable which are conceived in terms of related disciplines, or which in some way operate on the borders, provided that they contribute to the better understanding of the field. This concept also permits the exploration of the wider role of the Study of Religions, for example in providing mediation in religious dialogue or orientation with respect to various serious issues of the times.
It will be apparent on the other hand that we do not publish articles which are based on normative religious or theological viewpoints. There are plenty of other journals for that. The only exception may be found in the newly conceived genre defined as "Responses from Religions" (see Volume 6, No.2, June 2001). The purpose of this is to allow "feedback" or "comeback" on the part of those who discover, because we are on-line, that they are themselves objects of study here. Apart from this being an ethical desideratum, it may also provide further information or new perspectives for our readers. Such "responses from religions" are not peer-reviewed and are published only at the discretion of the editors and with their agreement.
The original language policy of the journal has remained unchanged throughout. All languages are acceptable. This is possible because there are no printing costs or commercial marketing tasks. As a consequence, the diversity of linguistically and culturally conditioned academic discourse is maintained and encouraged. Some articles appear in more than one language. Each reader may freely surf the journal in accordance with his or her own linguistic orientation, while taking mental note of the variety of contributions.
There are no special publication dates for Marburg Journal of Religion. This is because there are no deadlines for printing and despatch. Typically, there have been two issues per year so far. It is proposed to send notification of the appearance of a new issue in future to the six mailing lists of the European Association for the Study of Religions (EASR): Candide, Dolmen, Most, Synkron, Tonantzin and Yggdrasill. Managers of other relevant lists world-wide are invited to indicate that they would welcome such notification.
Attention is drawn to the original statement of editorial policy where various formal matters are stated (EDITORIAL STATEMENT). For several years now, long-term security for the data files (PDF only) has been guaranteed by the University Library of the University of Marburg, which is also the home of the ISSN number: ISSN 1612-2941. This means that the journal is a valuable long-term resource. Access to Marburg Journal of Religion is free of charge. We therefore recommend all specialists and students of religion to add a bookmark to their web-browser and to access the journal from time to time.
Finally the general editor (undersigned) would like to thank in particular the two co-editors Peter Antes and Andreas Grünschloß (who hold professorships at the universities of Hanover and Göttingen respectively) for their sustained interest and support, the consultant editors (see first page of each issue) for various contributions, the reviews editors Monika Schrimpf and now Katja Triplett, our partner in the University Library Renate Stegerhoff-Raab, and of course pre-eminently the web-editors Richard Böhme and now Doreen Wohlrab. Further developments may be expected in the shape of this team, now that the general editor has retired from formal duties in Marburg, and these will be announced in due course. Thanks to the work of all concerned, Marburg Journal of Religion has now become a substantial journal for the Study of Religions, and is now ten years old. We look forward to the next ten years!
©Michael Pye (Marburg 2006). Marburg Journal of Religion, ISSN 1612-2941