Religious Studies

Religious studies is the academic field of multi-disciplinary, secular study of religious beliefs, behaviors, and institutions. It describes, compares, interprets, and explains religion, emphasizing systematic, historically based, and cross-cultural perspectives.

While theology attempts to understand the nature of transcendent or supernatural forces (such as deities), religious studies tries to study religious behavior and belief from outside any particular religious viewpoint. Religious studies draws upon multiple disciplines and their methodologies including anthropology, sociology, psychology, philosophy, and history of religion.

Religious studies originated in the nineteenth century, when scholarly and historical analysis of the Bible had flourished, and Hindu and Buddhist texts were first being translated into European languages. Early influential scholars included Friedrich Max Müller, in England, and Cornelius P. Tiele, in the Netherlands. Today religious studies is practiced by scholars worldwide. In its early years, it was known as Comparative Religion or the Science of Religion and, in the USA, there are those who today also know the field as the History of religion (associated with methodological traditions traced to the University of Chicago in general, and in particular Mircea Eliade, from the late 1950s through to the late 1980s). The field is known as Religionswissenschaft in Germany and Sciences de la religion in the French-speaking world.

The term "religion" originated from the Latin noun "religio", that was nominalized from one of three verbs: "relegere" (to turn to constantly/observe conscientiously); "religare" (to bind oneself ); and "reeligare" (to choose again). Because of these three different meanings, an etymological analysis alone does not resolve the ambiguity of defining religion, since each verb points to a different understanding of what religion is. During the Medieval Period, the term "religious" was used as a noun to describe someone who had joined a monastic order (a "religious"). Despite this change in meaning, it is important to note the term "religion" is primarily a Christian term. Judaism and Hinduism, for example, do not include this term in their vocabulary.

Read more about Religious StudiesReligious Studies Vs. Theology, Intellectual Foundation and Background, History, Methodologies, Criticism of Religious Studies, Influential Figures

Other articles related to "studies, religious studies, religious":

Christopher Newport University - History - College of Liberal Arts & Sciences
... As of January 2010 the Departments of Communication Studies, English, History, Government, Modern and Classical Languages and Literature as well as the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies ... degrees in German, French, Spanish, and Classical Studies ... The department of Philosophy and Religious Studies offers a Bachelors of Arts, and includes Religious Studies and Pre-Seminary options for a concentration ...
St Mary's School (Calne) - Curriculum - Fourth and Fifth Form
... Education / Games, English, Mathematics, Religious Studies, Geography, Modern Languages, Science and History ... Foreign Language, Science (Double or Triple Award) and Religious Studies (short course) ... German, Spanish, Classical Greek, Latin, Art, Drama, Music, Religious Studies (full course) ...
Bryan Rennie - Education
... University of Edinburgh Faculty of Divinity Department of Theology and Religious Studies Edinburgh, Scotland Ph.D ... in Religious Studies ...
Religious Studies - Influential Figures
... Sacred Canopy (1967) Ninian Smart, The Religious Experience of Mankind (1969) (retitled The Religious Experience in 1991 edition) Victor Turner, The ... Smith, Map is not Territory Studies in the History of Religions (1978) David Chidester, Savage Systems Colonialism and Comparative Religion in Southern Africa (1996) Talal ... Taylor, Critical Terms for Religious Studies (1998) Tomoko Masuzawa, The Invention of World Religions (2005) Bruce Lincoln, Discourse and the Construction of Society (1989) Claude Lévi ...
Robert Magliola - Books and Reviews Thereof
... Robert Magliola's books in Hermeneutics, Deconstruction, Religious Studies, and an equitable selection of positive, negative, and mixed reviews thereof, some of which are ... O'Leary, review in Japanese Journal of Religious Studies, Vol ... Kenneth Inada, review in Buddhist–Christian Studies, Vol ...

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