Show Less
Restricted access

Religious Studies

A Textbook


Adrián Slavkovský

This textbook offers a brief overview of the basic approaches to the scientific scrutiny of religion. To remain uninterested in examining religion is more difficult than examining any other object of research. In relation to issues of religion, we cannot stand as impartial observers, because we are always somehow involved. Therefore, this book emphasizes not only knowledge of religions, but also how to find ways to get closer to impartiality. It offers an overview of topics, questions, and context, rather than a coherent theory.
Show Summary Details
Restricted access

2. Methodological Approaches to the Study of Religion


Keywords: faith, tradition, transcendence, method, temperamental attitude

2.1 Theological Approach

Early religious studies as a scientific discipline started from the second half of the 19th century. Religion, however, was there long before, and along with it different approaches. Firstly, it must be said that faith can be lived in complete immersion to religion, without distance, and without rational reflection. To the first forms of faith belong myth and also magic, while there are still discussions about to what extent these forms can be considered religious. Such an approach means that one takes beliefs, rituals, moral standards, and many other aspects of faith as something given, which he/she does not dispute, that he/she does not ask inquisitive questions. It is mostly associated with the supernatural or transcendent origin of religious traditions. ← 17 | 18 →

The Axial Epoch (approximately the 8th – 4th century BC) is considered a cultural turning point associated with the development of philosophy, the use of critical reflection, asking questions which broke the majority of previously existing granted cultural circumstances, searching for deeper reasons, which together could form a net or web of meanings to understand reality. The theological approach is fully set within the framework of its own religious traditions, but it helps to deepen and systematise them. An example might be the deepening of the concepts of Brahman and Atman and searching for the relationship between Upanishads in ancient India or polling to learn of the evil in the Old Testament’s Book...

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.

Do you have any questions? Contact us.

Or login to access all content.