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The Academic Study of Religion during the Cold War

East and West


Iva Dolezalová, Luther H. Martin and Dalibor Papousek

While the academic study of religion in the former Soviet Union had to contend with an official ideology of scientific atheism, such study in the West – particularly in the United States – was being (re)invented in the 1960s, during the very midst of the Cold War. The twenty-one contributions to this volume – by scholars from North America, Europe, Russia, and eastern Europe – examine the ideological and theological influences on the academic study of religion during the period from 1945 to 1989 and thus raise the question of whether an academic study of religion (Religionswissenschaft) might be defined in ways that avoid the extremes of both ideology and theology.
Contents: Kurt Rudolph: Foreword – Charles Marie Ternes: The Study of Roman Religion after World War II – Gary Lease: Under the Shadows of Ideology: Theology and the Study of Religion under National Socialism, Marxism, and Capitalism – Michał Buchowski: Communism and Religion: A War of Two Worldview Systems – Weigang Chen: Communism and Religion: The Problem of Popular Religion for Chinese Marxist Ideology – Břetislav Horyna: The Study of Religions during the Cold War: An Eastern View – Josef Kandert: Ethnographic Research on Religion during the Socialist Era: The Czech Case – Ján Komorovský/Milan Kováč: The Study of Religions in the Slovak Republic under the Conditions of Communism – Dalibor Papoušek: The Soviet School of Historians of Early Christianity and Its Influence in Former Czechoslovakia: The Question of Jesus’ Historicity – Halina Grzymała-Moszczyńska: Does Ideology Matter for Psychology of Religion? – Dmitriy Mikulskiy: Soviet Post-War Studies of Beliefs among the Native Settled Population of Central Asia: Between Academic Objectivity and Ideological Requirements – Linnart Mäll: Semiotics as a Possibility for the Study of Religious Texts under the Conditions of Communism – Luboš Bĕlka: Bidiya D. Dandaron: The Case of a Buryat Buddhist and Buddhologist during the Soviet Period – Jan Bouzek: Studies of Ancient Religions: Communication in the Soviet Bloc in the «Grey Zone» – Karel Werner: Struggling to Be Heard: In and out of Academia - on Both Sides of the Divide – Luther H. Martin: The Academic Study of Religions during the Cold War: A Western Perspective – Gustavo Benavides: Jakob Wilhelm Hauer, or Karmayoga as a Cold War Weapon – Willem Hofstee: Religion and Ideology: Dutch Science of Religions during the Cold War – William E. Paden: Durkheim’s Revenge: Trajectories and Ironies in the American History of Religions Traditions during the Cold War – Donald Wiebe: Religious Studies in North America during the Cold War – Jacques Waardenburg: The Study of Religion during the Cold War: Views of Islam – Michael Pye: Political Correctness in the Study of Religions: Is the Cold War Really Over?