Science and religion are often paired as diametric opposites. However, the boundaries of these two fields were not always as clear as they seem to be today. In
The Scientification of Religion: An Historical Study of Discursive Change, 1800-2000 (De Gruyter, 2014), Kocku von Stuckrad, Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Groningen, demonstrates how the construction of what constitutes 'religion' and 'science' was a relational process that emerged with the competition between various systems of knowledge.
In this book, von Stuckrad traces the transformation and perpetuation of religious discourses as a result of their entanglement with secular academic discourses. In the first half of the book, he presents the discursive constructions of 'religion' and 'science' through the disciplines of astrology, astronomy, psychology, alchemy, chemistry, and scientific experimentation more generally.
The second half of the book explores the power of academic legitimization of knowledge in emerging European modernities. Here, the discursive entanglements of professional and participant explanations of modern practices shaped and solidified those realities. Key figures in the history of the field of Religious Studies, such as Martin Buber, Gershom Scholem, Rudolf Otto, and Mircea Eliade, played instrumental roles in legitimizing the authority of mysticism, goddess worship, and shamanism.
Ultimately, what we discover is that 'religion' and 'science' are not so much distinctive spheres but elastic systems that arise within the particular circumstances of secular modernity. In our conversation we discussed discursive approaches to the study of religion, the Theosophical Society, marginalized forms of knowledge, the occult sciences, Jewish mysticism, secularization, nature-focused spiritualities, experiential knowledge, pagan religious practices, and 'modern' science.
If you look carefully, you'll notice hundreds of migrant churches dotted around the Netherlands, particularly in the larger cities. Worlds within worlds in anthropological terms. How do these churches approach matters such as health, sexuality and...
Prof. dr. Rosalind I.J. Hackett will be joining the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies of the University of Groningen as the third Gerardus van der Leeuw Fellow from August to December 2018.
Dr. Andrew Irving elected Lecturer of the Year 2018 of the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies, University of Groningen.