Publication

The Study of Religion Today

Molendijk, A. (ed.) & Meyer, B. (ed.), 2017, In : Nederlands Theologisch Tijdschrift. 71, 1

Research output: Contribution to journalSpecial issue editingAcademicpeer-review

Religion is one of the most challenging subjects of study. Long expected to vanish with modernization and development, religion is there to stay, in various shapes and forms. The variety of what is captured under the term ‘religion’ is enormous and the perennial attempts to define the concept seem doomed to fail. Its definability itself has been subject to debate, revealing Eurocentric assumptions that have long governed theories and methods. Also the question of how to study religious phenomena is hotly debated. Which themes, approaches and methods are most fruitful to develop new directions? These questions are even more urgent in a situation of rapid institutional change. In the Netherlands scholars from the University of Utrecht have taken the initiative to address these issues and organized a symposium ‘Past Trajectories – New Directions. The Study of Religion Today’ in 2013. This conference is one of the sources of inspiration for this special issue. Another important point of reference is the report of the academic study of religion in the Netherlands issued by the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) in 2015. The report concludes that when the field was recently hit by an avalanche of budget cuts and performance-driven measures neither scholars nor administrators had a clear idea which role the study of religion should play in Dutch academia and society. Addressing this challenge, this special issue explores in an exemplary way the varying institutional contexts in which the study of religion is situated in the Netherlands, Germany and the United Kingdom. Discussing the relationship between religious studies and theology, as well as between the study of Islam and the study of Christianity, taken as a whole the issue points to innovative venues for the study of religion today.
Original languageEnglish
JournalNederlands Theologisch Tijdschrift
Volume71
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017

ID: 39623861