Religious Studies | INTRODUCTION TO THE STUDY OF RELIGION
R264 | 10478 | Levene, N


This course is an introduction to the study of religion through a
consideration of major approaches and methods in the field. We will
examine aspects of religious thought, action, and sensibility—
employing sociological, psychological, anthropological, and
philosophical modes of inquiry. The approach of the course is
primarily theoretical and comparative. It is an introduction to
different ways of studying religion, not to cultural-religious
traditions themselves. But in the course of exploring these ways, we
will repeatedly encounter such traditions since theorists utilize
sacred texts, rituals, beliefs, and ways of life to ground their
ideas. We will thus have the opportunity to discuss how religious
traditions affect and are affected by theories, and to probe the
complexities of such recurring tensions as those between insiders
and outsiders, “primitives” and “moderns,” believers and non-
believers, and religious vs. competing meaning-making systems.
Thinkers likely to include Feuerbach, Weber, Marx, Durkheim, Freud,
Eliade, Turner, Geertz, M. Douglas, W.C. Smith, M. Trawick, J.Z.
Smith