Study of Religions

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Temaomtale RELV101

Kva er religionsvitskap (tilbys i vårsemesteret)


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What is religion? Does such thing even exist? Some scholars deny that. And what makes something religious and something else not? And what varieties exist of core elements of religions, such as gods, sacred stories, rituals, religious sites, religious experiences, institutions, attitudes towards other religions, etc? In this course we will tackle a number of these fundamental questions, using examples from religious behaviors and practices throughout time and space.


Our second project in this course is to look at religions through two specific kinds of lenses. First, we will explore how many scholars look at religion with a critical eye, namely as a complex social phenomenon rather than something that first and foremost belongs to the superhuman realm. Secondly, since the almost universal assumption that religion will become extinct in the foreseeable future has proven to be problematic, we will look at a number of alternatives: where does religion stand in modern history? Should we go back to a golden age of religion in the past? Adapt it to science? Combat it as a hindrance to human progress? How has religion developed over the history of human civilization?


Thirdly, we will read in the seminars some of the best writing that our discipline has to offer, looking at religion from quite different perspectives.


The lectures of this course will be entirely online. They consist of short video lectures, tools to help you test yourself, and a question-and-answer session. The seminars will simultaneously take place in class (if the health situation permits it) and on zoom.