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Introduction to Religion Spring 2017Exam I: Review Terms/VocabularyThe Academic Study of Religion and the History of Religion-Descriptiveversus normative approaches to the study of religion * scholar makes descriptive claims- cultural and historical phenomenon * theologian makes normative claims- claim what you should do because it is inferred to be normal - tells how things ought to be and presents judgements The Academic study of religion is descriptive not normative -anthropology/ethnology: study of religion is human centered; compares and analyzes the characteristics of different peoples and the relationship between them-types of definitions: - stipulative: In advance - substantive/descriptive: identifying the contents of religion, call for interpretation - functional : no need to content, ask “ what does a religion DO in a society?”, call for explaination -naturalistic approachto the study of religion (defining, describing, interpreting, or explaining religious beliefs and behaviors without appeal to divine or supernatural causes) -academic/methodological/scholarly agnosticism** Agnostic= a person who believes that nothing is known or can be known of the existence or nature of God or of anything beyond material phenomena; a person who claims neither faith nor disbelief in God.- The study of religion and culture requires a measure of theoreticaland methodological relativism (or agnosticism). Although it is,perhaps, unavoidable, the student should resist the temptationto assert one set of truth claims over any other – whether theyare claims of metaphysical or cultural truth or superiority.1. academic 2. methodological 3. scholarly -Supreme Court case Abington v. Schempp1963* religious instruction vs instruction about religion * non believing family successfully sued school* justice Clark * everyday class asked to participate in stating 10 verses from bible * violated the establishment clause - went towards establishing christain religion in school- public places suppose to reside from religion as a whole 1
- Clark said religious instruction was separate from instruction about religion-theory* closer to religious instruction* generally attempt to explain the origin and function of religion. These theories define what they present as universal characteristics of religious belief and practice.- theology = study of god(s) - metaphysically - “explainatory account of X”- systematic - plausible , scientific hypothesis 1.F. Max Muller -Father of comparative -“ science of religion” or comparative religions -specialized in Sanskirt -hired by british india company -translates works into English -founder of the field of religious studies that compares religions -“ he who knows one knows none” -Gendered words @-hermeneutics; Verstehen;empathy * hermeneutics is the science of interpreting meaning/messages 1. Freiedrich Nietzsche (1900) - “all knowledge is interpretation”- knowledge passed on may have gaps or missing pieces - hurdles of hermeneutics 2.Wilhelm Dilthey ( 1911) -“ human understanding is of things human” -