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Comparative Religion

The Routledge Companion to the Study of Religion by John Hinnells

By John Hinnells

The Routledge spouse to the learn of Religion is an incredible source for classes in spiritual experiences. It starts via explaining crucial methodological methods to faith, together with psychology, philosophy, anthropology and comparative learn, earlier than relocating directly to discover a large choice of severe matters, resembling gender, technology, fundamentalism, ritual, and new spiritual pursuits. Written by means of well known foreign experts, this new edition:

  • includes eight new chapters, including post-structuralism, faith and economics, faith and the surroundings, faith and pop culture, and sacred house
  • surveys the heritage of non secular experiences and the major disciplinary ways
  • explains why the research of faith is suitable in today’s international
  • highlights modern concerns akin to globalization, diaspora and politics
  • includes annotated studying lists, a word list and summaries of key issues to help scholar studying.

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One was entirely deliberate, namely, his exclusion of religion’s social dimension from his inquiry: ‘religion’ he limited to ‘the feelings, acts, and experiences of individual men in their solitude, so far as they apprehend themselves to stand in relation to whatever they may consider the divine’ (James 1977: 31). How far individuals feel, act and experience because of the environment in which they live, with all its precedents, images, taboos, expectations and the rest, he does not discuss. More important was the assumption, shared by all those who have ever used questionnaire material, that the individual actually knows, fully consciously, what he or she believes and why – and this is not always safe, as Freud and Jung were shortly to show.

This has nothing to do with the character of religion itself, which has always involved individuals and societies in equal measure. In psychology’s case, the initial question concerned the mechanism by which the individual The study of religion in historical perspectiveâ•… 31â•…â•… comes to experience sensations and feelings that he or she identifies as supernatural, and the consequences to which this may lead. The old alternatives had been divine inspiration on the one hand, and demonic deception on the other (speaking here in Judaeo-Christian terms).

Special mention may be made of their work on the religious traditions of ancient Iran, Egypt and Mesopotamia. 1200 bce), whose teachings seemed to anticipate those of the Judaeo-Christian tradition at a number of points, in particular eschatology (death, judgement and the future life). Also, there were myriad points of contact between Iran and India. There emerged a new label, ‘Indo-European’, as an alternative to ‘Aryan’ as a blanket term for everything from the languages of north India to those of northern Europe.

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