Nature of Religion

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Amherst College

What does religious studies study? How do its investigations proceed? Can a religion only be truly understood from within, by those who share its beliefs and values? Or, on the contrary, is only the person who stands “outside” religion equipped to study and truly understand it? Is there a generic “something” that we can properly call “religion” at all, or is the concept of religion, which emerged from European Enlightenment, inapplicable to other cultural contexts? This course will explore several of the most influential efforts to develop theories of religion and methods for its study. We will consider psychological, sociological, anthropological, and phenomenological theories of religion, along with recent challenges to such theories from thinkers associated with feminist, post-modern and post-colonial perspectives. Two class meetings per week.

Spring semester.  Professor Dole.

Instructor Permission: 
Permission is required for interchange registration during the add/drop period only.
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Course Sections

Nature of Religion
Sect # Credits Instructor(s) Instructor Email Meeting Times Location
01 4.0

Andrew Dole

MW 02:00PM-03:20PM

CHAP 101