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(Re)thinking Religious Studies

Journal article
Authors Daniel Enstedt
Published in Educational Theory
Volume 70
Issue 1
Pages 57-72
ISSN 0013-2004
Publication year 2020
Published at Department of Literature, History of Ideas, and Religion
Pages 57-72
Language en
Links https://doi.org/10.1111/edth.12406
Keywords Gert Biesta; philosophy of education; religious studies; world religions paradigm; secularism
Subject categories Religious Studies

Abstract

The world religions paradigm (WRP), often regarded as hegemonic in research and edu- cation in religious studies, has long been criticized for being modeled on predominantly Protestant, Christian, and Western ideas about religion, and thus running the risk of reductionism and of a fail- ure to recognize expressions of religion that do not fit this framework. Despite this, it is difficult to get rid of the prevailing WRP, especially in education. In addition, nonconfessional, nonreligious, secular education in religion may be biased by norms and values that assume that religion as such is outdated and irrational. The seemingly neutral, nonreligious, or agnostic position that is present in religious studies at the higher education level can then be seen as aligned with an institutional, not necessarily personal, secular bias that rules out religion from the very outset. Consequently, higher level education about religion runs the risk of presenting religion in terms of flawed stereo- types. In this article, Daniel Enstedt addresses these two interrelated and subject-specific problems by examining them through the lens of Gert J. J. Biesta’s educational philosophy, and in particular in relation to his discussion about the three domains of education: qualification, socialization, and subjectification.

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