Students who successfully complete the course are able to:
to understand the object of study of religion as an interesting aspect of a complex world of human social behavior,
to distinguish those human behaviors which they see as the religious,
to critically approach the religions of the ancient and modern world,
to assess how and why an institution, a movement or a group end up being considered a religion,
structurally integrate the category "religion" in the wider complex system of human behavior.
Course Content (Syllabus)
We are examining the issue: "What is the scientific study of religion?" An excellent response may be provided to this question by asking first "where is the study of religion practiced, by whom and with what purpose?" The answer(s), always dependent on the relevance of things and individual interests, can lead to very different paths and conclusions concerning different people. Another point of interest in our research is the “definition” and “classification” of religions. How can one actually define, classify and study religion(s)? One should find ideal answers to such questions, if they always keep in mind that their way of thinking and their research should be directly related to the environment in which they work and offer their services. This is a sine qua non factor. This context is definitely the public university, which is an institution related solely to the scientific research and way of thinking. It is only within this frame that one can approach religion(s) scientifically and draw acceptable conclusions that are free of generalizations and inaccuracies, providing in this way valid answers to the initial question of what the scientific study of religion is.
Additional bibliography for study
1. M. C. Taylor (ed.), 1998. Critical Terms for Religious Studies, Chicago-London:The University of Chicago Press.
2. W. Braun - R. McCutcheon (επιμ.), 2003. Εγχειρίδιο Θρησκειολογίας (μετ. Δ. Ξυγαλατάς. Επιμ. Π. Παχής), Θεσσαλονίκη: εκδόσεις Bάνιας.
3. P. Antes- A. W. Geertz- R. R. Warne (eds.), 2004. New Approaches to the Study of Religion, vols I-II, Berlin-New York: Walter de Gruyter.
4. J. Z. Smith, 2004. Relating Religion. Essays in the Study of Religion, Chicago-London: The University of Chicago Press.
5. J. R. Hinnells (ed.), 2005. The Routledge Companion to the Study of Religion, London-New York: Routledge.
6. W. Braun-R. McCutcheon (eds.), 2008. Introducing Religion. Essays in Honor of J. Z. Smith, London-Oakville:Equinox.