Comparative Religion

Research on method and theory in comparative religion.

Project I. Method and Theory in the Study of Religion

The aim is to compare and evaluate different theoretical approaches in the study of religion, and the methodological consequences of historical and social scientific research questions. In this context the focus is on interpretative approaches as well as on structuralist and cognitive theories, and on the debate about the comparative method. Publication: "Godsdienstwetenschap. Een Inleiding" (Amsterdam: Boom, 2008).

W. Hofstee

Project II. Anthropology of Religion

A critical analysis of the ethnographic studies on religion by Clifford Geertz (1926-1986), who is being considered as one of the most influencial intellectuals of the last century. One of the key questions here is how two contrasting approaches to the study of religion, semantic and hermeneutic on the one side, and comparative on the other are being connected in a 'thick description'. Publication: "Geertz on Religion" (London: Equinox, 2009).

W. Hofstee

Project III. History of the Study of Religion

The goal is to present the development of the History of Religions as an academic discipline against a background of the converging and diverging interests of its practioners. The organisation of the project has both thematic and chronological elements. The relation between scientific ideas on religion and the social-political situation at a particular moment in time plays an important role. Scholars of religion are no exception for being located in typical social patterns like intellectual groups, networks, and rivalries. Because these close-knit circles often have the characteristics of social movements, they can be studied as such. Publication: "Gerardus van der Leeuw and the Sudy of Religion 1890-1950" (Leiden/Boston/Köln: Brill, 2010).

W. Hofstee

Future Project

  Research on method and theory in the study of Paganisms. Start: spring 2008.

Last Modified: 04-04-2011