Past, present, and future in the scientific study of religion : introduction

Source document: Religio. 2012, vol. 20, iss. 2, pp. [149]-154
  • ISSN
    1210-3640 (print)
    2336-4475 (online)
Type: Article
License: Not specified license
The study of religion is by its nature and by its history multi-disciplinary, incorporating diverse research paradigms ranging from historiography to experimental approaches and from scientific positivism to postmodern reflection. At a conference on the Past, Present, and Future in the Scientific Study of Religion (Brno, March 1-3, 2012), the keynote speakers provided an assessment of the field of religious studies. While they agreed on the relevance of traditional methods (in particular those coming from history and anthropology) for the study of religion, the speakers also stressed the contribution of new research paradigms such as cognitive, evolutionary, and experimental approaches, which have rejuvenated the discipline by calling attention to a much neglected but certainly fundamental aspect of human culture (the mind) and bringing methodological rigour that is often lacking in the humanities. The Laboratory for the Experimental Research of Religion in Brno, who hosted this conference, is the product of these developments.