It's never been better : comments on the current state of the science of religion

Author: Wiebe, Donald
Source document: Religio. 2012, vol. 20, iss. 2, pp. [173]-192
  • ISSN
    1210-3640 (print)
    2336-4475 (online)
Type: Article
License: Not specified license
I have argued in the past that there has been a massive failure of nerve in the study of religion in the context of the modern research university; that it failed to live up to the scientific objectives enunciated for the field in late nineteenth-century European academic communities. The "comments" here on the current state of the science (or sciences) of religion constitute, in part, a kind of informal critical history of the field known as "Religious Studies." I suggest here that the overall development of the field might actually indicate a positive trajectory since its inception in late nineteenth-century Europe. This essay, therefore, may mitigate somewhat my recent claim (with L. H. Martin) that it is highly unlikely that the scientific study of religion will actually some day come to dominance in religious studies departments in our modern universities.