Theories for the Study of Religion

Theories for the Study of Religion

Author by Dr. Ucheawaji Josiah

Journal/Publisher: Lagos, Nigeria: Jamiro Press Link.

Volume/Edition: 1

Language: English

Pages: 223 - 240


The word religion means different things to different people. Therefore, prescribing a particular definition might be insufficient. Nevertheless, some of the attempts at defining religion are highlighted below. Religion is the diverse, emblematic expression of that which people deliberately affirm as being of unrestricted value for them. It also involves the appropriate response to such unrestricted value. The definition of religion here, could allow a classification of myriad of ‘unrestricted value’ activities like association of football as religious. In essence, accepting religion as being equated with what is considered most important for a person makes religion loose and broad. Researchers in each discipline including the study of religions have the tendency to remain focused within their discipline. But a student of religion is thus confronted with a disheartening assignment because he or she has to develop specialist knowledge of some particular methodology and of small group of subject topics so as to meaningfully contribute to the expansion of understanding. On the other hand, another challenge the student is faced with, is the use of many methods which requires a generalist viewpoint. It then becomes pertinent for the student of religion to become a specialist as well as a generalist. Nevertheless, this paper espoused some methodologies (Hermeneutics, Liberationist Hermeneutics, Contextual Hermeneutics and Ecological Hermeneutics, Reading the Bible with African Eyes, Inculturation Hermeneutics, Afrocentric Hermeneutics, Vernacular Hermeneutics and African Cultural Hermeneutics), Theological, Sociological, Psychological, Philosophical, Phenomenological, and Grammatical approaches) to help students and researchers of religion, in their choice of methodological interest. The study highlighted the kernel of the selected approaches that could be helpful for the student of religion desiring to engage on any humanistic research.

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