RLG200H1 Study Guide - Polytheism, Ethnography, Comparative Religion
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Possible Thesis – All this information basically demonstrates that in the
beginning Christianity was the primary method of religious study.
Throughout the course of history it can be seen that the study of
religion has become more inclusive of other methodologies in relation
to observing things that aren’t Christian.
Lecture – In the beginning, religion was everything, it even
encompassed secular life – from a Christian approach.
Reading – Enforces the notion that secular and religious terms had
Christian meanings attached to them.
As a result of the European enlightenment the definition of religion in
relation to Christianity underwent a major change. This change
involved, the post Christian dichotomy as religious and non-religious –
the secular turning from religious to non-religious. (also from lecture)
Before Christianity the norm of society was polytheism and idolatrous.
When Christianity came to be the dominant religious power,
polytheism was seen as profane and monotheism was seen as sacred.
Christianity did not do anything to necessarily develop religion but it
did shape the way in which the Western world views religion.
Christianity emerged as the main method of religious study, b/c the
people who studied it were Christian – Ex, Descartes and Hegel.
Freud was the exception to this rule.
The department of the study of religion came from religious
geschichte, comparative religion, and history of religion.
1960’s and 70’s the way people studied religion in many universities
underwent many changes. – The steps taken to develop the study of
1) Began to distance and differentiate itself from theology
2) Includes the study of other religions to create the Study of Religion
– Hinduism, Judaism, Islam, Chinese religions, Aboriginal religions,
3) Include other methodologies – sociology, anthropology,
ethnography, and psychology. (In the past it was primarily an