Het religionisme beleden en bestreden: recente ontwikkelingen in de Angelsaksische godsdienstwetenschap1Dit artikel is een bewerking van een referaat uitgesproken op woensdag 29 september 1993 voor het AIO/OIO seminar ‘Stromingen en methoden in de moderne godsdienstwetenschap’ te Ossendrecht. | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
Volume 48, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 2542-6583
  • E-ISSN: 2590-3268



Religionism is defined in this article as that position the academic study of religions that claims that the special nature of religion forbids that religions are subjected to explanatory theory of the type pursued in the past in respect of religion in the social sciences. Religionism is one of four attitudes that have been adopted towards religion in the past. I term them theological reductionism, positivist reductionism, religionism, and agnosticism. Having briefly described the first two and the last one and their historical connections, I set out the seven marks of religionism. I discuss its hegemony in the Anglosaxon academy. In most English speaking parts, it is uncontested. I discuss three recent publications from Africa as examples of this situation. The supremacy of religionism in the study of religions has, however, increasingly been contested on the North American continent since a few decades. I survey the most recent phase of that polemic by discussing the argument in favour of it developed by Daniel Pals and the responses to it of Segal and Wiebe. I conclude by pointing out that religionist approaches are found also among social scientists, as are non-religionist ones among scholars of religions.


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