Study of Religion

Study of Religion is a social science and an area of cultural studies which is independent of denomination. It adopts an analytical and comparative approach to examine human action, ideas, and institutions past and present, which are regarded as “religious” both in general and for reasons which the Study of Religion itself is investigating. In this context, historical-philological, philosophical, and hermeneutic as well as empirical social science methods are of great significance. On the basis of a wide range of source materials (texts, images, films, architecture, rituals etc.) as well as of empirical data (surveys, interviews, statistics etc.), it enquires into the functions of religion in society, underlying patterns in religious change, and forms of religious identity-building as well as interactions (conflict, dialogue, inculturation) with other religions and worldviews.

Due to the subject’s enormous breadth, Study of Religion researchers here in Frankfurt are involved in faculties 06 (Protestant Theology), 07 (Catholic Theology) with the priority field of Religious Phenomenology and Philosophy of Religion, and 09 (Islamic Studies). In addition, partnerships exist with the disciplines of Jewish Philosophy of Religion, Judaism, Ethnology, History, and Sociology, amongst others. Study of Religion is offered at BA level as both a major and a minor subject as well as at MA level. The new system from 2016 onwards allows students to choose areas of specialization in Religious and Cultural History of Judaism, Religious and Cultural History of Christianity as well as Religious and Cultural History of Islam in the framework of Comparative Religious Studies.