RGST 300

THEORY AND METHOD IN THE STUDY OF RELIGION

2021–2022 WINTER, TERM 2 | M W F 2:00-3:00 PM

Course Description

“Religion is solely the creation of the scholar’s study,” the famous theorist of religion Jonathan Z. Smith once pronounced. “Religion has no existence apart from the academy.” Smith’s point was that our understanding of what religion is and how it works in any given context depends on the theory of religion, implicit or explicit, that shapes our research questions and methods of analysis. So, what theory of religion should you use in your research? In this course, we critically examine some of the most influential “classical” theories of religion, theories of religion that have been marginalized because their authors weren’t white men, and a range of current approaches to religion. This course will help you to understand how theory and method work in Religious Studies and will empower you to develop and refine your own methods for studying religion.

Course Instructor

Dr. Tony Keddie is Assistant Professor of Early Christian History and Literature. He is a specialist on the social history of ancient Judaism and Christianity as well as the Bible in contemporary politics in North America. Don’t hesitate to contact him with questions: anthony.keddie@ubc.ca.