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Global Phenomenologies of Religion

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The phenomenology of religion is a branch of religious study that claims to represent the core of the study of religion as an autonomous discipline. First used as a term by the Dutch scholar Chantepie de la Saussaye in 1887, it was developed by Gerdardus van der Leeuw in the 1930s and 40s, became popular in the 1960s and 70s and then subsequently met severe criticism, virtually disappearing by the beginning of the twenty-first century.

This volume investigates how the phenomenology of religion was accepted and developed in different national contexts. It consists of interviews with senior scholars, who are experts on the development of the phenomenology of religion in their countries, along with commentary and analysis. It examines the reasons why it disappeared so abruptly in each country and reveals how scholars of religion currently evaluate the phenomenology of religion in their countries.

Published: Mar 30, 2021

Book Contributors


Section Chapter Authors
Introduction Satoko Fujiwara, David Thurfjel, Steven Engler
Chapter 1
Semantic Confusions and the Mysteries of Life —Sweden (Interviewee: Ulf Drobin, Stockholm University ) David Thurfjel
Chapter 2
Universal Parallels, Meaningful Lives and Predisposed Minds - Finland (Interviewees & Interviewers: Veikko Anttonen, University of Turku (retired), and Teuvo Laitila, University of Eastern Finland) Veikko Anttonen, Teuvo Laitila
Chapter 3
Phenomenology of Religion Meets Theory of Science: A Lethal Encounter —Germany (Interviewees: Peter Antes, Leibniz University of Hannover (retired), and Hubert Seiwert University of Leipzig) Katja Triplett
Chapter 4
NEC CUM TE NEC SINE TE: The Phenomenologies of Religion— Italy (Interviewee: Giovanni Casadio, University of Salerno) Alessandro Testa
Chapter 5
“What’s Wrong with Philosophy?”— Japan (Interviewees: Toshimaro Hanazono, University of Tohoku (retired), and Yoshiko Oda) Satoko Fujiwara
Chapter 6
The Grammar to Read ‘Religion in Culture’: From ‘Phenomenology of Religion’ to ‘Studies of the Religious Phenomenon – South Korea (Interviewee: Chin-Hong Chung, Seoul National University) Jang Sukman
Chapter 7
Philosophical, Existential and Therapeutic Phenomenologies of Religion – Canada (Interviewee: Earle H. Waugh, University of Alberta) Steven Engler
Chapter 8
“Why … So Complicated?”; “a Term with No Subscribers”—The United States (Interviewees: Charles Long, University of California, Sana Barbara (retired), and Ivan Strenski, University of California, Riverside (retired)) Eric Ziolkowski
Chapter 9
A Proposal for an Epistemologically Humble Phenomenology – The United Kingdom (Interviewee: Denise Cush, Bath Spa University) Suzanne Owen
Chapter 10
“There Was No Dutch School of Phenomenology of Religion”: Academic Implacability and Historical Accidents – The Netherlands (Interviewee: Jan G. Platvoet, Leiden University (retired)) Markus Altena Davidsen
Afterword Satoko Fujiwara, David Thurfjel, Steven Engler