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Textbook Gods

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In recent years there has been a renewed interest in textbooks, partly because they have maintained their position as an important genre. Not too many years ago – and perhaps currently as well – many considered textbooks outdated or archaic compared with technological advances such as the Internet and different kinds of educational software. Despite these changes, textbooks for school subjects and for academic studies continue to be in demand. Textbooks seem to constitute a genre in which established truths are conveyed, and may thus represent stable forces in a world of flux and rapid changes.

Textbook Gods offers perspectives on representations of religion and religions in textbooks. The contributions emerge from different contexts, ranging from European countries, to North America, Japan and Australia.

Published: Apr 1, 2014

Section Chapter Authors
Theoretical Perspectives on Textbooks/Textbooks in Religious Studies Research Bengt-Ove Andreassen
Closed and Open Concepts of Religion: The Problem of Essentialism in Teaching about Religion Torsten Hylen
Establishing Religion through Textbooks: Religions in Japan’s “Ethics” Program Satoko Fujiwara
Bad Religions and Good Religions: The Representation of Religion and Religious Traditions in a New Swiss Textbook Katharina Frank
To Learn about the Other and to Get to Know Him: Judaism and the Jewish Community of Quebec as represented in Ethics and Religious Culture Textbooks Sivane Hirsch, Marie McAndrew
Researching Materials Used to Teach about World Religions in Schools in England Barbara Wintersgill
Representations of Indigenous Australian Religions in New South Wales (NSW) Higher School Certificate Studies of Religion Textbooks Carole Cusack
Visual Engagement: Textbooks and the Materiality of Religion Mary Hayward
Cartographic Representations of Religion(s) in Norwegian Textbooks Suzanne Anett Thobro
A Reservoir of Symbols: On the Conceptualization of “Religion” in Introductory Books for RE in Teacher Education in Norway Bengt-Ove Andreassen
Stones and Bones: Indigenous African Religions and the “Evolution” of World Religions James Lewis
“Christianity” or “the Christianity”—That is the Question Annika Hvithamar
School Bible in the Service of The Danish National Church—A Case Study Jens-André Herbener
End Matter
Index Bengt-Ove Andreassen

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The subject matter of the book is unexpectedly stimulating. Throughout the book, there is a sense of attention to detail and accuracy of information. Looking at the book as a whole, there is a balanced presentation of data and analysis. The issues raised are not new but they are highly relevant and because they are explored in a variety of different contexts, we are able to gain fresh insight into them. Each chapter presents the data in a way that is both accessible and coherent. The analysis is often insightful and some of the conclusions offer valuable guidance for the production of textbooks within religious studies and religious education. Lecturers in Religious Studies and RE teachers who are responsible for purchasing the texts for their departments will be better informed in their decisions if they read this book. Others working in a range of educational contexts who are concerned with intercultural relations and communication will also gain much from this publication.
British Journal of Religious Education

In sum Textbook Gods provides a variety of insights into the complex discussion about representations of religions in educational contexts. Unrestricted geographically in its scope, this volume brings together various country-specific facets and does not exclude the textbook authors’ point of view.
Entangled Religions

Taking into account the field of international comparative religious education research, where boundaries between religiously motivated (theological) positions on RE and secular scholarly positions (informed by the study of religions, sociology, or anthropology) are frequently blurred or not made explicit, this book provides a refreshingly clear counterpart.

A valuable addition to comparative research on religious education.

This volume provides an original, interesting take on how the scientific study of religion can examine specific aspects of religious education in schools.