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Book: Textbook Gods

Chapter: Closed and Open Concepts of Religion: The Problem of Essentialism in Teaching about Religion

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.23872


Having spent approximately 15 years as a teacher of religious studies, primarily for prospective religion teachers in public schools, I have reached an increasingly strong conclusion that many students unconsciously carry with them an essentialist view on religion, a perception that they acquired during their childhood. Additionally, through discussions with students in the teachers’ education programme who have relatively fresh experiences from their own schooling or who have interned in public schools, I have learned that many active religion teachers in Swedish schools have perceptions about religion that are more or less essentialist.2 Therefore, the present article is oriented primarily towards students who intend to become teachers of religion, as well as current religion teachers.

Chapter Contributors

  • Torsten Hylen ( - thylen) 'Dalarna University'