Modern Societies and the Science of Religions: Studies in Honour of Lammert Leertouwer

By Gerard Wiegers | Go to book overview

INTRODUCTION
THE SCIENCE OF RELIGIONS: ITS SOCIAL FUNCTIONS
AND APPLICATIONS IN A CHANGING WORLD

GERARD WIEGERS

Leiden University


INTRODUCTION

The present volume brings together studies by a number of students of the science of religions in which they relate the changes in their discipline to the changes which have occurred in a select number of modern(ising) societies worldwide. It attempts to study these developments in their relation to and as conditioned and constrained by cultural changes, changes in educational systems, technology, communication, population (for example migration), economic patterns, politics, and, last but not least, religious systems.

The contributions are arranged in a geographical order. They discuss a number of modem societies in various parts of the world. Our point of departure is in Europe, and then we describe more or less concentric circles. This is a Eurocentric approach in a geographical sense only. The main motivation for choosing the present order lies in the place where the conference held in honour of Lammerl Leertouwer took place and at which the majority of the contributions gathered here were originally presented, the University of Leiden.

The first part of the present study is devoted to studies on Europe and North America. It starts with France (Michel Meslin, Jean Baubérot), then Germany (Hans Kippenberg), and The Netherlands Jan Platvoet, Lammert Leertouwer), Spain (Gerard Wiegers), and The United States of America (Donald Wiebe). A study of modem Western approaches to the study of Israelite religion (Karel van der Toorn) has been included in this section as well. The second part of this volume deals with the study of religions as pursued in Israel, Middle Eastern Countries, and Africa: Turkey (Ömer Faruk Harman and Ali Murat Yel), Israel (Shaul Shaked), Morocco (Sjoerd van Koningsveld), Saudi Arabia (Qasim al-Samarrai), and South Africa (Abdulkader Tayob). The third and final part is devoted to Asian

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