Universität Wien

010100 SE What is Religion? (2021W)

5.00 ECTS (2.00 SWS), SPL 1 - Katholische Theologie
Prüfungsimmanente Lehrveranstaltung


Hinweis: Ihr Anmeldezeitpunkt innerhalb der Frist hat keine Auswirkungen auf die Platzvergabe (kein "first come, first served").


Sprache: Englisch


Termine (iCal) - nächster Termin ist mit N markiert

Donnerstag 07.10. 15:00 - 16:30 Digital
Donnerstag 14.10. 15:00 - 16:30 Digital
Donnerstag 21.10. 15:00 - 16:30 Digital
Donnerstag 28.10. 15:00 - 16:30 Digital
Donnerstag 04.11. 15:00 - 16:30 Digital
Donnerstag 11.11. 15:00 - 16:30 Digital
Donnerstag 18.11. 15:00 - 16:30 Digital
Donnerstag 25.11. 15:00 - 16:30 Digital
Donnerstag 02.12. 15:00 - 16:30 Digital
Donnerstag 09.12. 15:00 - 16:30 Digital
Donnerstag 16.12. 15:00 - 16:30 Digital
Donnerstag 13.01. 15:00 - 16:30 Digital
Donnerstag 20.01. 15:00 - 16:30 Digital
Donnerstag 27.01. 15:00 - 16:30 Digital


Ziele, Inhalte und Methode der Lehrveranstaltung

Aims, contents, and method of the course

The course aims to introduce students to a range of modern theories of religion stemming from the fields of sociology, economics, and psychology, and to enable students to apply theories to actual religions. By the end of the course, students should have become familiar with the range of these modern theories of religion, with ways of comparing theories, with ways of applying theories to specific religions, and with ways of evaluating theories.

A survey of leading classical theories of religion, as were exemplified by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, Sigmund Freud, Emile Durkheim, Robert Bellah, and Rodney Stark. A ‘theory of religion’ is an attempt to generalize about the phenomenon of religion across time and space by answering two fundamental questions: what is the origin and what is the function of religion. By focusing on theorists who represent different disciplines (Economics, Psychology, and Sociology), and by reading their own works, the course will discuss whether and how those theorists answer the aforementioned questions, how they approach religion, what do they make of the phenomenon, and how they contributed to the development of understanding religion.

Reading of selected texts (in English translation), lectures, and in class discussion.
All readings will be available on MOODLE at the beginning of the semester.

Art der Leistungskontrolle und erlaubte Hilfsmittel

Assessment and permitted materials
Class participation, attendance (in order to pass the course, students need to attend 80% of the classes and above), and short by-weekly quizzes; book review 1,000 words; essay 3,500 words.
Academic books, academic articles, encyclopaedias, internet sources (Wikipedia is not allowed).

Mindestanforderungen und Beurteilungsmaßstab

Minimum requirements:
An interest in different disciplinary approaches to religion; all readings will be in English – so apart from a good command of English no knowledge of foreign languages is required.
Assessment criteria:
Class participation, attendance (in order to pass the course, students need to attend 80% of the classes and above), and short by-weekly quizzes (30%); book review 1,000 words (20%); essay 3,500 words (50%).


Examination topics
Lecture content; the original readings of the theorists under examination; critical approach and personal insight.


Reading list
(1) Pals, Daniel L. 2015. Nine Theories of Religion. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press.
(2) Segal, Robert A. 2005. “Theories of Religion.” In John R. Hinnells (ed.), The Routledge Companion to the Study of Religion. London and New York: Routledge, pp. 49–60.
(3) McCutcheon, Russell T. 2018. Studying Religion: An Introduction. 2nd edition. London and New York: Routledge.

Zuordnung im Vorlesungsverzeichnis

066 800 M8, M22, 033 195 (17W) BRP 04rwb

Letzte Änderung: Fr 12.05.2023 00:11