History of Religions as a research discipline encompasses the study of major religious traditions such as Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism and Ancient world religions as well as community-based religions in America, Africa and Asia. Modern forms of spirituality and New Age are also examples of relevant research topics.
Research in History of Religions has changed in recent years from mainly historical and text-oriented studies to also include contemporary religious life. The discipline thus also includes social studies, primarily with an anthropological approach.
Historical and text-oriented studies of world religions are necessary not only for understanding historical processes, but also for interpreting contemporary religious life. Ideas emanating from Islam and Asian religions have for centuries influenced Western thinking in different ways. Today these religions have established themselves in Europe through migration and mission.
Studies in the Anthropology of Religion, including fieldwork “at home” or in other cultural contexts, have become an important part of the research studies in Lund. Theories and methods within Anthropology of Religion and especially ritual theories and practices (including the interdisciplinary field of Ritual Studies) have thus been in focus and debated. The discipline Studies of Religious Behaviour is in Lund also included within the discipline History of Religions, in order to understand religious experience and religious behavior in history as well as in contemporary times.
To ensure the quality of the research discipline in Lund, a joint research seminar has been established, in which specialists in Islamology, Jewish Studies, Indian religions, Anthropology of Religion, Indigenous religions, Ritual Studies and Studies of Religious Behaviour interact. The students will thus be able to meet scholars who have specialized and developed their research within these subareas.