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Article

Рождение наук о религии из духа теологии

Золотухин В. В.

This article deals with a complicated question about the emergence of the methodology of knowledge about religion (primarily of comparative religious studies or history of religion and of psychology of religion) in the continental thought of the latter half of the 19th— early 20th centuries. It is this material that allows one to trace methodological transformations that took place in the Protestant liberal theology and favoured the final formation of the institutionalised schientific knowledge of religion.

The first part of the article studies early ideas of the theologian and religious scholar C. P. Tiele which pertain to the correlation between theology and religious studies: theology has an artificial structure, it has lost its ideological positions and, consequently, it is subject to radical transformations and must finally give way to the unbiased empirical and comparative religious science that would formulate its universal laws. These views of Tiele were actively discussed in the Netherlands within the framework of adopting the Dutch Higher Education Act of 1876 and were partly taken into account there.

The second part of the article deals with the development of experimental psychology of religion in Germany which was accompanied by a discussion between the philosophising theologian G. Wobbermin and one of the pioneering theologians-experimenters W. Stählin (the latter was later supported by F. Traub). Stählin and Traub insist on complete independence of psychology of religion from theology and philosophy; its material should only be data of psychological experiments. It cannot be guided by either the generalising philosophical interest or objectives of theological systematisation. Besides, psychology of religion cannot by any means substantiate the veracity of religious experience, its only aim being to observe and describe it.

In conclusion, one can see that the scientific knowledge of religion is to a large extent rooted in the theological soil due to the final methodological fracture related to the secularisation and emancipation of humanities-related studies under the influence of the positivist ideal of science. This change of paradigm does not, of course, imply the rejection of the personal religiosity, nor the necessity of abandoning one’s theological career.