Abordari metodologice in studiile religioase/ Methodological Approaches in Religious Studies

Moshe Idel

Abstract


“Religion” is a conglomerate of ideas, cosmologies, beliefs, institutions, hierarchies, elites and rites that vary with time and place, even when one “single” religion is concerned. The methodologies available take one or two of these numerous aspects into consideration, reducing religion’s complexity to a rather simplistic unity. In order to avoid this situation, the ensuing conclusion is a recommendation for methodological eclecticism. The text attempts to characterize not specific scholars or schools but major concerns that define the specificity of particular styles. I propose that they may be grouped in eight main categories of approaches: the theological approach, the historical approach, the psychological approach, the textual-literary approach, the comparative approach, the ritualistic-technical approach, the phenomenological approach and the cognitive approach. This proposal for methodological eclecticism is supplemented with another concept: perspectivism. The last part of the article deals mainly with topics found in a vast literature designated by the umbrella term “Kabbalah”, addressing especially the approach proposed by Gershom Scholem.

Keywords


religious studies, methodological eclecticism, perspectivism, different approaches to religion, Kabbalah, Gershom Scholem, Jewish mysticism

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