Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 14 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter considers recent debates about the relevance of the academic study of religion. The question “Why study religion?’ opens onto a broad debate about the value of the liberal arts. Given claims that these seem not to have direct economic utility, it is useful to recall the three most common defenses of the study of religion as an example of the liberal arts: studying religion advances knowledge; it enriches individuals; and it improves society. This chapter first classifies and assesses these defenses. It concludes by proposing how we might refine the arguments by emphasizing that judgments about relevance always are made in particular contexts and for particular ends: scholars of religion might make those arguments more effective by acknowledging guiding values, considering local contexts, and recognizing multiple goods.

Keywords: humanities, liberal arts, religious studies, study of religion, universities

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.