In this course catalogue you can find detailed information about each course. Note that not all courses have information in English. For those courses, the Norwegian course information is shown instead.

NB! There may be changes in the course descriptions (including the course literature) and the exam dates before the start of the semester in question. If few students are registered for a course, there may be changes in the lecture and examination types.

Back to front page

HIS5010: The historical study of religion: Multidisciplinary theoretical perspectives

Vis på norsk | Time schedule | PDF-version for print

General information | General information | Course requirements | Course requirements | Final assessment | Final assessment | Course objective and content | Course objective and content | Literature 

Person responsible for the course:Ask
Credit points (ECTS):10
Start of studies:Autumn
Study programme:Master's degree (2 years) - History of Religions
Department:Department of Theology and History

General information

HIS5010 aims to provide a brief introduction to some of the disciplines related to and subsumed under the large umbrella term 'history of religions' as well as to the main theoretical and methodological developments in these fields. The areas explored are: sociological and anthropological theories of religion; culture theory and cultural studies; cultural memory; religious textual scholarship; religious art history; archaeology of religion; archaeolinguistics; translation of sacred texts. The course has a strong theoretical component aimed at providing the students with the analytical tools necessary to and required for the completion of the programme. Lectures are propaedeutic surveys and, as such, only touch upon key themes, which are to be dealt with in depth by students individually or in groups during seminars.
HIS5010 The historical study of religion: Multidisciplinary theoretical perspectives is an obligatory course in the Master's programme in History of Religions.

Course requirements

In order to receive a final assessment, the student must:
  • Attend at least 75% of the lectures and seminars that are part of the course.
  • Pass the two assessment tasks of the course. These tasks are given in seminars and are marked pass or fail. They involve the critical analysis of texts provided in the course bibliography.
  • Participate in the evaluation of the course if such evaluation is stipulated in the relevant term.

Final assessment

To gain credit for the course the student must fulfill all the requirements and pass a three day home exam (2500-3500 words). The course is assessed with grades A-F.

Course objective and content

The aim of this course is to provide the students with an introduction to the main theoretical and methodological developments in the following disciplines: history of religions proper, anthropology of religion, general history, conflict theory, archaeology and art history.
The student has:
  • a good knowledge of central concepts, principles and phenomena in the listed under General informaton
  • a good command of specific technical terminology in these disciplines
  • a good understanding of the history and evolution of these disciplines
The student can:
  • critically assess the evolutionary processes within these disciplines
  • identify adequate theoretical approaches and analytical methods to particular research topics
  • write an exam essay in accordance with the academic standards introduced in the course


To access electronic literature when you are not at MF:
Log in to Oria, or use "External access" in the library's list of databases.

  • Assmann, A. (2010). Canon and archive. I A. Erll, A. Nünning & S. B. Young (Ed.), A companion to cultural memory studies (p. 97-108). Berlin: de Gruyter. Library (Compendium)
  • Assmann, J. (2010). Communicative and cultural memory. I A. Erll, A. Nünning & S. B. Young (Ed.), A companion to cultural memory studies (p. 109-118). Berlin: de Gruyter. Library (Compendium)
  • Bergquist, A. (2001). Ethics and the archaeology of world religions. I T. Insoll (Ed.), Archaeology and world religion (p. 182-192). London: Routledge. Library (Compendium)
  • Burke, P. (2009). Cultural hybridity. Cambridge: Polity Press. Library
  • DeJonge, M. P. & Tietz, C. (2015). Introduction: Translating religion. I M. P. DeJonge & C. Tietz (Ed.), Translating religion: What is lost and gained? (nr. 47, p. 1-12). New York: Routledge Taylor & Francis Group. Library (Compendium)
  • Eco, U. (1998). Serendipities: Language & lunacy (p. 23-52). New York: Columbia University Press. Library. Hentet fra
  • Eco, U. (1995). The search for the perfect language (p. 73-116). Oxford: Blackwell. Library (Compendium)
  • Grau, M. (2011). Rethinking mission in the postcolony: Salvation, society and subversion (p. 104-153). London: T & T Clark. Library. Hentet fra
  • Greetham, D. C. (1994). Textual scholarship: An introduction (p. 347-372). New York: Garland. Library
  • Hare, T. (2014). Translation and the sacred: Translating scripture. I S. Bermann & C. Porter (Ed.), A companion to translation studies (p. 531-542). Hoboken: Wiley-Blackwell. Library (Compendium)
  • Israel, H. (2014). Translating the sacred: Colonial constructions and postcolonial perspectives. I S. Bermann & C. Porter (Ed.), A companion to translation studies (p. 557-569). Hoboken: Wiley-Blackwell. Library (Compendium)
  • Janson, T. (2012). The history of languages: An introduction (p. 77-118). Oxford: Oxford University Press. Library (Compendium)
  • Johnson, M. (2010). Archaeological theory: An introduction (2. ed., p. 1-11, 12-34, 89-101). Malden, Mass: Wiley-Blackwell. Library (Compendium)
  • Kinnard, J. (2013). It is what it is (or is it?): Further reflections on the buddhist representation of manuscripts. I J. W. Watts (Ed.), Iconic books and texts (p. 151-164). Sheffield: Equinox. Library (Compendium)
  • Malmkjær, K. (2013). Translation: The intertranslatability of languages; translation and language teaching. I K. Allan (Ed.), The Oxford handbook of the history of linguistics (p. 691-706). Oxford: Oxford University Press. Library (Compendium)
  • Nongbri, B. (2013). Before religion: A history of a modern concept (p. 1-45). New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press. Library. Hentet fra
  • Norman, K. (1997). A philological approach to Buddhism: The Bukkyo Dendo Kyokai lectures 1994 (p. 1-39). London: School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. Library (Compendium)
  • Pals, D. L. (2015). Nine theories of religion (3. ed., p. 1-184, 227-262, 292-352). New York: Oxford University Press. Library
  • Plate, S. B. (Ed.) (2002). Religion, art, and visual culture: A cross-cultural reader (p. 53-72, 101-117). New York: Palgrave. Library (Compendium)
  • Said, E. W. (2003). Orientalism (p. 31-92). London: Penguin Books. Library (Compendium)
  • Schopen, G. (2007). Archaeology and protestant presuppositions in the study of indian Buddhism. I K. Derris & N. Gummer (Ed.), Defining Buddhism(s): A reader (p. 24-43). Oakville, CT: Equinox Pub. Library (Compendium)
  • Thomas, J. (1995). Where are we now?: Archaeological theory in the 1990s. I P. J. Ucko (Ed.), Theory in archaeology: A world perspective (p. 343-362). London: Routledge. Library (Compendium)
  • Tosh, J. (2015). The pursuit of history: Aims, methods and new directions in the study of history (6. ed., p. 148-204, 229-253). London: Routledge/Taylor & Francis Group. Library
  • Trigger, B. G. (2006). A history of archaeological thought (2. ed., p. 1-39). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Library (Compendium)
  • Ucko, P. J. (1995). Introduction: Archaeological interpretation in a world context. I P. J. Ucko (Ed.), Theory in archaeology: A world perspective (p. 1-27). London: Routledge. Library (Compendium)
  • Von Stosch, K. (2015). Does Allah translate "God"?: Translating concepts between religions. I M. P. DeJonge & C. Tietz (Ed.), Translating religion: What is lost and gained? (p. 123-136). New York: Routledge Taylor & Francis Group. Library (Compendium)

> PDF version for printing