Religion as Orientation and Transformation 978-3-16-155098-0 - Mohr Siebeck

Jan-Olav Henriksen

Religion as Orientation and Transformation

A Maximalist Theory

[Religion als Orientierung und Transformation. Eine maximalistische Theorie.]

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ISBN 978-3-16-155098-0
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Published in English.
Religions are not primarily expressed in people's heads and their thoughts, but in what they do. People use religious symbols in order to orientate or change themselves. In this way, religion is related to all realms of human life. Jan-Olav Henriksen shows that only against this backdrop can we understand the role of religions in human life.
In this book, Jan-Olav Henriksen presents an argument for understanding religion as an expression of different types of practices: those of orientation, transformation, and reflection. Instead of understanding religion first and foremost on the basis of doctrine and propositionally articulated belief, he argues that religions should be seen primarily as practices that mediate symbolic resources for orientation and transformation. The meaning of doctrine and reflection is constituted by its relation to such practices. Thus, doctrine does not constitute religion. This approach allows for a maximalist understanding of religion, i.e. seeing religions as a variety of phenomena relating to all dimensions of human experience. This is not possible to understand from a reductionist perspective. The volume offers a concrete, practice-orientated and pragmatistic understanding of the role of religion in different realms of human life.

Jan-Olav Henriksen Born 1961; 1990 Dr. theol.; 2000 Alan Richardson Fellow at the University of Durham, UK; 2002 Dr. philos.; since 1994 professor of systematic theology at MF Norwegian School of Theology; currently also Dean of Research; member of the Center of Theological Inquiry, Princeton, NJ.


The following reviews are known:

In: Salesianum — 80 (2018), S. 784–785 (Rafael Vicent)