Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The Development and Role of Religious Studies: Some Indonesian Reflectios

Bagir, Zainal Abidin and Irwan Abdullah. 2011. "The Development and Role of Religious Studies: Some Indonesian Reflectios." In Islamic Studies and Islamic Education in Contemporary Southeast Asia, eds. Kamaruzzaman Bustaman-Ahmad and Patrick Jory, 57-74. Kuala Lumpur: Yayasan Ilmuwan.

This chapter presents some preliminary reflections about the challenges and opportunities in developing religious studies as an academic discipline in Indonesia, a religiously plural country which is at the same time the world’s largest Muslim country. It begins with a description of the history and recent developments in religious studies in Indonesia. The significance of the new developments is set in the context of the situation of religious education at the lower level, relations between different religious communities, as well as the main problems facing the nation today—all with an emphasis on post-1998 Reformasi developments. The remainder of the chapter argues for two roles for religious study in Indonesian religious life. It asserts that in this situation the “academic study of religion” cannot—and one may argue, should not—remain purely academic.

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