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Religious Education in Switzerland as a Field of Work for the Study of Religions: Empirical Results and Theoretical Reflections

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The following article addresses the current state of religious education in Switzerland and the involvement of the study of religions in this field. Since the 1990s, the existence of different religions and world-views has become a politically and socially significant factor in Switzerland. Not only representatives of public schools and particularly teachers of religious education, but also scholars of the study of religions, are challenged by the consequences of this multireligious and multicultural situation. During the past few years, religious education therefore has become a scholarly issue for this discipline in the German-speaking area. The article demonstrates what the engagement of the study of religions in the practical field of religious education should be like and how this has already been worked out. The authors differentiate between basic research, applied research and application, referring to their own research and practical experience. Based on empirical data, two basic forms of religious education are generated: religiöser Unterricht, which treats objects of religious traditions in a religious manner, including a dogmatic and a life-world sub-type, and religionskundlicher Unterricht, which treats objects of religious traditions in the scholarly way of the cultural studies. In the last part of the article some cornerstones for the implementation of the school subject Religionskunde and for the development of an applied didactics in the perspective of the study of religions are presented.

Affiliations: 1: Religionswissenschaftliches Seminar. Kirchgasse 9, 8001 Zürich, Switzerland; 2: Lehrstuhl für Religionswissenschaft II. Universität Bayreuth, Geb. GW II, 95440 Bayreuth, Germany


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