Religionswissenschaft und Religionen: Eine riskante Nähe und ihre Notwendigkeit (Abschiedsvorlesung)
This article gives the text of a public farewell lecture at the University of Marburg delivered by the author during the summer semester of 2004 (on June 3 rd), preceding retirement in the autumn. The title cannot be translated easily into English but may be rendered: "The study of religions - and religions: a tricky intimacy and its necessity". The lecture seeks to validate the study of religions in the university context, at a time of severe economic stringency, with a methodological argument which does not shy away from an intimate closeness to the phenomenon under study, but at the same time insists on the independent profile of the appropriate academic discipline, namely Religionswissenschaft. In such a perspective, it is argued, it is possible to contribute to the interreligious and intercultural dialogical situations which are so evidently and urgently needed in the world at the present time. Examples given include explorations of the relationships between Buddhism and Christianity, and current interactions with Indonesian Islam, -- work which has been shared with colleagues in Marburg and elsewhere. Needless to say, empirical and analytical studies must be firmly rooted in particular specialities. This is demonstrated by reference to studies in Japanese religions with special reference to Shintō, with a focus first on the imperial enthronement ceremonies and second on recent varieties of circulatory pilgrimage Japan. The latter theme is further documented in an illustrated "Occasional Paper" (No. 30) of Marburg University's Centre for Japanese Studies, which was first presented on this occasion. The lecture was accompanied by a visual presentation, partly humorous. A version including the various images may be posted later on my personal homepage; if so it will include a shot of the audience taken on the occasion, to accompany those of audiences in Java.
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