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Department of the Study of Religions

Japanese Religion: A Historical Overview

Course Code:
158000044
Status:
Course Not Running 2014/2015
Unit value:
0.5
Year of study:
Year 2 or Year 3
Taught in:
Term 2
The aim of this course is to introduce students to the complex and fascinating world of Japanese religion through a historical overview of the process of formation of the various religious traditions until the end of the 19th century. The course has two focuses: the relation between religious institutions and centres of political power; and the development of doctrines and practices which were most influential in Japanese history.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the course

On successful completion of the course the student will have:

  • a basic knowledge of the characteristics of the major religious traditions developed in Japan (figures, doctrines, texts, places) until the nineteenth century
  • an awareness of the religious concerns of Japanese society at a specific historical moment. Furthermore, the student should have become aware of the different agendas and ideological positions which affect the study of Japanese religion.

Scope and syllabus

The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the complex and fascinating world of Japanese religion through a historical overview of the process of the various religious traditions until the end of the 19th century. The course has two focuses:

  • the relation between religious institutions and centres of political power
  • and the development of the doctrines and practices which were most influential in Japanese history.

Method of assessment

One 2,500-3,000 word essay (50%), one two-hour written examination (50%).

Suggested reading

  • Tanabe, George, ed. (1999) Religions of Japan in Practice, Princeton, Princeton University Press.
  • Kasahara Kazuo, ed. (2001) A History of Japanese Religion, Tokyo, Kosei Publishing Co.