The Creation Story, or How We Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Schempp

Many scholars highlight the 1963 Supreme Court Schempp decision as a major turning point, or even a point of origin for the field of religious studies. This origins narrative rests on two related ideas: first, Schempp provided the legal basis for public universities to have departments of religious...

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Bibliographic Details
Published in:Journal of the American Academy of Religion
Main Author: Imhoff, Sarah
Format: Electronic Article
Language:English
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Published: [2016]
In:Journal of the American Academy of Religion
Year: 2016, Volume: 84, Issue: 2, Pages: 466-497
Online Access: Volltext (Verlag)
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Summary:Many scholars highlight the 1963 Supreme Court Schempp decision as a major turning point, or even a point of origin for the field of religious studies. This origins narrative rests on two related ideas: first, Schempp provided the legal basis for public universities to have departments of religious studies, and second, Schempp posited a differentiation between teaching religiosity and studying religion. But neither can bear the weight that the Schempp -centered origins story assigns it. The decision discusses colleges and universities fleetingly, and only in order to draw an explicit contrast between them and primary school education. Moreover, at the time of the decision, forty-five percent of public colleges and universities already had a religious studies program. This article suggests an alternative history, in which rising student interest, college education focused on the whole student, changing geopolitics, the role of theology in “turbulent times,” and external funding facilitated the rise of religious studies.
ISSN:1477-4585
Contains:Enthalten in: American Academy of Religion, Journal of the American Academy of Religion
Persistent identifiers:DOI: 10.1093/jaarel/lfv060