Religion as Culture and Text

Frameworks for Religion Education in South Africa

in Religion and Theology
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Professors David Chidester and Cornelia Roux support the new policy on religion education promulgated in 2003 that emphasises the value of exposing learners to the diversity of religious traditions in the country. In this essay, I identify the frameworks they adopt for the study of religions, and argue that they be further developed for the religion education classroom. I propose that both dynamic discursive traditions (Chidester) and texts (content) (Roux) provide key frameworks for religion education. Discursive traditions open the door to a critical and contextual appreciation of religions that is open to change, renewal and innovation. I do not support the hermeneutical preoccupation of Roux, but find her emphasis on the texts and content of religions useful for thinking about the semiotics of religious traditions on self, society and the world. I provide the justification for these frameworks from reflections in the study of religions.

Religion as Culture and Text

Frameworks for Religion Education in South Africa

in Religion and Theology

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References

2

Talal AsadGenealogies of Religion: Discipline and Reasons of Power in Christianity and Islam (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press1993); David Chidester Savage Systems: Colonialism and Comparative Religion in Southern Africa Studies in Religion and Culture (Charlottesville; London: University Press of Virginia 1996); Russell T. McCutcheon Manufacturing Religion: The Discourse on Sui Generis Religion and the Politics of Nostalgia (Oxford: Oxford University Press 1997); Timothy Fitzgerald The Ideology of Religious Studies (New York: Oxford University Press 2000).

3

Robert Jackson“Religious Education’s Representation of ‘Religions’ and ‘Cultures’,” British Journal of Educational Studies 43 no. 3 (Sept. 1995): 272–289.

4

David ChidesterSalvation and Suicide: An Interpretation of Jim Jones the Peoples Temple and Jonestown (Bloomington; Indianapolis: Indiana University Press1988); Chidester Savage Systems.

5

David Chidester“Worldview Analysis of African Independent Churches,” Journal for the Study of Religion 2 no. 1 (1989): 26.

7

David Chidester“Worldview Analysis” 16.

10

David Chidester“Religion Education in South Africa: Teaching and Learning About Religion, Religions, and Religous Diversity,” in Teaching for Tolerance and Freedom of Religion or Belief: Report from the Preparatory Seminar Held in Oslo December 7–9 2002ed. Lena Larsen and Ingvild T. Plesner (Oslo: Oslo Coalition on Freedom of Religion and Belief 2002). Online: http://folk.uio.no/leirvik/OsloCoalition/DavidChidester.htm.

11

P. Coertzen“Freedom of Religion and Religious Education in a Pluralistic Society,” Nederduitse Gereformeerde Teologiese Tydskrif 43 no. 1/2 (2002): 185–196; J.S. Dreyer “The National Policy on Religion and Education in South Africa: Reflections from a Public Practical Theology” Practical Theology in South Africa 22 no. 2 (2007): 40–60; Elda de Waal R.D. Mawsdley J.J. Cumming “Furthering National Values through Religion in Public School Education: Comparing the United States Australia and South Africa” Journal for Juridical Science Special Issue (2010): 46–70; Johannes van der Walt “Religion in Education in South Africa: Was Social Justice Served?” South African Journal of Education 31 no. 3 (2011): 381–393.

12

C.D. Roux and J.L. van der Walt“Paradigms, Beliefs and Values in Scholarship: A Conversation Between Two Educationists,” Bulletin for Christian Scholarship 7 no. 2 (2011): 221–242.

13

Roux and van der Walt“Paradigms Beliefs and Values in Scholarship” 5.

14

Cornelia Roux“Religion and Human Rights Literacy as Prerequisite for Interreligious Education,” in International Handbook of Inter-Religious Education Part Twoed. Kath Engebretson Marian de Sousa Gloria Durka and Liam Gearon (Dordrecht: Springer 2010): 993; Roux and van der Walt “Paradigms Beliefs and Values” 14–16.

15

Roux and van der Walt“Paradigms Beliefs and Values” 14.

16

Roux“Religion and Human Rights Literacy” 1013.

17

Cornelia Roux“Hermeneutics and Religion Teaching and Learning in the Context of Social Constructivism,” Scriptura 96 no. 3 (2007): 474.

18

Roux“Hermeneutics and Religion Teaching” 477.

19

Roux“Hermeneutics and Religion Teaching” 472.

20

Cornelia Roux“Playing Games with Religion in Education,” South African Journal of Education 23 no. 2 (2003): 130.

22

Roux and van der Walt“Paradigms Beliefs and Values” 14.

23

Roux“Playing Games” 130.

25

Robert Wuthnow“Two Traditions in the Study of Religion,” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 20 no. 1 (1981): 16–32.

26

Wuthnow“Two Traditions” 24.

27

Wuthnow“Two Traditions” 30.

29

Talal AsadGenealogies of Religion: Discipline and Reasons of Power in Christianity and Islam (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press1993); Talal Asad Formations of the Secular: Christianity Islam Modernity Cultural Memory in the Present (Stanford: Stanford University Press 2003).

30

David ChidesterWild Religion. Tracking the Sacred in South Africa (Berkeley: University of California Press2012): 3.

31

Tim Murphy“Elements of a Semiotic Theory of Religion,” Method & Theory in the Study of Religion 15 no. 1 (2003): 48–67.

32

Jonathan Z. SmithImagining Religion: From Babylon to Jonestown (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press1982) 42.

33

Tim Murphy“Elements of a Semiotic Theory” 59.

34

SmithImagining Religion42.

35

Joseph N. Ballan“The Intelligence of Books: The Religious Studies Classroom as Translation Workshop,” Journal for Cultural and Religious Theory 12 no. 2 (2012): 174–186.

36

Ballan“The Intelligence of Books” 182.

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