In this publication the contributions made by the individual differences tradition of psychology over the past 50 years to research in religious education are reviewed and assessed. In this context religious education is conceived broadly to embrace what takes place in schools, within religious communities, and within households across the age span. The opening section roots the analysis within the tradition of developmental psychology and the research that flourished in the area of religious development during the 1960s. It is from these foundations that current interest in the individual differences approach emerges. Subsequent sections examine the centrality of the attitudinal dimension of religion, discuss the place of personality in the individual differences tradition, explore sex as a core individual difference in religion, map the correlates, antecedents and consequences of individual differences in religious affect or attitudes, review research into the distinctiveness and effectiveness of church schools and the family in religious nurture, identify the factors that account for individual differences in attitude toward religious diversity, explore the relevance of the individual differences tradition for adult religious education, and explore the implications of the individual differences tradition for biblical hermeneutics and discipleship learning.
This publication makes the case for ‘religion and education’ as a distinct, but cross-disciplinary, field of inquiry. To begin with, consideration is given to the changing dynamic between ‘religion and education’ historically, and the differing understandings of religious education within it. Next, ‘religion and education’ is examined from methodologically specific perspectives, namely the philosophical, historical and sociological. The authors outline the particular insights to be gleaned about ‘religion and education’ on the basis of their commitment to these methodological standpoints. Overall, this publication is concerned with demonstrating the scope of the field, and the importance of having a range of disciplinary, and interdisciplinary, perspectives informing it.
Religion and education is a dynamic and increasingly important area of work, intersecting the fields of theology and religious studies, and drawing upon the foundation disciplines and methodologies of philosophy, sociology, psychology and history of education. It is particularly focused upon religious education as variously conceived in different domestic, religious, educational, social and national contexts.
Brill Research Perspectives in Religion and Education provides researchers with the opportunity to give an account of the most recent scholarship and to define and direct the agenda for future research. Written as single or co-authored monographs with an accompanying bibliography, each specially commissioned issue contains a 50 to 100-page article on a given theme, offering a critical and up-to-date summary of research, commentary and analysis. As ‘religion and education’ grows in importance, this series will contribute to making knowledge accessible and debate internationally informed.
Forthcoming 2019 Volume 1, Issue 1:
Religion and Education: Critically Mapping the Field, by Stephen G. Parker, Jenny Berglund, David Lewin, and Deirdre Raftery
Volume 1, Issue 2:
Psychology and Religious Education, by Leslie J. Francis