In contrast to well-established didactics of theologies, the study of religions, even though its field is becoming more and more important in schools and elsewhere in society, has not yet developed a didactic branch. This article outlines and exemplifies three tasks for didactics of the study of religions: (1) analysis of models of education about religion/s, (2) development of concepts for education about religion/s, (3) engagement in practical issues related to education about religion/s, including participation in political and public debates about religion, religious plurality, education, and religious education. Tasks 1 and 2, which may be called "inner-academic," are exemplified with research results from my study about integrative religious education in Europe. Task 3, relating to the communication of academic insights beyond academia, is regarded as a necessary complement to "inner-academic" work. In conclusion, it is argued that in order to develop didactics of the study of religions it is necessary to combine the subject knowledge and methodologies of the study of religions with insights from education. Rather than leaving this educational task to educationalists with little knowledge of our subject, the study of religions needs to establish its own didactics with respect to various educational contexts.
This article discusses the challenge of criticisms of the world religions paradigm to the design of teaching programmes in the academic Study of Religions, in general and with a particular focus on didactics-related courses as part of teacher training programmes. It uses the design of a particular Bachelor programme at a German university as an example for the general challenge of teaching about religion in an emancipatory framework that critically reflects its own presuppositions, both at university and school levels. Taking seriously recent criticisms of the world religions paradigm, it is argued, involves a shift of focus from the communication of supposedly given knowledge about religions to the communication of critical competences in analysing different types of discourse about religion, religions or “world religions.”