One of the important aspects of institutionalization of the religious studies in 1870– 1910s was the publishing of the ﬁ rst handbooks on history of religion and comparative religion. The aim of the paper is to analyze methods and approaches of religious studies, as they described in these handbooks. The main characteristic of religion for the historians of religion was its universality. The most important methods, according to them, were historical approach, comparative approach, using of the notion «development». It is important, that we deal foremost with the «history of religion» in these handbooks, not with the «history of religions». Primitive religions were usually excluded from these handbooks, because they «have not history». First handbooks on history of religion often were edited in the series of theological handbooks, that’s why Christianity was described in them quite often as «higher» religion. Researches on comparative religion were based upon the history of religion. One of the main principles of comparative religion was that it should not deal with religious values, but only with a comparison of facts. The author concludes that scholars of religion nowadays should not only collect the facts, but also realize projects on the general history (theory) of religion.
History of Religion, Comparative Religion, Religious Studies, Universality of Religion, Development of Religion, Methods of Religious Studies, Historical Method, Anthropology of Religion, Christianity
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