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Research programme

Comparative Religion Network

Within the Comparative Religion Network staff and graduate students from LIAS-LUCSoR (and beyond) discuss ongoing work and cooperate on key issues in the comparative and systematic study of religion.

Markus Davidsen

The Comparative Religion Network (formerly: the Leiden Working Group for the Study of Fundamental Problems and Methods in the Scientific Study of Religion) brings together staff and graduate students from LIAS-LUCSoR (and beyond) who with their research and teaching aim to contribute to the comparative and systematic study of religion. Founded in 2021, the Comparative Religion Network hosts six-eight hybrid meetings a year, in the Verbarium with the possibility of joining via Microsoft Teams. During these meetings we do two things. First, we discuss published or close-to-submission work by one of the Network members. We do this not only to get to know each other’s work better, but also to explicitly practice in making specialist research results relevant to the general study of religion. Second, we discuss key issues and novel publications on method, theory, and research history in the study of religion. The general theme for our 2024 research meetings is ‘comparison in the study of religion’, and comparison will also be the theme of the symposium on 1 November 2024 to celebrate the 10th anniversary of LUCSoR. If you want to be added to the Network’s email list, please contact Markus Altena Davidsen.

Meeting and reading schedule for 2024

Meeting (Verbarium)

Reading by member

Readings on comparison

February 2, 11.30-13.00


Typological/analytical comparison (based on ideal types)

Hanegraaff, Wouter & Mriganka Mukhopadhyay (fc. very soon), “Translating Esotericism: Scepticism, Optimism, Agency”, Correspondences 11(1), 1-31

Jensen, Jeppe Sinding (2023), “The Typological Phenomenology of Religion – Resurrected: Managing a Legacy from Geo Widengren”, Method & Theory in the Study of Religion 35, 306-328.

Paden, William E. (2016), Ch. 6 “Elements of a New Comparativism”, in New Patterns for Comparative Religion: Passages to an Evolutionary Perspective, in the series Scientific Studies of Religion: Inquiry and Explanation, London: Bloomsbury, 96-105.

March 1, 11.00-13.00


Tiele and Chantepie: Founding Fathers of the Comparative Study of Religion


Lecture by Ab de Jong, followed by discussion


Jensen, Jeppe Sinding (2003), Ch. 3 “Rereading the originators”, in The Study of Religion in a New Key: Theoretical and Philosophical Soundings in the Comparative and General Study of Religion, Aarhus: Aarhus University Press, 73-101.

Molendijk, Arie L. (2005), Ch 4 “Conceptualizing Science of Religion”, in The Emergence of the Science of Religion in the Netherlands, Leiden: Brill, 83-122.

April 5, 12.30-14.00



Verena Meyer TBD


Weak/liminative comparison (of real cases)


Lincoln, Bruce (2018 [2012]), “Theses on Comparison”, in Apples and Oranges: Explorations In, On, and With Comparison, Chicago: Chicago University Press, 24-33. Originally published in Claude Calame & Bruce Lincoln (eds.), Comparer en historie des religions antiques, Liège: Presses Universitaires Liège, 99-110.

Platvoet, Jan G. (1982), Ch. 2: “A Limitative Approach to the Comparative Study of Religions: Its Genesis and Tools”, in Comparing Religions: A Limitative Approach. An Analysis of Akan, Para-Creole, and IFO-Sananda Rites and Prayers, The Hague, Paris & New York: Mouton.


May 17, 12.30-14.00


Comparison as step-up to theorizing


Buffer / TBD

Brand, Mattias (2024, fc.), “Comparison, Generalisations, and Relationality in the Study of Religion\s”, AЯGOS.

Taira, Teemu (2018), “The Commitment to Go on Theorizing “Religion””, Method and Theory in the Study of Religion 30(4-5), 449-462.

June 21, 12.30-14.30


Comparison and the history of religion


Kim Beerden TBD



Frankfurter, David (2012), “Comparison and the Study of Religion in Late Antiquity”, in Claude Calame and Bruce Lincoln (eds.), Comparer en histoire des religions antiques: Controverses et propositions, Liège: Presses Universitaires de Liège, 83-98.

Strube, Julian (fc. 2024), “Global Religious History and Religious Comparison: A Programmatic Outline”, Interdisciplinary Journal for Religion and Transformation in Contemporary Society.

September 20, 12.30-14.30

PhD projects at LIAS/LUCSoR on religion

Lisa Bukhave Jensen

Sara Bolghiran

Lara Offermans

No readings

Short presentations (@15 minutes) followed by discussion.

November 1

LUCSoR 10 Years Anniversary Symposium

December 6, 12.30-14.00

(AAR 23-26 Nov)

Going forward with the book project

Plans for 2025

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