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Studies of religion in high school: comparative analysis of the content of educational publications

The problem of the content of educational publications for university students on religious studies, recently published, is an important and urgent research problem, as it shows the dependence of their content on sociocultural changes taking place in the field of domestic religious studies: object, research methodology, scientific approaches and principles.

Research Methods. To identify factors affecting the content of educational publications, a comparative analysis was carried out (total number – 38) according to the criteria: time of publication of the educational publication; orientation of the educational publication (specialty, field of study, level of education); structure of religious studies as a system of knowledge about religion; the definition of religion as a basic concept; neutrality of the position of the authors of educational publications in relation to a particular religion. Textbooks and teaching aids prepared by teams of authors and published in large Russian publishing houses or in university publishing houses were analyzed.

Research results and discussion. Based on the analysis, the evolution of the content of educational publications, its correlation with the ongoing sociocultural changes and vectors of the study of religion in Russian and foreign science is shown. Changes in the structure of knowledge and the field of religious studies, differences in the ways of presenting material were revealed; the applied character of some sections for students of the areas of «Law», «Social Work» is noted, taking into account the features of future professional activity. There are fixed differences in the «neutrality» of the author’s position in relation to a particular religion, and equidistance from religious institutions or faiths.

Conclusions. Russian educational publications on religious studies have undergone significant ideological and substantial changes since the Soviet era of scientific atheism. In the studied Russian educational publications, there is a systematic knowledge of religion that has been established in the academic community of religious scholars. However, the share of new contemporary topics about religion of a debatable nature is not high. It was revealed that the authors of educational publications, affiliated with major religious centers, occupy an objective, neutral position in the description of religions and faiths. The subjectivity, the lack of neutrality of the authors, as well as a certain non-observance of the secular nature of higher education in Russia was found in educational publications of institutions that do not have specialized departments of religious studies. The organization of material in educational publications makes it difficult for students to independently compare religions.

Keywords: textbook, study guide, studies of religion, higher education, academic discipline, religion

For Reference: Kuznetsova, O. V., Osintsev, A. V., & Smolina, N. S. (2020). Studies of religion in high school: comparative analysis of the content of educational publications. Perspektivy nauki i obrazovania – Perspectives of Science and Education, 46 (4), 193-202. doi: 10.32744/pse.2020.4.13

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Information about the authors:

Olesya V. Kuznetsova (Russia, Yekaterinburg) - Senior Lecturer, Department of Ontology and Theory of Knowledge, Department of Philosophy. Ural Federal University named after the First President of Russia B. N. Yeltsin. E-mail: olesyakzn@yandex.ru. ORCID ID: 0000-0001-9764-0503. Scopus ID: 57215901772

Alexey V. Osintsev (Russia, Yekaterinburg) - Assistant, Department of Ontology and Theory of Knowledge, Department of Philosophy. Ural Federal University named after the First President of Russia B. N. Yeltsin. E-mail: a.v.osintcev@urfu.ru. ORCID ID: 0000–0002–4543–115X
 
Natalya S. Smolina (Russia, Yekaterinburg) - PhD in Philosophy, Associate Professor of the Department of Social Work; Department of Political Science and Sociology; Ural Humanitarian Institute. Ural Federal University named after the First President of Russia B. N. Yeltsin. E-mail: n.s.smolina@urfu.ru. ORCID ID: 0000-0003-4389-2996. Scopus ID: 57215903815

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