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Religious Education: An Interpretive Approach (1997)

Professor Robert Jackson
Published by
Hodder and Stoughton
ISBN 034068870X

This publication is now out of print. Copies should be available in academic libraries.

This study gives a constructive critique of Religious Education since the 1970s, arguing for an interpretive, rather than simply a phenomenological approach. It explores how religion may be interpreted and taught in a way that is sensitive to the actual experience of the faith communities and also relevant to the spiritual development of individuals.

It includes:

  • A critique of established ways of representing religions as belief systems.
  • A flexible model for interpreting change and diversity within cultures.
  • The application of techniques from interpretive anthropology to religious education.
  • A discussion of the ways in which students’ insights into their own way of life can be deepened through the study of other religions and cultures.
  • A response to critics who claim that multifaith RE is inherently relativistic.

These discussions will be of interest to lecturers and university students of RE and Religious Studies, as well as to teachers and scholars concerned with multicultural, intercultural and antiracist education.

‘A couple of times a decade British religious education seems to produce a definitive work, a book which defines and redefines the subject, usually from the perspective of a particular discipline. One thinks of Ronald Goldman’s religious existentialism of the 1960s, Raymond Holley’s philosophy of the spiritual in the 1970s and Michael Grimmitt’s phenomenological sociology of the 1 980s. Bob Jackson’s new book is in this company. Jackson explores the possibility of founding religious education as a discipline upon interpretative anthropology, showing how such an approach developed out of the older phenomenology of religious studies, redirected towards curriculum and method by means of his own pedagogical suggestions.’(Professor John Hull, British Journal of Religious Education 1998, 20, 2) Full Review available here.

‘This is a very useful book for anyone seeking to understand the contemporary study of religions and religious providing a well-thought thorough theoretical approach underpinned by a depth and breadth of scholarship, Professor Jackson has provided a much needed rationale for the hunches of busy teachers’.(Denise Cush, British Journal of Educational Studies, March 1998)