The word religion repeatedly

The Study of Religion

Apes do not revere gods. But already in the most ancient traces after humanity we discover signs of religiosity. When humans learnt how to use scriptures, the texts they wrote were crowded with names of different gods and descriptions of all kinds of rituals.

In fact, we do not know of any society that has not been dominated by religious discourse – save for some Western societies the last one hundred years.

Within the study of religion we explore all the religions of the world, through the ages. We examine how the various faiths have originated and evolved and how they have saturated every social sphere: politics and legislation, cooking and clothing, health and piety. We analyse in what form religion appears among kings and priests, as well as among commoners. We scrutinise how divinities give hope, how devils demand obedience, and how rituals create senses of belonging, at the same time as they construct hierarchies.

Religion is a distinct form of culture and like all other forms of culture it can and ought to be scholarly studied through the lenses of history, sociology, psychology, and anthropology. This is the way it is being done in the study of religion at Linnaeus University.


The study of religions is undertaken at Linnaeus University with the aim of answering a wide-ranging array of humanistic and social scientific questions through meticulous and knowledgeable empirical studies. We value informed and reflexive investigations about how, when and where specific questions are brought to the fore and we constantly strive to create knowledge that is simultaneously critical and constructive. We distance ourselves from research that uses a certain religious tradition as its starting point and norm. We moreover strive to avoid treating religions only as questions of faith by which the study of religious practices, institutions and communities routinely is ignored. We hold that it is crucial to understand and accept that interpretations of religions also involve the critical analysis of idealised self-images.

Theoretically and methodically, the study of religions at Linnaeus comprises expertise primarily within critical cultural theory, cognitive sciences, ritual studies, hermeneutics, discourse analysis, iconography, and the didactics of religious education. Empirically, religious studies researchers at Linnaeus work with Germanic and Celtic religion, New Testament exegesis and contemporary Christianity, Indian religions and book history, contemporary Islam and Muslim interpretive traditions, religion and politics and modern mythology. We have affiliated researchers working with religious themes in connection to the history of books and comic books and graphic novels. For more specific information, see each respective researcher's personal web page.

Johan Adetorp – Religious iconography, Old Norse religion, Celtic religion
Stefan Arvidsson – Modern mythology, religion and politics, the historiography of religion
Torsten Löfstedt – New Testament theology, Christian revivalism, religion in Russia and the USA
Kristina Myrvold – Sikhism, Indian religion, ritual theory, religion and migration
Jonas Svensson – Islam, religion and gender, cognitive approaches to religion
Roland Hallgren – African religion, the didactics of religious education
Martin Lund – Judaism, popular culture