The word religion repeatedly

The Study of Religion

By all accounts, apes do not believe in gods. However, even in the most ancient traces of humanity we can find signs of religiosity.

When humans first learnt how to write, the texts they wrote were full of names of different gods and descriptions of rituals. In fact, we do not know of any society that has not been dominated by religious discourse – save for some Western societies during the last one hundred years.

Within the study of religion, we explore all religions of the world, throughout history. We study the origin and development of the different religions and how they have permeated every aspect of life: politics, ethics, clothing, and piety. We study how religion has been expressed by kings and priests, as well as among commoners. We analyse how deities give hope, how devils demand obedience, and how rituals create a sense of belonging while at the same time establishing hierarchies.

Religion is a distinct form of culture and, like all other forms of culture, religion can and should be scholarly studied through the lenses of history and sociology as well as through the lenses of psychology and anthropology. This is what we do within the field of study of religion at Linnaeus University.



The study of religion at Linnaeus University is conducted with the aim to answer a wide range of comprehensive questions relating to the humanities and social sciences through meticulous and well-informed empirical studies. We value insightful reflections on how, when and why certain questions are brought to the fore and we strive to create knowledge that is both critical and constructive. We distance ourselves from research that uses a certain religious tradition as its starting point and norm. Moreover, we strive to avoid treating religion only as a question of faith by which the study of religious practices, institutions and communities routinely is ignored. We believe 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 religion at Linnaeus University comprises expertise primarily within critical cultural theory, cognitive sciences, ritual studies, hermeneutics, discourse analysis, iconography, and the didactics of religious education. Empirically, the researchers within the field of subject at Linnaeus University conduct research on Germanic and Celtic religion, New Testament theology and contemporary Christianity, the history of Sikhism, Indian religions, contemporary Islam and Muslim interpretive traditions, as well as religion and politics and modern mythology. We have affiliated researchers working with religious themes in connection to the history of books and comic books.

Below, you will find information on each respective researcher's specialisation.

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

To learn more about the individual researchers and their respective specialisations, visit each respective researcher's staff page below.