African Research Review

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Studying Religion Scientifically: Motive and Method

PE Nmah


Motive and method provide one of the most contentious and thorny sets of issues in contemporary academic debate in the study of religion. Byrne (1988), opined that the debate on the motives and methods of studying religion academically or scientifically has not yet ended, which can equally be confirmed by a quick survey of recent books and articles on the topic. This paper, while not pretending to say last word on the debate, has the hope that
the clarifications of these methods and motive may in some way facilitate the achievement of the ultimate aim of the scientific study of religion (Religionswissenschaft), which is intellectual knowledge (wissenschaft) and
understanding (verstehen) or what Budolph (1981) calls the “intentional meaning” of religion qua religion.
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