29. What Became of Superhuman Beings?: Companions and Field Guides in the Study of Religion
Contemporary Views on Comparative Religion - In Celebration of Tim Jensen’s 65th Birthday - Peter Antes
Ingvild Sælid Gilhus [+]
University of Bergen
The article takes its point of departure in a survey of encyclopedias, companions and field guides in the study of religion. While superhuman beings have pride of place in a main type of definitions of religions, they waver between a theological cum phenomenological and a cultural approach in the encyclopedia; are in the main absent or theologically described in leading companions and guides; are in focus in cognitive studies; and display great activity in works on specific religions. There is a certain ambiguity, bordering to schizophrenia, both between the genres and even within one single book when it comes to how superhuman beings are treated. The article argues that it is difficult to investigate and speak about religion without developing analytical and critical concepts referring to superhuman beings.