TheoLab

Phenomenology

If the fulcrum of theology is divine revelation, then the basis of phenomenology is the study of religion as a phenomenon peculiar to men, one way or another. Phenomenology does not focus on spirituality or its history and theory. It rather studies the manifestations of spirituality in man through the lenses of history and theory. The frames of phenomenology do not include the sacral or the ritual, but the rituality and the sacred from within, from the position of religious manifestations in man, taking into account psychological aspects as well. In other words, the subject of phenomenology is not the study of the origins of given religious phenomena, but studies of religious manifestations. For instance, while studying Christianity, it focuses not on its origins and development as a religion, but sees it from the point of view of “Christianity in Christian believers.”
For many centuries, the Armenian theological thought has given brilliant fruit, then declined somewhat in the twentieth century, that is to say, after the First World War and the sovietization of Armenia, and under the wide-ranging cultural influence of postmodernism. The place of Religious Studies and its branches in the field of Armenian scholarly thought is dissimilar. If we try to formulate that position, we can say that it will rather be a picture of interspace. Apparently, this is due to the fact that the Armenian theological thought was devoid of any trends and was incomparably more developed. It was at the forefront of the interests of the Armenian thought, hence pushed to the background both the philosophical thought and Religious Studies – the domains, that in Europe and Russian Empire were developed  (generally by atheists or agnostics) as to oppose theology. And the Soviet Union was grounded in an openly anti-religious, in particular, anti-Christian ideology. In addition, when Religious Studies was established as a domain, either the Armenians were engaged in the struggle to maintain their physical existence, or Religious Studies was introduced as scientific atheism, i. e. a philosophy designed under the communist ideology that was at odds with religion in general. Scientific atheism was not and is not Religious Studies. Indirectly related to Religious Studies and phenomenology of religion in those years was ethnography, which still plays that role accountable for Religious Studies. Thus, for various reasons, ethnography involuntarily contributes to the marginalization of Religious Studies on the whole.
‘TheoLab’ Center for Science and Analysis provides an opportunity for the interested people and professionals to focus on religion, looking at it from within, as it is seen through the eyes of a religious person studying religious experience. Case in point: what are the perceptions of holiness/sacral in the given religious community / direction of the Armenian society, what are the religious persons’ manifestations of superstition in the Armenian society and many other issues.
The branch of phenomenological study of religion has often been awarded the honor of a reconciler between Christian theology and Religious Studies. It will be interesting to record this situation in Armenia as well.

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