Michigan State University

Collection Development Policy Statement: Religious Studies

Written by: Agnes Haigh Widder Date drafted: Jan. 31, 2006

Purpose or Scope of Collection

  • A. Curricular/Research/Programmatic needs

    Resources in religious studies serve the instructional needs of the Department of Religious Studies, which offers an undergraduate major, and a teaching minor for students majoring in Education. Certain portions of the collection support instruction and research in other departments and programs, e.g. history, medical humanities, literature, philosophy, art, music, Jewish studies, and Muslim studies.

    This collection is most needed to serve the general information needs and reading interests of our University community, quite apart from any instructional or research programs on campus. The collection may also supplement those found in local church libraries.

    From the Religious Studies departmental website: the academic study of religion seeks to describe and interpret the nature of religion and the variety of religious worldviews. In doing so, it draws on the disciplines and interdisciplinary methodologies of the human and social sciences. The study of religious worldviews approaches religion comparatively in a cross-cultural context and free from the biases of particular denominations and doctrines. Moreover, it tries to understand the multiple dimensions of religion: religious texts, myths, doctrines, and rituals; religion and ethics; religious institutions and religious experience. The study of religion explores changes in religious traditions over time and economic and intellectual contexts within which religions have unfolded. Students learn how to think and write about varieties of religious phenomena and experiences.

  • B. History of the Collection/Existing Strengths and Emphases

    The collection emphasizes historical treatments relating mainly to the Christian West. The present religious worldviews focus of the Religious Studies department is comparatively new. Thus, non-Christian religious traditions are represented more sparsely in the collection (2 level) and began to be collected more recently.

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