Retrospections and perspectives: The Study of Religions in Hungary at the University of Szeged
In Hungary, both the study of religion as an academic discipline and a degree program started in 1997 at the University of Szeged. The first department for the Study of Religion was founded at the same university in 2000. Both were initiated by Prof. Dr. Dr. András Máté-Tóth, who will resign soon, leaving the department in the hands of one of his very first students, associate professor Réka Szilárdi, Ph.D. Habil., co-author of the present paper. She has the task and challenge to reboot the program and the department and modernize the teaching materials and methods to frame the program for the near future. In her work, she is supported by a young scholar, Zsuzsanna Szugyiczki, who completed the department’s BA and MA programs, and will soon finish her Ph.D.
Our paper is a result of true collaboration, with its primary goal to discuss the leading trends in the study of religions in Hungary through the development of the first Hungarian department for the Study of Religion. In describing the most important conditions and turning points, we will reveal some parallels with the paradigmatic changes of the international history of the discipline. The most important milestones are, first, the turn from theology to the study of religions represented by the work of Máté-Tóth; second, the transdisciplinary approach in the Study of Religion represented by Szilárdi; and finally, the open questions regarding the repositioning of the discipline in the scientific milieu and the public discourse in Hungary.