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Myths of the Origin of Death: The Central Asian Type?



Temenos Vol. 46 No. 2 (2010), 215–249© The Finnish Society for the Study of Religion Finnish Studies on Islam: Themes and Approaches TUULA SAKARANAHO University of Helsinki Abstract In recent decades, Finnish research on Islam has started to expand rapidly; in the process, it has also widened to disciplines which previously did not necessarily focus on the study of religions. The article provides an overview of the range of these studies, conducted by Arabists, comparative religionists, theologians, anthropologists, and social scientists, with a close focus on the central themes and main methodological approaches used in these studies. The article is divided into four parts. In order to give some historical background to recent studies on Islam, the first part takes a quick look at the explorations of Georg August Wallin and the social-anthropological studies of Edvard Westermarck and Hilma Granqvist. Contemporary research is divided according to its main topic of interest into the following three parts: studies on the foundational sources of Islam and subsequent theological questions; studies on Muslims in Muslim populated countries; and studies on Muslims in Europe and Finland. In the concluding remarks, the article considers some of the challenges posed by the current social and political situation for research on Islam and Muslims. Keywords: Islam, Muslims, Finland, study of religions, Islamic studies, theology, anthropology, ethnography, media studies, international politics In recent decades research on Islam has expanded rapidly in Finland, in the process widening to disciplines which previously did not necessarily focus on the study of religions. This increase in research on Islam is of course part of a larger development, whereby religion has become a highly fashionable research topic outside its traditional realms of theology and Comparative Religion. Of all the world religions, Islam in particular has started to attract scholarly attention in a wid

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