Department of Religious Studies and Arabic

Prof JM Strijdom

College of Human Sciences
School of Humanities
Department: Religious Studies and Arabic
Tel: 012 429 6852


  • BA Degree (University of Pretoria)
  • BA Honours Degree in Ancient Greek and Semitic Languages (University of Pretoria)
  • BD Degree (University of Pretoria)
  • MA Degree in Ancient Greek (University of Pretoria)
  • MDiv Degree in New Testament Studies (University of Pretoria)
  • DD in New Testament Studies (University of Pretoria)

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Fields of academic interests

  • African indigenous religions and human rights
  • Early Christianity within its Jewish and Greco-Roman contexts
  • Human rights, constitutional law and religion
  • Religious nationalism and violence
  • Critical theories of religion (comparative and historical, colonial and post-colonial, sociological and anthropological)

Field of Specialisation

  • Theories and key terms in the comparative study of religions
  • Social, economic and political uses of religion
  • Material religion: objects and senses in religions


  • 2015: Klassifikation und Vergleich in der Religionswissenschaft: Das Beispiel indigener Diskurse. In: Anil Bhatti & Dorothee Kimmich (eds) 2015. Ähnlichkeit: Ein kulturtheoretisches Paradigma, pp 255-276. Konstanz: Konstanz University Press. Translated and republished as:
  • 2018: Comparison and Classification in Religious Studies: Indigenous Discourses as Case Study. In: Anil Bhatti & Dorothee Kimmich (eds) 2018. Similarity: A Paradigm of Culture Theory, pp 255-272. New Delhi: Tulika Books.

Journal articles

(for a complete list, see

  • 2016: Vernuwing in die bestudering van religie en religieë. Litnet Akademies (Godsdienswetenskappe) 13(3), 536-554.

At Revision of inaugural lecture as professor in Religious Studies, Unisa, Innovation in the study of religion and religions at

  • 2016: 'Colonialism' and 'material culture' in David Chidester's oeuvre: Key terms for teaching about religion and religions at South African universities. Religion and Theology 23, 386-402.
  • 2018: ‘Primitive’: A key concept in Chidester's critique of imperial and Van der Leeuw's phenomenological study of religion. HTS Theological Studies 74(1).
  • 2018: Gerardus van der Leeuw at the Voortrekker Monument: A postcolonial critique of his concept of sacred space. NTT Journal for Theology and the Study of Religion 2018, 72(3). Amsterdam University Press.
  • 2018: ‘Senses’: Assessing a key term in David Chidester’s analysis of religion. Journal for the Study of Religion 31(2), 161-179. Online ISSN 2413-3027.

Professional positions, fellowships & awards

  • Editor-in-chief Journal for the Study of Religion (Journal of the Association for the Study of Religion in Southern Africa)
  • Section editor Phronimon (Journal of the South African Society for Greek Philosophy and the Humanities)
  • Guest editor with Joram Tarusarira (University of Groningen, the Netherlands) of a special issue of the Journal for the Study of Religion on the role of religion in violence and peace-building
  • External member on 2011 academic review committee of the University of Cape Town’s Department of Religious Studies
  • Recipient of award in 2012 to participate in University of Konstanz’ Cluster of Excellence Cultural Foundations of Integration
  • External reviewer in 2015 of University of Pretoria’s high impact module Kaleidoscope of religions
  • Recipient of 2016 Erasmus Mundus INSPIRE staff mobility scholarship to conduct M&D seminars and research at the University of Groningen, the Netherlands
  • Research fellow at Utrecht University on invitation of Birgit Meyer and plenary speaker on Gerardus van der Leeuw as key figure in the study of religion from a postcolonial perspective at the 70th Anniversary Conference of the Dutch Association for the Study of Religion at Utrecht University, the Netherlands
  • Participant in Birgit Meyer’s research project Religious Matters in an Entangled World at Utrecht University, the Netherlands


  • Key concepts in David Chidester’s analysis of religion from a South African perspective