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Other forms of definition are polythetic, producing a list of characteristics that are common to religion.
In this definition there is no one characteristic that need be common to every form of religion.
Because of these three different potential meanings, an etymological analysis alone does not resolve the ambiguity of defining religion, since each verb points to a different understanding of what religion is.
The term "religion" originated from the Latin noun "religio", that was nominalized from one of three verbs: "relegere" (to turn to constantly/observe conscientiously); "religare" (to bind oneself [back]); and "reeligere" (to choose again).Notwithstanding the long interest in the study of religion, the academic discipline Religious Studies is relatively new. Chris Partridge notes that the "first professorships were established as recently as the final quarter of the nineteenth century." In the nineteenth century, the study of religion was done through the eyes of science.Max Müller was the first Professor of Comparative Philology at Oxford University, a chair created especially for him.Interest in the general study of religion dates back to at least Hecataeus of Miletus (ca. The first history of religion was the Treatise on the Religious and Philosophical Sects (1127 CE), written by the Muslim scholar Muhammad al-Shahrastani.Peter the Venerable, also working in the twelfth century, studied Islam and made possible a Latin translation of the Qur'an.
There are two forms of monothetic definition; the first are substantive, seeking to identify a specific core as being at the heart of religion, such as a belief in a God or gods, or an emphasis on power.