Religion' and 'body': reclaiming the missing links of Western education


  • Oren Ergas Hebrew University of Jerusalem


Body, Human, Secularism, Education, Curriculum evaluation, Schools, Contentment, Ontology, Knowledge, Theory of, Mind and body, Secularization (Sociology), Rationalism, Science, Holism, Philosophy, Health, Healing, Methodology


This paper depicts Western education as being led by a scientific ethos of objectivity. Such an ethos lends itself clearly to a disengagement from ‘religion’ as representing the realm of so-called ‘unscientific knowledge’ and speculation on the one hand, and to a disengagement from the ‘body’ as the locus of sentiment and idiosyncrasy on the other. It is argued, that Western education thus promotes a secular mind-oriented ideology, weeding out the spiritual realm on the one hand, and the emotional-physical realm on the other. It is claimed that education can only take place once it becomes an exploratory path which poses the question ‘who am I?’ at its core. The exploration of such a question will forever be a depleted one as long as it is deprived of ‘religion’ and the ‘body’ as possible research paths. This paper is thus an orientation call for the field of curriculum development serving as a foundation for the ‘holistic education’ discourse developed in recent years. ‘Well-being’ is claimed to be the goal of education. Following this it is showed why this goal cannot be achieved given Western education’s rational (‘body-less’) – secular (‘religion-less’) epistemology. There is thus a need for an attempt to reconceptualize education, which can be made by means of reclaiming the ‘body’ and ‘religion’ as Western education’s missing links, reintegrating them into its proper epistemological/ontological basis. Our inherent dualistic conceptualization of reality (education included) should be dealt with, as it constitutes an obstacle to the reconceptualization of education.



How to Cite

Ergas, O. (2011). Religion’ and ’body’: reclaiming the missing links of Western education. Scripta Instituti Donneriani Aboensis, 23, 79–99.