Roman School (history of religion)

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In the history of religions, the Roman School is a methodology that emerged after World War II and was prominent in Italy throughout the 1950s. It was a competitor to the French structuralist approach.

One of its main characteristics was the ambition to study religion from a neutral or politically aloof perspective. It began with Raffaele Pettazzoni, who had been one of the first academics to propose a historical approach to the study of religion. One of its most influential contributors was Angelo Brelich, whose works on rituals and initiation have had a lasting impact. Other prominent disciples of the Roman School include Dario Sabbatucci and Giulia Piccaluga.[1]

The school and its body of work have been examined by later scholars including Giampiera Arrigoni (2003, "Il ritorno di Angelo Brelich", Mythos 11:3-8) and Marcello Massenzio (2005, "The Italian school of 'history of religions'", Religion 35:209-222).


  1. ^ Pura Nieto Hernández, Mythology: Oxford Bibliographies Online Research Guide (Oxford University Press, 2010), p. 30.