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Contemporary Views on Comparative Religion

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Comparative Religion is deeply rooted in historical-philological studies, but since the inception of the discipline in the late 19th century, a continual development has taken place. At this point, the discipline has moved into many different areas of the social, humanistic, psychological and biological sciences, and debates on theory and method are as intense as ever. As scholars of religion get a grip on some aspects of the phenomenon in question, new problems arise, and new challenges must be met. At the same time, however, the virtues of the past should not be forgotten, and a double orientation, back and forth, becomes necessary. Rather than pursuing a systematic discussion of how to go about such problems, this volume celebrates the diversity and multi-methodological approaches in comparative religion by including empirical, as well as theoretical, chapters. The authors, among whom are many of the world's leading scholars, have been asked to contribute essays on the current status of comparative religion, and thanks to their efforts the reader is offered a pathway into a row of exciting, but quite diverse, examples of the discipline, from the well-known to the most recent academic frontiers.

Published: Feb 1, 2016

Book Contributors

Section Chapter Authors
In Honour of Tim Jensen Peter Antes, Armin Geertz, Mikael Rothstein
The Comparative Study of Religion
1. The Magic and Drudgery in J.Z. Smith's Theory of Comparison Ivan Strenski
2. Revisiting Comparative Religion in the Light of Contemporary Criticism Morny Joy
3. Comparative and Historical Studies of Religions: The Return of Science Luther Martin
4. The Historical and Comparative Study of Religions: A Rhetorical Approach Jørgen Sørensen
5. Taking Comparativism Two Levels Further and One Step Backwards Anders Petersen, Jesper Sørensen
6. A Method Without Explanatory Theory: Ugo Bianchi’s Historical-Comparative Methodology after Thirty Years Giulia Gasparro
7. Myth, Space, and the History of Religions: Reflections on the Comparative Study Of Ancient Wilderness Mythologies from Mesopotamia, the Hebrew Bible, and Early Christianity Laura Feldt
Conceptions of Religion and 'The Religious'
8. History of Religions Without an Object?: Comparing Theoretical Objects in the History of Religions and in Anthropology Jeppe Jensen
9. Towards a Secular Theory of Religious Experience Olav Hammar
10. Conceptions of Religion in the Cognitive Science of Religion Armin Geertz
11. Phenomenology of Religion Revisited Peter Antes
12. Fanfare for the Common e.g.: On the Strategic Use of the Mundane Russell T. McCutcheon
13. Theories as Borders: Sites of Entry and Exit in Comparative Religion Veikko Anttonen
Comparative Religion and the University
14. Claims for a Plurality of Knowledges in the Comparative Study of Religions Donald Wiebe
15. Why the Concept of “World Religion” Has Survived in Japan: On the Japanese Reception of Max Weber’s Comparative Religion Satoko Fujiwara
16. The Study and Making of Christian Religion in Danish Academic Theology Jens-André Herbener
17. O Felix Culpa! On Teaching Religion Around Theologians Gustavo Benavides
18. Religious Studies in Brazil: An Area (Still) under Construction Silas Guerriero
Comparative Religion, Education and Schooling
19. Normative Rationality and the Future Prospects of Religion Education: The Perspective of Scientific Realism Matti Kamppinen
20. “RS-Based RE”: Tim Jensen’s Straightforward Contribution to the Development of Didactics of the Academic Study of Religions Wanda Alberts
21. Tracing the “Non-Denominational”: Japan and the UK Brian Bocking
22. Teaching the Secular Moral Code in French State Schools: The Debate Between Providing an Upbringing and Providing an Education From the French Revolution to Our Time Valentine Zuber
Religion, Society, State, Law and Rights
23. Privileging Communication: Evidentiary Admissible Statements and Comparison in the Study of Religion Abrahim Khan
24. Whose Rights? The Danish Debate on Ritual Infant Male Circumcision as a Human Rights Issue Mikael Aktor
25. Current Perspectives on the Notion of Toleration in the Roman World María del Mar Marcos Sánchez
26. Pluralism and Plurality in the Study of Religions Christoph Bochinger
27. Utopia and Heterotopia in Post-Apartheid South African Muslim Discourse Abdulkader Tayob
Empirical Studies and Research Perspectives
28. What Is a “God” Actually?: Some Comparative Reflections Einar Thomassen
29. What Became of Superhuman Beings?: Companions and Field Guides in the Study of Religion Ingvild Gilhus
30. The Alimentary Construction of Social and Supernatural Identities: Religious Commensality Codes of the Penan with a Comparative Twist Mikael Rothstein
31. Salvific Space and Religious Pluralism: Did Hindu Pilgrimage Develop from the Vedic Tradition? Knut Jacobsen
32. Sounds Religious Rosalind Hackett
33. The Study of Religion in Russia: The Foundation of the Museum of the History of Religion Marianna Shakhnovich
34. Beyond Comparative Religion: Theology of Religions and Ethical Mysticism Jan Hjärpe
35. Raffaele Pettazzoni and Károly Marót: Companions-in-Arms in the Field of the History of Religions Giovanni Casadio
Tim Jensen's Bibliography Peter Antes
End Matter
Index Peter Antes

Reviews[s] how the academic, non-confessional study of religion is fertilized by a profound scholarly diversity, and that this multiplicity of approaches should be seen as a virtue rather than a problem....the breadth of the material in the volume is truly noteworthy... . Anthropology Review Database, May 8 2016