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Book: Contemporary Views on Comparative Religion

Chapter: 1. The Magic and Drudgery in J.Z. Smith's Theory of Comparison

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.28088


Jonathan Z. Smith has gained considerable notoriety for popularizing the phrase ‘in comparison a magic dwells.’ But, this assertion remains largely unanalyzed, despite it’s remarkable currency in discussions of comparison. I shall argue that Smith’s notion of comparison is largely undeveloped, leading to the corresponding undeveloped and unsophisticated conceptions of comparison in the study of religion.

Chapter Contributors

  • Ivan Strenski ( - istrenski) 'University of California Riverside'