Book: Contemporary Views on Comparative Religion
Chapter: 5. Taking Comparativism Two Levels Further and One Step Backwards
Time-honoured tradition within the study of religion has taken the comparative endeavour quite seriously, but it has grossly ignored, verging on neglect, to raise questions pertaining to the relationship between similarities in terms of content, function, and socio-cultural segmentation, and cultural evolution. This neglect has been detrimental to the discipline, since key questions located at the macro-level of analysis have not been posed. In this paper we espouse the view that our field cannot do without such questions if we really want to take the comparative endeavour seriously from a historical point of view. We advocate a type of study of religion that strives to pay heed to such questions, while simultaneously pursuing comparativism at the micro-level as well as at the typological level of analysis.