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Book: Thinking with J. Z. Smith

Chapter: 7. Blending Ontologies and Epistemologies: Mapping Deontic Grids - Methodological Considerations for the Comparative study of Religion

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.39928


Jeppe Sinding Jensen defends the use of the term “religion”—at least as it is a practical “epistemic placeholder”—and argues that there really is something “out there” for the study of religion to study, namely social constructions of many different kinds. Inviting Karl R. Popper and John R. Searle into his conversation with Jonathan Z. Smith, Jensen argues not only that the category of religion should be preserved in our scholarly work but also that there indeed is data for religion thus understood. And plenty of it. Referring to the distinction between maps and territories and to Smith’s declaration that “all we have is maps”, Jensen observes that to say that “need not lead to the conclusion that all our knowledge is similarly or totally unfettered. The very history of the intersubjective academic and scientific community demonstrates that”.

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