The Invention of World Religions

Author: Tomoko Masuzawa
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 0226922626
Format: PDF, Kindle
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The idea of "world religions" expresses a vague commitment to multiculturalism. Not merely a descriptive concept, "world religions" is actually a particular ethos, a pluralist ideology, a logic of classification, and a form of knowledge that has shaped the study of religion and infiltrated ordinary language. In this ambitious study, Tomoko Masuzawa examines the emergence of "world religions" in modern European thought. Devoting particular attention to the relation between the comparative study of language and the nascent science of religion, she demonstrates how new classifications of language and race caused Buddhism and Islam to gain special significance, as these religions came to be seen in opposing terms-Aryan on one hand and Semitic on the other. Masuzawa also explores the complex relation of "world religions" to Protestant theology, from the hierarchical ordering of religions typical of the Christian supremacists of the nineteenth century to the aspirations of early twentieth-century theologian Ernst Troeltsch, who embraced the pluralist logic of "world religions" and by so doing sought to reclaim the universalist destiny of European modernity.

The Invention of World Religions

Author: Tomoko Masuzawa
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 0226509893
Format: PDF, Mobi
Download Now
The idea of "world religions" expresses a vague commitment to multiculturalism. Not merely a descriptive concept, "world religions" is actually a particular ethos, a pluralist ideology, a logic of classification, and a form of knowledge that has shaped the study of religion and infiltrated ordinary language. In this ambitious study, Tomoko Masuzawa examines the emergence of "world religions" in modern European thought. Devoting particular attention to the relation between the comparative study of language and the nascent science of religion, she demonstrates how new classifications of language and race caused Buddhism and Islam to gain special significance, as these religions came to be seen in opposing terms-Aryan on one hand and Semitic on the other. Masuzawa also explores the complex relation of "world religions" to Protestant theology, from the hierarchical ordering of religions typical of the Christian supremacists of the nineteenth century to the aspirations of early twentieth-century theologian Ernst Troeltsch, who embraced the pluralist logic of "world religions" and by so doing sought to reclaim the universalist destiny of European modernity.

The Invention of World Religions

Author: Tomoko Masuzawa
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 9780226509884
Format: PDF, Kindle
Download Now
The idea of "world religions" expresses a vague commitment to multiculturalism. Not merely a descriptive concept, "world religions" is actually a particular ethos, a pluralist ideology, a logic of classification, and a form of knowledge that has shaped the study of religion and infiltrated ordinary language. In this ambitious study, Tomoko Masuzawa examines the emergence of "world religions" in modern European thought. Devoting particular attention to the relation between the comparative study of language and the nascent science of religion, she demonstrates how new classifications of language and race caused Buddhism and Islam to gain special significance, as these religions came to be seen in opposing terms-Aryan on one hand and Semitic on the other. Masuzawa also explores the complex relation of "world religions" to Protestant theology, from the hierarchical ordering of religions typical of the Christian supremacists of the nineteenth century to the aspirations of early twentieth-century theologian Ernst Troeltsch, who embraced the pluralist logic of "world religions" and by so doing sought to reclaim the universalist destiny of European modernity.

In Search of Dreamtime

Author: Tomoko Masuzawa
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 9780226509853
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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In this pioneering work of discourse analysis, Tomoko Masuzawa observes that the modern study of religion is peculiarly ambivalent toward the question of origin. Today's historians of religion maintain that they have abandoned speculative quests for the origin of religion; at the same time, they allege that concepts of absolute beginnings are fundamental to religion itself. By renouncing the desire for origins that they claim religious peoples embrace, historians can vicariously participate in the forbidden quest—so it seems—without forfeiting the authority accruing from their objectivist position. This ambivalence of contemporary scholars echoes their ambivalence toward the ancestral "giants" of the discipline: Durkheim, Müller, and Freud. Masuzawa shows that the speculations of these three men on the origins of religion render the very notion of time and history problematic and contain powerful instruments for dislodging the position of "Western man" as the keeper of knowledge. Her critical rereading of these forefathers is framed by a compelling discussion of the postmodernist subversion of absolute origins in the works of Walter Benjamin and Rosalind Krauss and a comparison of Mircea Eliade and Nancy Munn's accounts of the Australian aboriginal "dreamtime." Engaging a number of critical issues within the burgeoning field of cultural studies, Masuzawa's book will have far-reaching implications not only for religious studies but throughout the human sciences.

Manufacturing Religion

Author: Russell T. McCutcheon
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780195355680
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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In this new book, author Russell McCutcheon offers a powerful critique of traditional scholarship on religion, focusing on multiple interrelated targets. Most prominent among these are the History of Religions as a discipline; Mircea Eliade, one of the founders of the modern discipline; recent scholarship on Eliade's life and politics; contemporary textbooks on world religions; and the oft-repeated bromide that "religion" is a sui generis phenomenon. McCutcheon skillfully analyzes the ideological basis for and service of the sui generis argument, demonstrating that it has been used to constitute the field's object of study in a form that is ahistoric, apolitical, fetishized, and sacrosanct. As such, he charges, it has helped to create departments, jobs, and publication outlets for those who are comfortable with such a suspect construction, while establishing a disciplinary ethos of astounding theoretical naivete and a body of scholarship to match. Surveying the textbooks available for introductory courses in comparative religion, the author finds that they uniformly adopt the sui generis line and all that comes with it. As a result, he argues, they are not just uncritical (which helps keep them popular among the audiences for which they are intended, but badly disserve), but actively inhibit the emergence of critical perspectives and capacities. And on the geo-political scale, he contends, the study of religion as an ahistorical category participates in a larger system of political domination and economic and cultural imperialism.

The Ideology of Religious Studies

Author: Timothy Fitzgerald
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780195347159
Format: PDF, Mobi
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In recent years there has been an intensifying debate within the religious studies community about the validity of religion as an analytical category. In this book Fitzgerald sides with those who argue that the concept of religion itself should be abandoned. On the basis of his own research in India and Japan, and through a detailed analysis of the use of religion in a wide range of scholarly texts, the author maintains that the comparative study of religion is really a form of liberal ecumenical theology. By pretending to be a science, religion significantly distorts socio-cultural analysis. He suggest, however, that religious studies can be re-represented in a way which opens up new and productive theoretical connections with anthropology and cultural and literary studies.

Gods and Demons Priests and Scholars

Author: Bruce Lincoln
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 0226035166
Format: PDF
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Bruce Lincoln is one of the most prominent advocates within religious studies for an uncompromisingly critical approach to the phenomenon of religion—historians of religions, he believes, should resist the preferred narratives and self-understanding of religions themselves, especially when their stories are endowed with sacred origins and authority. In Gods and Demons, Priests and Scholars, Lincoln assembles a collection of essays that both illustrates and reveals the benefits of his methodology, making a case for a critical religious studies that starts with skepticism but is neither cynical nor crude. The book begins with Lincoln’s “Theses on Method” and ends with “The (Un)discipline of Religious Studies,” in which he unsparingly considers the failings of uncritical and nonhistorical approaches to the study of religions. In between, Lincoln presents new examinations of problems in ancient religions and relates these cases to larger comparative themes. While bringing to light important features of the formation of pantheons and the constructions of demons, chaos, and the dead, Lincoln demonstrates that historians of religions should take religious things—inspired scriptures, sacred centers, salvific rites, communities graced by divine favor—as the theories of interested humans that shape perception, community, and experiences. As he shows, it is for their terrestrial influence, and not their sacred origins, that religious phenomena merit consideration by the historian. Tackling many questions central to religious study, Gods and Demons, Priests and Scholars will be a touchstone for the history of religions in the twenty-first century.

Global Civil Society 2006 7

Author: Helmut K Anheier
Publisher: SAGE
ISBN: 1847877818
Format: PDF
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'Even though current public interest and engagement in issues of global violence are the results of terribly tragic and disturbing events, it is good that these matters are receiving widespread attention. I argue for a wider use of our voice in the working of global civil society - to be distinguished from military initiatives and strategic activities of governments. The Global Civil Society Yearbook can make a substantial contribution to the expression of public voice without border' - Amartya Sen Suicide bombings, collateral damage, kidnappings and air strikes pepper the lexicon of twenty-first century politics. Global Civil Society 2006/7 explores the complex relationship between violence, civil society and legitimacy in a unique dialogue that crosses political, cultural and religious boundaries. Is the use of violence by non-state actors ever justified? How is violence transmitted from the private to the public sphere? Why is terror and 'the war on terror' catalysing rather than suppressing violence? Do Western and Islamic traditions of thought offer any solutions? This edition of the Yearbook also includes new research on economic and social rights, the politics of water, and football. Chapters include: - Not Even a Tree: Can Violence be Justified in a Global Era? Mary Kaldor and Heba Raouf Ezzat - Bringing Violence 'Back Home' Jenny Pearce - Pipe dream or Panacea? Global Civil Society and Economic and Social Rights Marlies Glasius - War and Peace: the Role of Global Civil Society Mary Kaldor, Denisa Kostovicova, and Yahia Said - Water: a Global Contestation Willemijn Dicke, Patrick Bond, Fadia Daibes-Murad, Sanjeev Khagram, Alessandro Palmieri, Carlos Vainer, Zoë Wilson and Patricia Wouters - The Church, the Mosque and Global Civil Society Mark Juergensmeyer - The Odd Couple: Football and Global Civil Society David Goldblatt

Genealogies of Religion

Author: Talal Asad
Publisher: JHU Press
ISBN: 0801895936
Format: PDF, Mobi
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In Geneologies of Religion, Talal Asad explores how religion as a historical category emerged in the West and has come to be applied as a universal concept. The idea that religion has undergone a radical change since the Christian Reformation—from totalitarian and socially repressive to private and relatively benign—is a familiar part of the story of secularization. It is often invokved to explain and justify the liberal politics and world view of modernity. And it leads to the view that "politicized religions" threaten both reason and liberty. Asad's essays explore and question all these assumptions. He argues that "religion" is a construction of European modernity, a construction that authorizes—for Westerners and non-Westerners alike—particular forms of "history making." -- James R. Wood

Curators of the Buddha

Author: Donald S. Lopez
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 9780226493091
Format: PDF, ePub
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A critical history of the study of Buddhism in the West, incorporating insights of colonial and post-colonial cultural studies. Social, political and cultural conditions that have shaped the course of Buddhist studies are discussed.