before religion a history of a modern concept

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Before Religion

Author : Brent Nongbri
ISBN : 030015416X
Genre : History
File Size : 55. 27 MB
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A fascinating exploration of religion as an invention of the modern world

The Western Construction Of Religion

Author : Daniel Dubuisson
ISBN : 0801873207
Genre : Religion
File Size : 75. 81 MB
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Anthropologist and historian of religion Daniel Dubuisson contests Mircea Eliade's theory of the existence of a universal Homo Religiosus and argues that "religion" as a discrete concept is a Western construct, an invention of nineteenth-century scholars who created it as a field of scientific study. The Western Construction of Religion not only provides a critical assessment of the whole history of "religion" as it is understood in the West but also offers better ways of studying this central part of human experience.

The Invention Of Religion In Japan

Author : Jason Ananda Josephson
ISBN : 9780226412351
Genre : Religion
File Size : 90. 13 MB
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Throughout its long history, Japan had no concept of what we call “religion.” There was no corresponding Japanese word, nor anything close to its meaning. But when American warships appeared off the coast of Japan in 1853 and forced the Japanese government to sign treaties demanding, among other things, freedom of religion, the country had to contend with this Western idea. In this book, Jason Ananda Josephson reveals how Japanese officials invented religion in Japan and traces the sweeping intellectual, legal, and cultural changes that followed. More than a tale of oppression or hegemony, Josephson’s account demonstrates that the process of articulating religion offered the Japanese state a valuable opportunity. In addition to carving out space for belief in Christianity and certain forms of Buddhism, Japanese officials excluded Shinto from the category. Instead, they enshrined it as a national ideology while relegating the popular practices of indigenous shamans and female mediums to the category of “superstitions”—and thus beyond the sphere of tolerance. Josephson argues that the invention of religion in Japan was a politically charged, boundary-drawing exercise that not only extensively reclassified the inherited materials of Buddhism, Confucianism, and Shinto to lasting effect, but also reshaped, in subtle but significant ways, our own formulation of the concept of religion today. This ambitious and wide-ranging book contributes an important perspective to broader debates on the nature of religion, the secular, science, and superstition.

The Cambridge Companion To Religious Studies

Author : Robert A. Orsi
ISBN : 9780521883917
Genre : Religion
File Size : 89. 45 MB
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Informative and provocative, this book introduces readers to debates in the contemporary study of religion and suggests future research possibilities.

The Sacred Is The Profane

Author : William Edward Arnal
ISBN : 9780199757114
Genre : Religion
File Size : 33. 52 MB
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The Sacred is the Profane collects nine essays by William Arnal and Russell McCutcheon that advance current scholarly debates on secularism-debates. The essays return, again and again, to the question of what "religion"—word and concept—accomplishes, now, for those who employ it, whether at the popular, political, or scholarly level. The focus here is on the efficacy, costs, and the tactical work carried out by dividing the world between religious and political, church and state, sacred and profane.

More Than Belief

Author : Manuel A. Vásquez
ISBN : 9780195188530
Genre : Social Science
File Size : 34. 32 MB
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Over the past several decades, postmodernist and postcolonial challenges to traditional theories and methods have revolutionized the social sciences. The discipline of religious studies, however, has been relatively slow to confront these developments, continuing to rely heavily on textual methods and a framework that privileges belief over practice, doctrine over performance, text over context, and inner emotion over public ritual. Recently, however, developments in social theory have begun to transform the study of religion. In this book, Manuel Vasquez maps out the dynamics of this paradigm shift, exploring systematically the epistemological and methodological challenges contemporary social theory poses for traditional approaches to religious studies. Offering a panoramic view of key debates on identity, culture, and society across the social sciences, he assesses the impact of these debates on the study of religion, offering specific examples of how they are shaping the study of particular religious traditions. He concludes by proposing a robust yet flexible materialist approach to the study of religion that will be capable of addressing the increasing complexity of religious life.

Imperial Encounters

Author : Peter van der Veer
ISBN : 069107478X
Genre : History
File Size : 52. 49 MB
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Picking up on Edward Said's claim that the historical experience of empire is common to both the colonizer and the colonized, Peter van der Veer takes the case of religion to examine the mutual impact of Britain's colonization of India on Indian and British culture. He shows that national culture in both India and Britain developed in relation to their shared colonial experience and that notions of religion and secularity were crucial in imagining the modern nation in both countries. In the process, van der Veer chronicles how these notions developed in the second half of the nineteenth century in relation to gender, race, language, spirituality, and science. Avoiding the pitfalls of both world systems theory and national historiography, this book problematizes oppositions between modern and traditional, secular and religious, progressive and reactionary. It shows that what often are assumed to be opposites are, in fact, profoundly entangled. In doing so, it upsets the convenient fiction that India is the land of eternal religion, existing outside of history, while Britain is the epitome of modern secularity and an agent of history. Van der Veer also accounts for the continuing role of religion in British culture and the strong part religion has played in the development of Indian civil society. This masterly work of scholarship brings into view the effects of the very close encounter between India and Britain--an intimate encounter that defined the character of both nations.

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