Western Construction of Religion Myths, Knowledge, and Ideology

ISBN-10: 0801887569

ISBN-13: 9780801887567

Edition: 2007

Authors: Daniel Dubuisson, William Sayers

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In this book, 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. Before that time, there was little attempt to step outside religious experience and objectify it. In fact, the difference between "secular" and "religious" as understood in the West is meaningless in many non-Western cultures. While Dubuisson still regards the study of beliefs and belief-systems as legitimate, he argues that the word "religion" is too fraught with ideology and too Western in its associated meanings to be useful. Instead, he proposes the term "cosmographic formation," which would speak to a more universal human response to the congeries of experience we call Being, the Sacred, or God. Challenging readers to examine notions of what religion is, this book is sure to generate disagreement and controversy. 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 constructing the study of this central part of human experience.
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Book details

List price: $32.00
Copyright year: 2007
Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
Publication date: 11/27/2007
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 260
Size: 6.00" wide x 9.00" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 0.880
Language: English

Daniel Dubuisson is director of research at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, CNRS, in Lille and author of many books in French and English, including Twentieth Century Mythologies and Impostures et pseudo-science: L'oeuvre de Mircea Eliade. William Sayers has translated Jacques Stiker's A History of Disability and Adam Rayski's The Choice of the Jews under Vichy: Between Submission and Resistance.

Introduction: Religion, the West, and the History of Religions
The West and Religion
A Central Concept The Mirror of the West Singular Universes Religioand Religion Texts, Corpora, and Hypertext Cosmographical Issues
A Paprdoxical Subject Religions or Religious Phenomena? History or Histories?
An Uncertain Anthropological Calling A Nebula of Definitions An Absence of Criteria Imprecise and Shifting Boundaries Arbitrary Typologies A Scattering of Monographs Arbitrary, Narcissistic Objectivization
Order and History
Christianity and the West A Unique History Interiorization and Universalization Autonomy and Imperialism
Continuities A General Topic A Major Paradigm Exemplary Theses
The Genealogy of a Western Science
The History of Religions in the Nineteenth Century Ubiquitous Prejudices Myths and Science A Science of Its Time
Three Twentieth-Century Debates The Sociological Explanation "Historians" and Phenomenologists The Invention of Homo religiosus
From Religions to Cosmographic Formations
The West, Religion, and Science
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