Journal of the American Academy of Religion

Journal of the American Academy of Religion
Volume 74, Number 1, March 2006
Special Issue: Articles and Essays on the Future of the Study of Religion in the Academy

CONTENTS

Articles

Responses and Rejoinders

    Ochs, Peter, 1950-
  • Dear Ellen Armour
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    Subject Headings:
    • Armour, Ellen T., 1959- Theology in modernity's wake.
    • Religion -- Study and teaching (Higher)
    • Theology -- Study and teaching (Higher)
    Cabezón, José Ignacio, 1956-
  • The Discipline and Its Other: The Dialectic of Alterity in the Study of Religion
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    Subject Headings:
    • Religion -- Study and teaching (Higher)
    Abstract:
      The academic study of religion emerges, in part at least, from an encounter with the religious Other. This essay traces out a history of this encounter, a history that is dialectical. In each historic moment, the simple dichotomy that was previously thought to ground a hard and facile distinction between self and other comes to be challenged. But in the wake of such challenges, new categories come to be posited, categories on the basis of which the Self can (once again) emerge not simply as different from, but also as superior to the Other. This process – this dialectic of alterity – is as operative today in the discipline of religious studies as it was in the discipline's antecedents. We consider some of the core concepts around which the identity of the discipline is constructed in the present moment: the categories that allow for the differentiation of the discipline from its Other(s), and for its emergence in a position of superiority vis a vis its Other(s). The essay concludes by identifying four recent developments that are challenging a notion of the discipline constructed in these terms.

Responses and Rejoinders

    Schweiker, William.
  • The Discipline(s) and Its (Their) Other(s): A Response to José Ignacio Cabezón
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    Subject Headings:
    • Cabezón, José Ignacio, 1956- Discipline and its other: the dialectic of alterity in the study of religion.
    • Religion -- Study and teaching (Higher)
    Cabezón, José Ignacio, 1956-
  • In Defense of Abstraction: A Reply to William Schweiker
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    Subject Headings:
    • Schweiker, William. Discipline(s) and its (their) other(s): a response to José Ignacio Cabezón.
    • Religion -- Study and teaching (Higher)
    Flood, Gavin D., 1954-
  • Reflections on Tradition and Inquiry in the Study of Religions
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    Subject Headings:
    • Religion -- Study and teaching (Higher)
    Abstract:
      In recent years questions about the coherence of Religious Studies have been raised, responses to which have important implications within both the politics of institutions and broader cultural politics. As specializations deepen, some fragmentation in the field of Religious Studies is inevitable and a welcome antidote to earlier universalising claims. But we need to overcome the inadequate choice of using either problematic general categories or a relativistic reversion to purely area-specific study which relegates the study of 'religions' to departments of anthropology, sociology, or other splintered fields, and excludes theologies of traditions from the secular academy. This paper argues for Religious Studies not only as the social scientific study of religion but as an arena that gives hospitality to traditions' self-inquiry within a framework of rational discourse.

Responses and Rejoinders

    Levene, Nancy.
  • Response to Gavin Flood, "Reflections on Tradition and Inquiry in the Study of Religion"
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    Subject Headings:
    • Flood, Gavin D., 1954- Reflections on tradition and inquiry in the study of religions.
    • Religion -- Study and teaching (Higher)
    Flood, Gavin D., 1954-
  • Reply to Nancy Levene
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    Subject Headings:
    • Levene, Nancy. Response to Gavin Flood, "Reflections on tradition and inquiry in the study of religion".
    • Religion -- Study and teaching (Higher)
    Griffiths, Paul J.
  • On the Future of the Study of Religion in the Academy
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    Subject Headings:
    • Religion -- Study and teaching (Higher)
    Abstract:
      I argue first that 'religion' is either a natural-kind sortal or an artifactual-kind sortal. Second, that whichever view is taken by practitioners of the academic study of religion, some normative understandings are implied. Third, that the constitutive desire of those who practice the academic study of religion—to do not-theology—therefore cannot be realized. And fourth, that the future of the academic study of religion is unlikely to be long or rosy.

Responses and Rejoinders

    Armour, Ellen T., 1959-
  • Response to Paul J. Griffiths
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    Subject Headings:
    • Griffiths, Paul J. On the future of the study of religion in the academy.
    • Religion -- Study and teaching (Higher)
    Levene, Nancy.
  • Sources of History: Myth and Image
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    Subject Headings:
    • Religion -- Study and teaching (Higher)
    • History -- Study and teaching (Higher)
    Abstract:
      In the contemporary human sciences in general, and the study of religion in particular, history is a discourse of immense power and reach. But its role is paradoxical, for although it is charged with dissolving the uniqueness or transcendence of any given point of view, its own supremacy is often taken for granted, even in the post-Foucauldian world where it is common to attack the objectivist aspirations of historicist discourse. What I call for is not simply a more self-conscious concept of history but an investigation of what one might call, following Wallace Stevens, "the substance of [its] region": the history and scope of history itself as one particular way of being in, and seeing, the world. This is decidedly not to concede that there is something that escapes history but rather to pay closer attention to the myth that there is something that does, and to the ways in which this myth—far from being a mistake—is crucial to conceiving of the borders of history even insofar as everything comes (as everything does) under its critical gaze.

Responses and Rejoinders

    Cabezón, José Ignacio, 1956-
  • The Limits of History: A Response to Nancy Levene
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    Subject Headings:
    • Levene, Nancy. Sources of history: myth and image.
    • Religion -- Study and teaching (Higher)
    • History -- Study and teaching (Higher)
    Levene, Nancy.
  • Reply to José Ignacio Cabezón
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    Subject Headings:
    • Cabezón, José Ignacio, 1956- Limits of history: a response to Nancy Levene.
    • Religion -- Study and teaching (Higher)
    • History -- Study and teaching (Higher)
    Moosa, Ebrahim.
  • Contrapuntal Readings in Muslim Thought: Translations and Transitions
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    Subject Headings:
    • Religion -- Study and teaching (Higher)
    • Islam -- Study and teaching (Higher)
    Abstract:
      A diverse and cosmopolitan world, in the best sense of the terms, requires the production of knowledge that will sustain such complexity. Central to such a goal is to ask how we relate to formative documents and exemplars located in a distant past. Historians and interpreters have identified the reading of texts as one of the major challenges. The demands of continuity within traditions and commitment to canons while also being open to creativity are another set of challenges. In fact, the past becomes contested precisely because the present is a contested zone. In order to resist the homogenization of both the past and the present, we require sensitive tools and theoretical applications. If not, we tend to colonize the past and announce the death of certain forms of knowledge (epistemicide) while privileging and preserving other kinds of knowledge as a result of the conjunctions of knowledge and power. Engaging in contrapuntal readings and acknowledging the processes of transculturation could be one way to minimize such deleterious effects.

Responses and Rejoinders

Responses and Rejoinders

    Segal, Robert Alan.
  • Response to Peter Ochs' "Comparative Religious Traditions"
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    Subject Headings:
    • Ochs, Peter, 1950- Comparative religious traditions.
    • Religion -- Study and teaching (Higher)
    Abstract:
      Peter Ochs proposes a clever compromise to reconcile the conventional opposition of theology to comparison altogether with the conventional commitment of religious studies to comparison unbounded. He proposes that comparison be undertaken, but only between religions that have either sought to compare themselves with each other or may yet do so. As commendable as Ochs' effort is, I think that comparison even between religions that are unaware of each other is wholly proper. The theological objections that Ochs strives to meet are, for me, unwarranted.
    Schweiker, William.
  • On the Future of Religious Ethics: Keeping Religious Ethics, Religious and Ethical
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    Subject Headings:
    • Religious ethics -- Study and teaching (Higher)
    Abstract:
      This essay proposes a method and aim for the future of religious ethics. Rather than surveying the usual debates about the field, the essay situates the various kinds of work in religious ethics both in the contemporary global context and with respect to the modern western conception of what defines a "discipline" and the aspiration to a system of the sciences. In response to the breakdown of the modern project, various claims about rationality and also moral inquiry have arisen. Isolating the insights and yet also problems in these alternative models of inquiry, the essay proposes, as a method for religious ethics, a multidimensional and reflexive hermeneutic that reflects on and with religious sources. Further, the essay advocates as the aim or purpose of religious ethics the humane reconstruction of traditions around their deepest convictions and reflexive interactions with others. Calling this enterprise a form of "religious humanism," the essay seeks to show not only the adequacy of such a conception of religious ethics but also its pertinence to critical, comparative, and constructive thinking.

Responses and Rejoinders

    Flood, Gavin D., 1954-
  • Response to William Schweiker
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    Subject Headings:
    • Schweiker, William. On the future of religious ethics: keeping religious ethics, religious and ethical.
    • Religious ethics -- Study and teaching (Higher)
    Segal, Robert Alan.
  • All Generalizations Are Bad: Postmodernism on Theories
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    Subject Headings:
    • Religion -- Study and teaching (Higher)
    • Postmodernism.
    Abstract:
      The ramifications of postmodernism for theology have been discussed voluminously. I want to consider the ramifications of postmodernism for the social scientific study of religion, which above all means for theories of religion. Those ramifications are wholly negative: postmodernism opposes theories, and does so because it opposes generalizations. Objections to generalizations and thereby to theories in the social sciences long antedate the rise of postmodernism, but earlier objections are on modernist grounds. Postmodernism is oblivious to these criticisms and instead assumes that criticism begins with postmodernism itself. Where at least some modernist criticisms are not easily answerable, all postmodern criticisms are easily answerable, for all of them rest on confusions about theorizing.

Responses and Rejoinders

    Segal, Robert Alan.
  • Reply to Moosa
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    Subject Headings:
    • Moosa, Ebrahim. Response to Robert Segal.
    • Religion -- Study and teaching (Higher)
    • Postmodernism.
    Abstract:
      Ebrahim Moosa offers several objections to my attack on postmodernism. I maintain that those objections presuppose a postmodern stance rather than present a defense of it. At heart, Moosa, as a consummate postmodernist, is interested in what a theory reveals about the theorist, whereas I, as a recalcitrant modernist, am interested in what a theory reveals about religion.
    Ward, Graham, 1955-
  • The Future of Religion
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    Subject Headings:
    • Religion -- Study and teaching (Higher)
    • Religion.
    Abstract:
      Because what is understood by religio changes with time and place, even in those places dominated by western European languages the use of the trem is bound to specific cultural politics. When examining the possible future of religion, then, place matters. In the West, I argue, modes of believing and the structure of sensibilities are morphing following the new visibility of religion in the public sphere. The transformation will have long-reaching effect upon both the study and the practice of religion.

Responses and Rejoinders

    Castelli, Elizabeth A. (Elizabeth Anne), 1958-
  • Divining the Future Places of Religion: A Partial Response to Graham Ward, "The Future of Religion"
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    Subject Headings:
    • Ward, Graham, 1955- Future of religion.
    • Religion -- Study and teaching (Higher)
    • Religion.
    Ward, Graham, 1955-
  • Reply to Elizabeth A. Castelli
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    Subject Headings:
    • Castelli, Elizabeth A. (Elizabeth Anne), 1958- Divining the future places of religion: a partial response to Graham Ward, "The future of religion".
    • Religion -- Study and teaching (Higher)
    • Religion.

Review Essay

Book Reviews

    Deutsch, Celia.
  • Ancient Judaism and Christian Origins: Diversity, Continuity, and Transformation (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Nickelsburg, George W. E., 1934- Ancient Judaism and Christian origins: diversity, continuity, and transformation.
    • Judaism -- History -- Talmudic period, 10-425.
    Brown, J. Todd.
  • Approaching the Land of Bliss: Religious Praxis in the Cult of Amitabha (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Payne, Richard Karl, ed. Approaching the land of bliss: religious praxis in the cult of Amitabha.
    • Tanaka, Kenneth K. (Kenneth Kazuo), 1935-, ed.
    • Amitabha (Buddhist deity) -- Cult.
    Perkins, Mary Anne.
  • Chosen Peoples: Sacred Sources of National Identity (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Smith, Anthony D. Chosen peoples: sacred sources of national identity.
    • Nationalism -- Religious aspects.
    Kenworthy, Scott M.
  • Doubly Chosen: Jewish Identity, the Soviet Intelligentsia, and the Russian Orthodox Church (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Kornblatt, Judith Deutsch. Doubly chosen: Jewish identity, the Soviet intelligentsia, and the Russian Orthodox Church.
    • Jewish Christians -- Soviet Union -- History.
    Schmidt, Leigh Eric.
  • The Invention of World Religions: Or, How European Universalism Was Preserved in the Language of Pluralism (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Masuzawa, Tomoko. Invention of world religions, or, How European universalism was preserved in the language of pluralism.
    • Religions.
    Harithi, Huwayda.
  • Islamic Architecture: Form, Function, and Meaning (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Hillenbrand, Robert. Islamic architecture: form, function, and meaning.
    • Architecture, Islamic.
    Alles, Gregory D.
  • Life after Death: A History of the Afterlife in the Religions of the West (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Segal, Alan F., 1945- Life after death: a history of the afterlife in the religions of the West.
    • Future life.
    Marlett, Jeffrey D.
  • The Lion and the Lamb: Evangelicals and Catholics in America (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Shea, William M., 1935- Lion and the lamb: evangelicals and Catholics in America.
    • Catholic Church -- Relations -- Evangelicalism.
    Skerrett, Kathleen Roberts.
  • Loss: The Politics of Mourning (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Eng, David L., 1967-, ed. Loss: the politics of mourning.
    • Kazanjian, David, 1967-, ed.
    • Social history -- 20th century.
    Langham, Thomas C., 1950-
  • New Religious Movements in the Twenty-First Century: Legal, Political, and Social Challenges in Global Perspective (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Lucas, Phillip Charles, ed. New religious movements in the twenty-first century: legal, political, and social challenges in global perspective.
    • Robbins, Thomas, 1943-, ed.
    • Cults.
    Arnold, Daniel Anderson, 1965-
  • Personal Identity and Buddhist Philosophy: Empty Persons (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Siderits, Mark, 1946- Personal identity and Buddhist philosophy: empty persons.
    • Self (Philosophy)
    Poland, Lynn M., 1949-
  • Place and Space in Modern Fiction (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Kort, Wesley A. Place and space in modern fiction.
    • English fiction -- 20th century -- History and criticism.
    McBride, James.
  • Religion and the Death Penalty: A Call for Reckoning (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Owens, Erik C., ed. Religion and the death penalty: a call for reckoning.
    • Carlson, John D. (John David), ed.
    • Elshtain, Eric P., ed.
    • Capital punishment -- Religious aspects -- Congresses.
    Keyworth, George A.
  • Seeing through Zen: Encounter, Transformation, and Genealogy in Chinese Chan Buddhism (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • McRae, John R., 1947- Seeing through Zen: encounter, transformation, and genealogy in Chinese Chan Buddhism.
    • Zen Buddhism -- China -- History.
    Krondorfer, Björn.
  • The Sex Lives of Saints: An Erotics of Ancient Hagiography (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Burrus, Virginia. Sex lives of saints: an erotics of ancient hagiography.
    • Sex -- Religious aspects -- Christianity -- History of doctrines.
    Leaver, Robin A.
  • Singing the Lord's Song in a Strange Land: Hymnody in the History of North American Protestantism, and: Wonderful Words of Life: Hymns in American Protestant History and Theology, and: How Sweet the Sound: Music in the Spiritual Lives of Americans (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Blumhofer, Edith Waldvogel, ed. Singing the Lord's song in a strange land: hymnody in the history of North American Protestantism.
    • Noll, Mark A., 1946-, ed.
    • Mouw, Richard J., ed. Wonderful words of life: hymns in American protestant history and theology.
    • Noll, Mark A., 1946-, ed.
    • Stowe, David W. (David Ware) How sweet the sound: music in the spiritual lives of Americans.
    • Hymns -- North America -- History and criticism.
    • Evangelicalism -- United States -- History.
    Steinfels, Amina M.
  • Sufi Martyrs of Love: Chishti Sufism in South Asia and Beyond (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Ernst, Carl W., 1950- Sufi martyrs of love: Chishti Sufism in South Asia and beyond.
    • Lawrence, Bruce B.
    • Chishtiyah.
    Bush, L. Russ, 1944-
  • When the Great Abyss Opened: Classic and Contemporary Readings of Noah's Flood (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Pleins, J. David. When the great abyss opened: classic and contemporary readings of Noah's flood.
    • Noah (Biblical figure)



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