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Johns Hopkins University Press
Western Construction of Religion: Myths, Knowledge, and Ideology / Edition 1

Western Construction of Religion: Myths, Knowledge, and Ideology / Edition 1

by Daniel Dubuisson
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Product Details

ISBN-13: 2900801887566
Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
Publication date: 12/01/2007
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 260
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 1.25(h) x 9.00(d)

About the Author

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.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Religion, the West, and the History of Religions1
IThe West and Religion
1A Central Concept9
The Mirror of the West9
Singular Universes17
Religio and Religion22
Texts, Corpora, and Hypertext29
Cosmographical Issues36
2A Paradoxical Subject40
Religions or Religious Phenomena?40
History or Histories?49
3An Uncertain Anthropological Calling53
A Nebula of Definitions53
An Absence of Criteria63
Imprecise and Shifting Boundaries69
Arbitrary Typologies76
A Scattering of Monographs79
Arbitrary, Narcissistic Objectivization89
IIOrder and History
4Christianity and the West99
A Unique History99
Interiorization and Universalization106
Autonomy and Imperialism112
A General Topic116
A Major Paradigm129
Exemplary Theses140
IIIThe Genealogy of a Western Science
6The History of Religions in the Nineteenth Century147
Ubiquitous Prejudices147
Myths and Science150
A Science of Its Time155
7Three Twentieth-Century Debates162
The Sociological Explanation162
"Historians" and Phenomenologists167
The Invention of Homo religiosus177
IVFrom Religions to Cosmographic Formations
8The West, Religion, and Science189

What People are Saying About This

Robert A. Segal

"Nowadays it is axiomatic to dismiss concepts like 'religion' as mere constructions, and constructions employed for self-serving ends. Daniel Dubuisson's book, newly translated from the French, is not merely one more in this line. His is the richest, broadest dissection to date of at once the origin, the function, and the meaning of the term. Above all, he demonstrates the grip the term has held over scholars, even in their disputes with one another. If, after all the arguments amassed by Dubuisson, the term remains defensible, a 'dream team' defense will be needed. Dubuisson's work is written with a passion and an intensity that seem barely containable."

Dean A. Miller

"This is an important and provocative book, written with sharp, surgical prose, lucid argument and high spirit. Daniel Dubuisson's essential theoretical and critical enquiry constitutes a complete critical overview of the 'history of religion' as a concept, and, more ambitiously, a reconstruction of the very heart of our notion of 'religion' itself. Few people in this field have undertaken quite such a program of redefinition, and in my opinion no one involved in the scholarship of the history of religions can afford to ignore this book."

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