Wach, Radhakrishnan, and Relativism

Charles S. Preston

in Hermeneutics, Politics, and the History of Religions

Published in print February 2010 | ISBN: 9780195394337
Published online May 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199777358 | DOI:
Wach, Radhakrishnan, and Relativism

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This chapter concerns itself with the debate between Joachim Wach and Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan over the issue of relativism. It provides a critical assessment of the significance of this engagement for the late period of Wach’s work. The religious and philosophical reasons for Wach’s attempts to be both relativist and not relativist, and Wach’s critical assessment of Radhakrishnan, serve as material for launching a critique of the underlying religious and scholastic biases in Wach’s thought during his tenure at the University of Chicago. The chapter concludes with a foray into similar debates over relativism in the field of anthropology and based on that discussion proffers some tentative thoughts regarding how the study of religion might more profitably make use of questions regarding the methodological place of relativism.

Keywords: Joachim Wach; Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan; relativism; methodology; interreligious dialogue; history of religions; anthropology; Indian philosophy; Christian evangelism

Chapter.  10027 words. 

Subjects: Christian Theology

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