Hugh Nicholson

in Comparative Theology and the Problem of Religious Rivalry

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780199772865
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199897315 | DOI:

Series: AAR Reflection and Theory in the Study of Religion Series


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The concluding chapter begins by reiterating the purpose of the foregoing comparison of Eckhart and Śhaṅkara: namely, to dismantle the orientalist dichotomy between world-affirmation and world-denial by challenging the standard interpretation of the allegedly paradigmatic example of Eastern quietism and illusionism, Śhaṅkara. The chapter concludes with some reflections on the nature of the comparative process. It distinguishes two modes of comparison which ideally stand in a complementary relation: the first is critical and “scientific, the second constructive and creative. Even the most rigorous, historically descriptive comparisons have a constructive dimension that reflects the scholar's interests. At the same time, a concern with accurate representation is necessary to prevent the properly constructive activity of comparison from degenerating into an exercise in cultural projection.

Keywords: Eckhart; Śhaṅkara; quietism; illusionism; critical comparison; constructive comparison

Chapter.  2846 words. 

Subjects: East Asian Religions

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