Journal Article

Exposure and Explanation: On the New Protectionism in the Study of Religion

Tyler Roberts

in Journal of the American Academy of Religion

Published on behalf of American Academy of Religion

Volume 72, issue 1, pages 143-172
Published in print March 2004 | ISSN: 0002-7189
Published online March 2004 | e-ISSN: 1477-4585 | DOI:
Exposure and Explanation: On the New Protectionism in the Study of Religion

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This essay argues that some of the crucial theoretical advances in the study of religion in recent years—important as they are—continue to trade on polemic and misguided views of theology that obscure and dehistoricize a complex and evolving relationship between theology and the study of religion. The essay makes this case by examining how some of the more interesting advances in the field come together in the work of Russell McCutcheon. It then seeks to illuminate points of intersection between theology and theory to argue that theology can function critically in the context of the study of religion. The purpose here is not to erase all distinctions between theology and the study of religion but, rather, to begin working toward a more satisfactory formulation of the limits of various modes of interpretation and explanation in the study of religion.

Theology is the very discourse that is most in need of the radically historicist, postmodern critique.

—Russell McCutcheon, Critics Not Caretakers:

Redescribing the Public Study of Religion

Theology must rediscover itself as a language that assists us in being mortal.

—Rowan Williams, “The Suspicion of Suspicion”

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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