Journal Article

Reflections on Tradition and Inquiry in the Study of Religions

Gavin Flood

in Journal of the American Academy of Religion

Published on behalf of American Academy of Religion

Volume 74, issue 1, pages 47-58
Published in print March 2006 | ISSN: 0002-7189
Published online January 2006 | e-ISSN: 1477-4585 | DOI:
Reflections on Tradition and Inquiry in the Study of Religions

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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.

Journal Article.  4452 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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