Journal Article

Religion in General, not in Particular: A Kantian Meditation

Terry F. Godlove

in Journal of the American Academy of Religion

Published on behalf of American Academy of Religion

Volume 78, issue 4, pages 1025-1047
Published in print December 2010 | ISSN: 0002-7189
Published online December 2010 | e-ISSN: 1477-4585 | DOI:
Religion in General, not in Particular: A Kantian Meditation

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This paper offers a Kantian diagnosis of the tension between the apparent resurgence of religion world-wide and the widespread scholarly suspicion of the general term “religion.” It places the tension within an account of concepts that makes unavoidable a drive toward both universality and specificity and within an account of reason which elevates the search for a unifying narrative into a methodological—but to no more than a methodological—imperative. When placed next to political, institutional, economic, or other such material analyses these Kantian considerations tend to recede from view. But, per impossibile, should all such material forces suddenly withdraw, the tension we see today would remain, driven then only by the underlying structure of discursivity itself—that is, by the nature of concepts and of reason.

Journal Article.  8806 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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