Beyond Phenomenology: Rethinking the Study of Religion

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Cassell, 1999 - Philosophy - 311 pages
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This book argues that understandings and explanations of religion are always historically contingent. Grounded in the work of Bakhtin and Ricouer, it positions the academic study of religion within contemporary debates in the social sciences and humanities concerning modernity and postmodernity, and, in particular, contested issues regarding truth and knowledge. It challenges the view that religions are privileged, epistemic objects, argues for the importance of meta-theory, and presents an argument for the dialogical nature of inquiry. The study of religion should begin with language and culture. This shift in emphasis to the philosophy of the sign in hermeneutics and away from the philosophy of consciousness in phenomenology has far-reaching implications. Gavin Flood argues for a new ethic of practice which is sensitive to power relations in any epistemology, and in so doing, opens the door to feminist and postcolonial critique, as well as providing a methodology which allows for the interface between religious studies, theology and the social sciences. Book jacket.

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Contents

The other tiger
13
The idea of religion
42
Reductionism and research
65
The limits of phenomenology
91
Narrative theory
117
Dialogue and the situated observer
143
Text language and truth
169
The ethics of practice
194
Copyright

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About the author (1999)

Gavin Flood is Academic Director of the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies and the author of An Introduction to Hinduism (CUP 2004).

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