Religious Studies | Interpretations of Religion
R662 | 3998 | Campany

Is it possible to compare one religion to another?  Is it legitimate
to do so across deep cultural and linguistic differences? How
was “comparative religion” carried out in the past -- on what
assumptions, and to what ends?  What has changed? Does comparison
yield a distinctive kind of knowledge of religions?  Does comparison
remain a viable enterprise as the twentieth century draws to a close,
or is it best viewed as a now-defunct moment in the modern
development of humanistic studies?  This seminar provides some
grounding in the history of the comparative study of religion, and
examines the fundamental intellectual and methodological issues
inherent in such study.  Intensive reading, some writing projects,
and in-class presentations are required.  Format is participatory.
This is the Track II doctoral seminar.  Texts: Readings from the
history of cross-cultural comparison (both primary and secondary
work); anthropological, sociological, and phenomenological theory
(both old and recent); and recent works in which comparative theory
is instructively applied.