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Chapter Summary

Two basic assumptions are recurring motifs in discussions concerning the role of religion in Europe: (1) Europe is Christian; and (2) in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries Europe has witnessed a remarkable secularization. This is the introductory chapter of the book, which argues that the construction of a monolithic Christian occident has been a major obstacle in understanding of European cultural history and of the place of esotericism within it. After a brief assessment of this master narrative, the author introduces a newly emerging concept of European history of religion that builds on a two-fold pluralism. One aim of the book is to critically engage strategies of singularization and to formulate an alternative model of interpretation that is based on pluralism, acknowledging the fact that the other is continuously produced by the Own and that it thus is part of a shared field of discourse.

Keywords: Christian occident; European cultural history; singularization; two-fold pluralism



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