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“Trading Religions”: Foundational and Introductory Matters

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Chapter Summary

This chapter focuses on four elements or "commodities" of religious interchange in order to find new pathways into the world of religious dynamics. First the chapter investigates the "topology of religious space". A "topology" of religious spaces and places encompasses a wide spectrum of both real and imagined geographies and cosmologies which have developed at sites of cross-cultural exchange between east and west. These religious spaces were often connected with trade routes. Secondly, the chapter concentrates on "religious symbol systems" which make a religion visible, different and identifiable. This also holds true for "religious knowledge", which is the third discussion in the chapter. As all of these three elements have an effect on religious-ethical living, the last section focuses attention on "religious-ethical ways of life". Individual expressions of spiritual life, ethical convictions and other forms of prescribed conduct are formed and transformed in dialogue with different religious and ethical traditions.

Keywords: cross-cultural exchange; religious knowledge; religious space; religious symbol systems; religious-ethical living; spiritual life



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