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The Mennaisian “Catholic Science of Religion”: Epistemology and History in Early Nineteenth-Century French Study

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image of Method & Theory in the Study of Religion

This article examines the “science of religion” constructed by the Catholic Traditionalist Félicité de Lamennais (1782-1854) and his followers associated with the journal Mémorial Catholique (1824-1830) as an aspect of the career of the concept of religion in France in the early nineteenth century. It rests on the dual convictions that “religion” is an epistemological object that possesses a history and that the early nineteenth century occupies a transitional place in the shift from biblically-based to critical-historical approaches to thinking about religion. It will also yield some concluding reflections on the post-colonialist turn in recent historiography of religion.

Affiliations: 1: Philosophy & Religious Studies Department, Mount Saint Vincent University;, Email:


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