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Talal Asad’s ‘Religion’ Trouble and a Way Out

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By this point, almost everyone is familiar with Talal Asad’s assault on the “religion” category. Despite his influence, Asad’s criticisms tend to oscillate between two mutually exclusive positions. I shall argue that Asad’s incoherence is instructive for the field as a whole. The study of religion would be better off constructing useful and revisable definitions of “religion” rather than abandoning the category all together.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Religious Studies, University of California, Riverside Riverside, CA 92521 USA, Email:


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