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The Body (Under Review):On Manuel Vásquez’s More than Belief

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Abstract What sort of critique of religious studies will enjoin religious studies to think about its premises? This essay evaluates an important contemporary critique of the study of religion, Manuel Vásquez’s More than Belief. The author provides a summary of Vásquez’s argument, and then turns to an analysis of Vásquez’s evidence. In More than Belief, Vásquez tracks the development and effects of mind-body dualism on the study of religion. The differentiation between mind and body is a problem for analysts of religion, Vásquez explains, because religious ideas wrestle so directly with that differentiation, and because scholars seeking to explain religion have often imagined themselves to be countering religious supernaturalism with a materialist empiricism. This is, Vásquez explains, a reductive materialism. Vásquez thus offers an account of how matter came not to matter in the specific effort to explain religion, which Vásquez describes as the somatophobia of religious studies. Borrowing from Vásquez’s emphasis on embodiment and emplacement, the reviewer questions Vásquez’s readings of philosophical materials in his admirable effort to correct a disciplinary disposition for our hermeneutic betterment.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Religious Studies, Yale University P.O. Box 208287, New Haven, CT 06520-8287 USA kathryn.lofton@yale.edu

10.1163/15700682-12341242
/content/journals/10.1163/15700682-12341242
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/content/journals/10.1163/15700682-12341242
2012-01-01
2016-12-11

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