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The Future of Religious History in Habermas’s Critical Theory of Religion

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image of Method & Theory in the Study of Religion

In Discovering Religious History in the Modern AgeHans Kippenberg argues that the history of religions is the creative work-product of a cultural and political identity crisis, one in which the comparative history of religions became a means for some European scholars to uncouple from an increasingly halfhearted attachment to Christianity and re-experience their own history in a dynamic new form. A future for religion was thus found in the creation of innovative categories for the re-imagining of the past. For this reason Kippenberg rightly posits that the early scholars of religion are best read as “classical theorists of a modern age in which past religion still has a future” (xvi). We argue that the influential critical social theorist Jürgen Habermas, one of the most vocal proponents of the unfinished project of Enlightenment and the conceptual architect of postmetaphysical thinking, has much in common with these early scholars of religion.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Religion, University of Manitoba 331 Fletcher Argue, Winnipeg, Manitoba R3T 5V5 Canada ; 2: Department of Religion, University of Manitoba 331 Fletcher Argue, Winnipeg, Manitoba R3T 5V5 Canada


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