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Open Access Towards a “Redescription” of “Spirituality”: A Response

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Towards a “Redescription” of “Spirituality”: A Response

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In “The Spiritual Illusion” (2014), Jonathan R. Herman wishes to initiate a discussion of the feasibility of the category “spirituality” within the study of religions. This response addresses several methodological problems with his effort, and questions the feasibility of this ironic approach. My critique is five-folded: Firstly, Herman draws a crude picture of the relationship between theology and the study of religion. Secondly, he does not explain why his sample of authors constitutes a hegemony for the understanding of “spirituality” in the study of religions. Thirdly, he ignores those who have been influential for how the category is used today. Fourthly, religion is assumed to be a “rectified” category not worthy of discussion. Fifthly, it remains unclear where an “ironic” and “imaginative” comparison of spiritual\religion and penis\vagina will take us.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Archaeology, History, Cultural Studies and Religion, University of Bergen Post box 7805, 5020 Bergen Norway knut.melvar@ahkr.uib.no

10.1163/15700682-12341350
/content/journals/10.1163/15700682-12341350
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In “The Spiritual Illusion” (2014), Jonathan R. Herman wishes to initiate a discussion of the feasibility of the category “spirituality” within the study of religions. This response addresses several methodological problems with his effort, and questions the feasibility of this ironic approach. My critique is five-folded: Firstly, Herman draws a crude picture of the relationship between theology and the study of religion. Secondly, he does not explain why his sample of authors constitutes a hegemony for the understanding of “spirituality” in the study of religions. Thirdly, he ignores those who have been influential for how the category is used today. Fourthly, religion is assumed to be a “rectified” category not worthy of discussion. Fifthly, it remains unclear where an “ironic” and “imaginative” comparison of spiritual\religion and penis\vagina will take us.

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2015-10-29
2017-08-18

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