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“Yes, ... but ...”: The Neo-Perennialists

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image of Method & Theory in the Study of Religion

This essay argues that despite their opposition to perennialism, a number of recent scholars inadvertently repeat some of the problematic gestures of perennialism. These scholars are attempting to push the field forward after poststructuralist critiques of religious studies, particularly regarding the varieties of essentialism that have plagued the field. However, their account of “religion” ends up looking, at least in some respects, little different from the pre-critical, essentialist, and ahistorical accounts of religion that were regnant prior to the wave of poststructuralist critiques of religious studies. To some extent we appear to be back to where we started.

Affiliations: 1: Associate Professor of Religious Studies ; 2: St. Thomas Aquinas College


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1. Blum Jason N. 2015 Zen and the Unspeakable God: Comparative Interpretations of Mystical Experience University Park, Penn. The Pennsylvania State University Press
2. Bush Stephen 2014 Visions of Religion: Experience, Meaning, and Power Oxford Oxford University Press [Crossref]
3. Martin Craig 2016"“Experience”" The Oxford Handbook of the Study of Religion Stausberg Michael, Engler Steven Oxford Oxford University Press
4. Murphy Tim 2010 The Politics of Spirit: Phenomenology, Genealogy, Religion Albany, New York State University of New York Press
5. Otto Rudolph 1958 The Idea of the Holy: An Inquiry into the Non-rational Factor in the Idea of the Divine and Its Relation to the Rational Harvey John W. Oxford Oxford University Press
6. Proudfoot Wayne 1985 Religious Experience Berkeley, Calif. University of California Press
7. Schilbrack Kevin 2014 Philosophy and the Study of Religions: A Manifesto Chichester, West Sussex Wiley Blackwell
8. Schleiermacher Friedrich 1996 On Religion: Speeches to Its Cultured Despisers Crouter Richard Cambridge Cambridge University Press [Crossref]
9. Vivekananda 1993 Living at the Source: Yoga Teachings of Vivekananda Myren Ann, Madison Dorothy Boston, Mass. Shambhala Publications

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