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Teaching Religion and Violence$
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Brian K. Pennington

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780195372427

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195372427.001.0001

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Understanding the Nature of Our Offense

Understanding the Nature of Our Offense

A Dialogue on the Twenty-First-Century Study of Religion for Use in the Classroom

Chapter:
(p.320) Chapter 13 Understanding the Nature of Our Offense
Source:
Teaching Religion and Violence
Author(s):

Brian K. Pennington

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195372427.003.0013

In this dialogue between two scholars caught up in a wave of late twentieth-century attacks on the academic study of religion by offended religious communities, the authors lay out their respective positions on the nature and genesis of these attacks. Kripal argues that such historically recent enterprises as comparative religion promise a certain gnosis, or secret knowledge, and thereby represent transgression against received authority by their very nature. Patton maintains that the scandal of religious studies derives from the dynamics of power and positionality of both scholar and believer. They concur on the need for the protection of plural viewpoints through the work of such organizations as Scholars at Risk in any politically sustainable, global future. Each section of the essay includes discussion questions to be used in classroom contexts.

Keywords:   academic study of religion, comparative religion, gnosis, scandal, Scholars at Risk, transgression

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