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Considering ComparisonA Method for Religious Studies$
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Oliver Freiberger

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780199965007

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199965007.001.0001

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The Comparative Method in the Study of Religion

The Comparative Method in the Study of Religion

(p.7) 1 The Comparative Method in the Study of Religion
Considering Comparison

Oliver Freiberger

Oxford University Press

This chapter breaks down the common phrase “comparative method in the study of religion” and seeks to clarify the scholarly contexts in which comparativists of religion operate. It argues that religious studies ought to be recognized as an academic discipline—and as one that is grounded in comparison. Speaking of disciplinarity helps to acknowledge the scholarly discourses and goals of other comparative disciplines and to engage in productive interdisciplinary conversations. The chapter also suggests three different ways in which comparison is used in religious studies and argues that it makes sense to speak of “the comparative method.” Finally, it proposes two primary goals of comparison in religious studies and argues that with its particular configuration of goals, comparative method, and disciplinarity, religious studies makes a unique contribution to scholarship.

Keywords:   disciplinarity, interdisciplinarity, boundary-work, comparative gaze, comparative method, second-order method, metalanguage, description, classification

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