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The Western Construction of Religion Myths, Knowledge, and Ideology

by Daniel Dubuisson

The Western Construction of Religion Myths, Knowledge, and Ideology Synopsis

In this book, anthropologist and historian of religion Daniel Dubuisson contests Mircea Eliade's theory of the existence of a universal Homo Religiosus and argues that religion as a discrete concept is a Western construct, an invention of nineteenth-century scholars who created it as a field of scientific study. Before that time, there was little attempt to step outside religious experience and objectify it. In fact, the difference between secular and religious as understood in the West is meaningless in many non-Western cultures. While Dubuisson still regards the study of beliefs and belief-systems as legitimate, he argues that the word religion is too fraught with ideology and too Western in its associated meanings to be useful. Instead, he proposes the term cosmographic formation, which would speak to a more universal human response to the congeries of experience we call Being, the Sacred, or God. Challenging readers to examine notions of what religion is, this book is sure to generate disagreement and controversy. The Western Construction of Religion not only provides a critical assessment of the whole history of religion as it is understood in the West but also offers better ways of constructing the study of this central part of human experience.

The Western Construction of Religion Myths, Knowledge, and Ideology Press Reviews

This book stands out among recent examinations of `religion' and is a valuable point of reference for related work in the field. -- Steven Engler * Religious Studies Review * In this important book, Dubuisson offers what could be described as a Feuerbachian critique of religious studies, including comparative, sociological, and especially anthropological accounts of the phenomenon taken to be 'religion.' * Choice * A very rich synthesis, this book brings together the various stages of work by a critical and theoretical researcher of anthropology. * Science Humaine *

Book Information

ISBN: 9780801887567
Publication date: 27th November 2007
Author: Daniel Dubuisson
Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
Format: Paperback / softback
Pagination: 260 pages
Categories: Philosophy of religion,

About Daniel Dubuisson

Daniel Dubuisson is director of research at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, CNRS, in Lille and author of many books in French and English, including Twentieth Century Mythologies and Impostures et pseudo-science: L'oeuvre de Mircea Eliade. William Sayers has translated Jacques Stiker's A History of Disability and Adam Rayski's The Choice of the Jews under Vichy: Between Submission and Resistance.

More About Daniel Dubuisson

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