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Dr. Fairen - Religious Studies Theories and Methods 12

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University of Alberta
Religious Studies
Glen Fairen

RELIGIOUS STUDIES 200 KARL MARX He is only really talking about religion in a 19th Century Judeo Christian context. ARNAL: "...there is no such thing as 'religion,' and cross culturalor non specific characterizations of socalled religious phenomena are distorting... 'religion,' in other words, may be an obstacle to cross-cultural (including cross-temporal) understanding; hence it must be theorized, as a concept, for that very reason." arnal holds that our loaded ideas behind the term religion make us look for something specific in our cross cultural research, and hence blur and misrepresent and parse off the object of my study. the term religion, with out cultural meanings for it, defines the object on our terms and not on its own terms. scholars don't spend a lot of time trying to define religion because it doesn't really help them in their studies. it obstructs their religion. SUBSTANTIVE DEFINITIONS VS CULTURALIST DEFINITIONS substantive: sui generis religion. there is something there, metaphysically. something unique to religion. looking for items and practices. culturalist: religion as a social function. looking for utilities of religion that does something for the group. religion is a function of something else. *imo frazer and tylor are more historiographic/ethnographic than either substantive or functionalist TYLOR & FRAZER arose after Darwin got read onto culture - cultural religi
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