RELIGIOUS STUDIES 200
Religious Perspective vs Other Perspectives
"religion is indeed [in modern society] optional where science is not. Scientiﬁc practices, techniques, knowledges,
permeates and create the very ﬁbers of social life in ways that religion no longer does. In that sense religion today
is a perspective but science is not. In that sense [as deﬁned by Geertz] science is not to be found in every society
past and present." Asad 304
according to geertz's system, a priest saying hocus pocus rather than hoc est corpus meum, not knowing the real
background behind their ritual, does not mean their ritual is not religious and that people do not ﬁnd it religiously
signiﬁcant to themselves (even though it has no cosmic signiﬁcance to them).
What underlies Geertz's insistance that people have deeper more robust cosmic beliefs tied to their religions
symbols and practices?
Asad believes he holds onto these deﬁnitions so that religion can be its own discourse. By having religion be sui
generis it sets it apart from anthro or science or soc or history and demands its own study, so there are academic
politics wrapped up in it.
but can we really make the distinction between
• religious though
• scientiﬁc thought
• aesthetic thought
• and common sense
as geertz would have us believe?
asad says we don't have a choice whether to think in scientiﬁc terms or not whereas religion, at least it seems like
geertz is claiming, is a c