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Dr. Fairen - Religious Studies Theories and Methods 26

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Religious Studies
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Glen Fairen

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RELIGIOUS STUDIES 200 TALAL ASAD 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
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