Bulletin for the Study of Religion, Vol 40, No 2 (2011)

Religion Is Not Simplistic

Aaron W Hughes
Issued Date: 5 Jun 2011


In the first section, I unpack Prothero’s claim that to understand religion is to understand better the current geopolitical climate. In the second section, I proceed to an analysis of Prothero’s essentialism. Although his goal is to correct the “common” assumption that all religions represent different manifestations of the same essence, he replaces this one capital-E Essence with eight small-e essences. Thirdly, I point out the great lie that scholars of religion use to console themselves that what they do, or perhaps better think they are doing, is somehow relevant to the modern world. Fourthly, and finally, I examine a couple of chapters (specifically that on Islam) to show some of the practical problems into which his theoretical assumptions take him.

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DOI: 10.1558/bsor.v40i2.002


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