Post-Modern Problems of Religious Scholars
An analysis of three essays and their respective approaches to the study of religion: Malcom Eckel's "Contested Identities: The Study of Buddhism in the Postmodern World", Wendy Doniger's "Post-Modern and Colonial Structural Comparisons", and Huston Smit
# 120020 | 1,502 words | 3 sources | MLA | 2010 |
Published on Jun 02, 2010 in Religion and Theology (Buddhism) , Religion and Theology (Christianity) , Religion and Theology (General)
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This paper analyzes "Contested Identities: The Study of Buddhism in the Postmodern World" by Malcolm Eckel, "Post-Modern and Colonial Structural Comparisons" by Wendy Doniger, and "Methodology, Comparisons, and Truth" by Huston Smith, which are essays that attempt to dissect and explain religious theories. The paper delves into the hypotheses contained in each essay, as they relate to various modern religions. Finally, the author surmises that each essay imparts knowledge that assists in understanding the subject of comparative religion as a whole.
From the Paper:"The three essays discussed in this paper all deal with different concerns plaguing the study of religion. In the first essay, "Contested Identities," author Malcolm Eckel discusses post-modernism and its effects on the study of Buddhism. He begins the essay by comparing Charles Jenck's story of the demolition of a modern building to the destruction of modern religious study. Both religion and architecture, by society's standards, now need to be designed to fit into the 'post-modern' world in which we live. Early in the essay, Eckel poses the question "what has reduced the great tradition of comparative classification to such a ruined state" (56)? The author blames the awareness and respect of difference as the primary reason of ruination. An example of this awareness is cited when Eckel discusses Jonathan Z. Smith's argument that instead of studying Judaism as a whole, the religion should be broken down in to multiple Judaisms and studied independently (56). Smith also argues that by using similarities and generalizations, the process of comparative study becomes more problematic. His logic is this: eventually, everything will become so similar that difference will cease to exist; that being the case why bother with a comparison? A similarity, to me, is a relative term, because I don't believe it is possible to find similarities without the researcher inserting his or her own bias."
Sample of Sources Used:
- Eckel, Malcolm David. "Contested Identities: The Study of Buddhism in the Postmodern World." A Magic Still Dwells. Ed. Kimberley C. Patton and Benjamin C. Ray. Berkley, California: University of California Press, 2000. 55-62.
- Doniger, Wendy. "Post-Modern and -Colonial -Structural Comparisons." A Magic Still Dwells. Ed. Kimberley C. Patton and Benjamin C. Ray. Berkley, California: University of California Press, 2000. 63-74.
- Smith, Huston. "Methodology, Comparisons, and Truth." A Magic Still Dwells. Ed. Kimberley C. Patton and Benjamin C. Ray. Berkley, California: University of California Press, 2000. 172-181.
Cite this Article Review:
Post-Modern Problems of Religious Scholars (2010, June 02) Retrieved October 03, 2022, from https://www.academon.com/article-review/post-modern-problems-of-religious-scholars-120020/
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