WHAT DOES COMPARATIVE RELIGION COMPARE? ROBERT SEGAL The term "comparative religion" has disparate meanings. It can refer to the comparison either of whole religions or of specific elements within religion like creation myths, earth gods, and shamans. Alternatively, the term can refer to the study of those who do the comparing. When the term refers to the study of "comparers" from all disciplines, it is equivalent to theories of religion. When the term refers to "comparers" in religious studies alone-persons I call "religionists"-it is identical with the history and phenomenology of religion. Of the hundreds of books on comparative religion, many have been studies of religions or aspects of religion themselves. Others have been studies of theorists of religion. Still others have been studies of historians and phenomenologists of religion. Among contemporary surveys of theorists of religion, Eric Sharpe's Comparative Religion is probably the best known. Other well-known contemporary surveys, some of them selections from theorists themselves, include Jan de Vries' The Study of Religion: A Ilistorical 66 Approach (tr. Kees W. Bolle [New York: Harcourt, Brace, 19C>7]), Michael Pye's Comparative Religion: An Introduction through Some Source Materials (New York: Harper & Row, 1972), Jacques Waardenburg's Classical Approaches
Method & Theory in the Study of Religion – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 1989
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