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Religions 2012, 3(4), 1120-1137; doi:10.3390/rel3041120

The Old and New Comparative Theologies: Discourses on Religion, the Theology of Religions, Orientalism and the Boundaries of Traditions

Programme Leader Theology and Religious Studies, Department of Theology and Religious Studies, University of Winchester, Sparkford Road, Winchester, SO22 4NR, UK
Received: 10 November 2012 / Revised: 1 December 2012 / Accepted: 3 December 2012 / Published: 4 December 2012
(This article belongs to the Special Issue European Perspectives on the New Comparative Theology)
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Abstract

This paper disputes that a strong contrast can be drawn between the Old Comparative Theology and the New Comparative Theology, looking particularly at the arguments of Hugh Nicholson as well as drawing on Francis Clooney. It disputes a simplistic and monolithic dismissal of the Old Comparative Theology as guilty of ‘Orientalism’, and seeks to show that in figures like Rowland Williams, as well as F. D. Maurice that the discipline was important in breaking down boundaries between traditions. Building on this, an argument is made that the New Comparative Theology should be seen as part of a lineage of progression and understanding that links it with the Old Comparative Theology and the Theology of Religions, and that any attempt to see these as different, or contrasting, discourses is based upon a distorted or partial historical understanding. In this the work of Tomoko Masuzawa is also assessed, and issues surrounding the terms ‘religion’ and ‘world religion’ are discussed. It is also suggested that the weight of history may be a factor as to why the New Comparative Theology came to prominence in the USA rather than in Europe, or at least the UK.
Keywords: comparative theology; Orientalism; Frederick Clooney; Hugh Nicholson; Frederick Denison Maurice; Rowland Williams; religion; Tomoko Masuzawa; theology of religion comparative theology; Orientalism; Frederick Clooney; Hugh Nicholson; Frederick Denison Maurice; Rowland Williams; religion; Tomoko Masuzawa; theology of religion
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Hedges, P. The Old and New Comparative Theologies: Discourses on Religion, the Theology of Religions, Orientalism and the Boundaries of Traditions. Religions 2012, 3, 1120-1137.

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