Religions 2012, 3(4), 973-982; doi:10.3390/rel3040973

Comparative Theology and Religious Studies in a Non-religious Environment

Received: 22 August 2012; in revised form: 9 October 2012 / Accepted: 12 October 2012 / Published: 17 October 2012
(This article belongs to the Special Issue European Perspectives on the New Comparative Theology)
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Abstract: The intellectual landscape of Europe bears the marks of a long history of cultural perceptions of, and scientific approaches to, religions. The sciences of religions had to establish their autonomy from churches and theologies. However, the cultural context and the institutional set-up of ‘laïcité’ did not foster the development of comparative religion, much less comparative theology. However, this situation may have an advantage: it should discourage the exercise of comparative theology as a sectarian endeavour apart from broader anthropological perspectives and concerns. Comparative theology should not become the last refuge for religious nostalgia. In Europe, interreligious relationships (and hence comparative theologies) should not be isolated from simple or more sophisticated forms of indifference, agnosticism, or atheism. The active presence of a non-religious environment as well as the growing interest in Buddhism, are challenges to comparative theology: its contents, its approach, its intended audience.
Keywords: comparative theology; Europe; religio; comparative method; historicity; intra-religious dialogue; Buddhism; non-belief; authority; Western reception
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MDPI and ACS Style

Scheuer, J. Comparative Theology and Religious Studies in a Non-religious Environment. Religions 2012, 3, 973-982.

AMA Style

Scheuer J. Comparative Theology and Religious Studies in a Non-religious Environment. Religions. 2012; 3(4):973-982.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Scheuer, Jacques. 2012. "Comparative Theology and Religious Studies in a Non-religious Environment." Religions 3, no. 4: 973-982.

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