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Religions 2018, 9(2), 38; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9020038

Elements of a Comparative Methodology in the Study of Religion

Department of Asian Studies, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX 78712, USA
Received: 15 January 2018 / Revised: 27 January 2018 / Accepted: 27 January 2018 / Published: 29 January 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Methodical Aspects of Comparison)
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Abstract

While comparison has been the subject of much theoretical debate in the study of religion, it has rarely been discussed in methodological terms. A large number of comparative studies have been produced in the course of the discipline’s history, but the question of how comparison works as a method has rarely been addressed. This essay proposes, in the form of an outline, a methodological frame of comparison that addresses both the general configuration of a comparative study—its goal, mode, scale, and scope—and the comparative process, distinguishing operations of selection, description, juxtaposition, redescription, as well as rectification and theory formation. It argues that identifying and analyzing such elements of a comparative methodology helps, on the one hand, in evaluating existing comparative studies and, on the other, in producing new ones. While the article attempts to present the methodological frame in a concise form and thus offers limited illustrative material, the authors of the other essays in this collection discuss rich historical-empirical cases as they test the frame on their own comparative studies. View Full-Text
Keywords: comparison; method in the study of religion; redescription; rectification; theory-formation; methodology; comparative method comparison; method in the study of religion; redescription; rectification; theory-formation; methodology; comparative method
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. (CC BY 4.0).
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Freiberger, O. Elements of a Comparative Methodology in the Study of Religion. Religions 2018, 9, 38.

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