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Open AccessArticle

Comparative vs. Hagiology: Two Variant Approaches to the Field

Religious Studies, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA
Religions 2019, 10(10), 575; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10100575
Received: 19 September 2019 / Revised: 3 October 2019 / Accepted: 7 October 2019 / Published: 15 October 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Comparative Hagiology: Issues in Theory and Method)
There is a basic tension within the idea of Comparative Hagiology, because the two terms that constitute its name are incongruous. To formulate a comparative hagiological project, we must choose at the outset which term will take priority. Prioritizing the comparative in comparative hagiology orients us to focus more on the basic disciplinary approaches to gather compare-able data, leaving hagiology as a placeholder whose content will be defined by the results of the comparison. Prioritizing hagiology requires first defining hagio- and reckoning with the European and Christian baggage that it brings to cross-cultural and inter-religious comparison. Holding that definition in mind, we then locate examples to compare by whatever approach seems fruitful in that case. Different choices of priorities lead to potentially different results. I argue that a path that prioritizes comparative is more likely to inspire experimental and innovative groupings, unconventional definitions of hagiology, and new perspectives in the cross-cultural study of religion. An approach that prioritizes hagiology runs a greater risk of repeating the same provincial and conceptual biases that doomed much of 20th-century comparative religion scholarship. View Full-Text
Keywords: collaborative scholarship; comparative method; comparative religions; definition; disciplinary innovation; hagiography; hagiology; religious studies; theory and method in religious studies collaborative scholarship; comparative method; comparative religions; definition; disciplinary innovation; hagiography; hagiology; religious studies; theory and method in religious studies
MDPI and ACS Style

Keune, J. Comparative vs. Hagiology: Two Variant Approaches to the Field. Religions 2019, 10, 575.

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