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date: 13 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter justifies the general application of the taxon ‘religion’ as a unitary analytical concept situated in history, and locates religions as interculturally translatable and communicable systems of beliefs and practices related to superhuman agents. It argues that the postmodern claim that religion was an exclusive invention of modern European scholarship should be dismissed. The author shows that European discourse did not impose on non-European cultures alien colonial configurations such as the separation of the sphere of religion from other spheres of human culture. That this separation was not ‘invented’ is implied by the universal process of construction of boundaries between distinct domains of social life and the consequent elaboration of cross-cultural categories. The possibility itself of defining and translating religion into the most diverse historical and geographical milieus shows the panhuman character of this historical constellation.

Keywords: historicizing, history, religion (category), tradition, translation, universals

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