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date: 21 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The chapter gives an overview of the ways in which nineteenth-century Christian thinkers approached ‘other’, non-Christian religions. On the one hand, it establishes characteristics that distinguish the period between the flowering of Romanticism and the outbreak of the First World War from the periods immediately preceding and following it. On the other hand, it shows the wide range of approaches during the period under consideration, focusing on the struggle with finding suitable technical terms for hitherto unknown religious phenomena and on the scholarly attempts to arrange and classify new pieces of information, in order to integrate them into a unified picture. Special attention is paid to the ways in which nineteenth-century Christian (and secular) debates shaped and were shaped by the study of non-Christian religions. In conclusion, it is asked to what extent nineteenth-century ideas, presuppositions, and preoccupations are continuing to shape our present views on ‘religion’ and ‘world religions’.

Keywords: world religions, Orientalism, colonialism, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, missionary movement, World’s Parliament of Religions

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