The Study of Religion and Its Postmodernist Critics
The book presents a critical analysis of some current trends in religious studies, which, in the author’s opinion, are influenced by the reception of methodological relativism that characterizes postmodernism of the second half of the 20th century. The main object of criticism is a conception, typical for postmodern discourse in religious studies, according to which such a phenomenon as religion had not existed until Western scholars «constructed» it, and therefore the traditional science of religion should be understood as a discipline that, instead of describing reality, discusses fictions invented by itself. Criticizing this position, the author shows that, firstly, such statements are incorrect from the historical point of view (i.e. the notions of «religion» and «religions», let alone the very phenomenon of religion, had existed long before the rise of the science of religion as such) and, secondly, the idea of «constructing religion» is based on a methodological error (whether intentional or not), which consists in identifying a phenomenon with its examination on a scientific and theoretical level.
This book is addressed to scholars in religious and cultural studies, social scientists, and postgraduate students in the respective scientific fields, as well as to everyone interested in religious studies.