Managing and Negotiating Asian Religious Unities and Diversities

In: The Critical Analysis of Religious Diversity
Author: Jørn Borup

Abstract

Religious diversity has emerged as a new scholarly field, but historically, and especially beyond a Western sphere, religious diversity has been the norm of most lived religion. As such, a focus on diversity is a perspective revealing monolithic traditions as particular and constructed, rather than universal and essential. Diversity has been used in emic frameworks for discursive and institutional legitimation. Religious traditions have oscillated between different types of diversities and unities in strategic identification and authority narratives. This article will present examples of such inter- and intra-religious unity and diversity representations from Asian (Buddhist, Hindu, Chinese and Japanese) philosophical and sociological contexts in a historical and comparative perspective. While acknowledging post-orientalist theories and critical discourse analyses, it also discusses the importance of seeing such negotiations of diversities as quintessential ingredients of lived religion.

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