Looking at historiography and methodology for the risks of Eurocentrism and presentism, this essay reflects on the study of the history of religion in the two decades of the Journal of Early Modern History’s life to date. It first counts the locations of the subjects of the Journal’s articles, both generally and specifically on religion, to measure patterns in geographical focus. Considering the language these articles use to describe religion, the essay then draws a contrast between treating religion on its own terms and adapting a more analytical, though invasive, approach. Andrew Gow’s emphasis on continuity between the medieval and the early-modern inspires a late-traditional perspective that avoids both eurocentrism and presentism.
Kenneth Mills, “Mission and Narrative in the Early Modern Spanish World: Diego de Ocaña’s Desert in Passing,” in Faithful Narratives: Historians, Religion, and the Challenge of Objectivity, ed. Andrea Sterk and Nina Caputo (Ithaca, 2014), 115-131 at 115-6.