“Yes, ... but ...”: The Neo-Perennialists

In: Method & Theory in the Study of Religion
Craig Martin Associate Professor of Religious Studies St. Thomas Aquinas College

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This essay argues that despite their opposition to perennialism, a number of recent scholars inadvertently repeat some of the problematic gestures of perennialism. These scholars are attempting to push the field forward after poststructuralist critiques of religious studies, particularly regarding the varieties of essentialism that have plagued the field. However, their account of “religion” ends up looking, at least in some respects, little different from the pre-critical, essentialist, and ahistorical accounts of religion that were regnant prior to the wave of poststructuralist critiques of religious studies. To some extent we appear to be back to where we started.

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