Prolegomena to a Philosophical Phenomenology of Religion

A Critique of Sociological Phenomenology

In: Method & Theory in the Study of Religion
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Abstract

The aim of this paper is to deal with a slightly erroneous claim made in previous research that philosophical phenomenology has shown little interest in the topic of “religion”. The majority of this article deals with the branch of the Movement that I have dubbed Sociological Phenomenology which stems out of the work of Alfred Schutz and Max Scheler and has influenced scholars of religion like Peter Berger, Thomas Luckmann and James Spickard. I offer a Husserlian critique of this branch of phenomenology for failing to appreciate the key insights of his later phenomenology’s “ontological turn” where he turned to an analysis on the natural attitude and the life-world. I conclude by showing what a phenomenology or religion consistent with these later insights may look like.

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