Theory in Distress? On Being ‘Critical’ with Everything

in Method & Theory in the Study of Religion
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‘Religion’ is often, if not always, deemed a rather problematic category by critical theorists, who urge scholars to be more attentive to the genealogy and history of the category. As part of the review symposium of Theory in a Time of Excess (2016), this review essay argues that ‘theory’ itself could be deemed problematic if we wish to be consistent in adopting such a critical stance, which can lead to several dead-ends when excluding other theoretical options and possibilities.

Theory in Distress? On Being ‘Critical’ with Everything

in Method & Theory in the Study of Religion



  • BartonCarlin A. & Daniel Boyarin (2016). Imagine No Religion: How Modern Abstractions Hide Ancient Realities. New York: Fordham University Press.

  • JensenJeppe Sinding (2014). What is Religion? London and New York: Routledge.

  • MikalsonJon D. (2016). New Aspects of Religion in Ancient Athens: Honors Authorities Esthetics and Society. Leiden and Boston, MA: Brill.

  • NongbriBrent (2013). Before Religion: A History of a Modern Concept. New Haven, CT and London: Yale University Press.

  • RoubekasNickolas P. (2017). Review of Carlin A. Barton and Daniel Boyarin: Imagine No Religion. How Modern Abstractions Hide Ancient Realities. Critical Research on Religion 5 (2) pp. 217-221.

  • RutherfordIan (2013). State Pilgrims and Sacred Observers in Ancient Greece: A Study of  Theōriā and Theōroi. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  • TavesAnn (2009). Religious Experience Reconsidered: A Building-Block Approach to the Study of Religion and Other Special Things. Princeton, NJ and Oxford: Princeton University Press.


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