Burton Mack’s Challenge to the Study of Religion

In: Method & Theory in the Study of Religion
Willi Braun Professor Emeritus, History, Classics & Religious Studies, University of Alberta Edmonton, AB Canada

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Burton Mack was the most influential and, perhaps, controversial scholar of the Christian bible and Christian origins of his generation. He exposed the conventional story of Christian origins as a myth that needed to be studied not on its own terms but in terms of a general theory of religion that would be useful also in the study of religions other than Christianity. This article provides a brief summary of the main features of Mack’s work for readers who are not familiar with it. Its purpose is also to be a setup for a set of essays that engage Mack in their own areas of specialization in the study of religion.

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