DE-CENTRING RELIGIOUS SINGULARITY: THE GLOBALIZATION OF CHRISTIANITY AS A CASE IN POINT

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Abstract

Recent scholarship in religious studies has again questioned the validity of the idea of religions and of certain religions in particular, such as Hinduism. The debate raises the question of how any religion, including Christianity, can be thought of or lived as a singular identity in today's world. While this is a very broad question with a very long history, this presentation translates the matter into one of the relation between globalization, localization, and religion. It argues that in the more recent phases of historical globalization, the issue of unity, identity, and singularity in religion has fundamentally changed from one which depends on a hierarchical and core/periphery distribution of defining power to one in which singularity is the observed or recognized outcome of multiple localizations of a contested and global model. Thus the singularity of a religion is not just the product of uneven power relations between those who get to define and those who do not, but rather the internally and externally observed synthesis of plural glocalizations. This abstract thesis is illustrated on hand of an examination of developments in global Christianity especially in the 19th and 20th centuries.

DE-CENTRING RELIGIOUS SINGULARITY: THE GLOBALIZATION OF CHRISTIANITY AS A CASE IN POINT

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