What Game Are We Playing?: A New Look at the Identity and Beginning of the Study of Religion

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Abstract

This article aims to analyze how scholars of religions have studied the history of the discipline itself, with particular emphasis on the question of its beginning. Although situating the beginning of the discipline in the late 19th century is prevalent, there are dissenting voices in this debate. Interestingly, a similar discussion exists in the history of science. There, Andrew Cunningham has argued in favor of understanding scientific practice as a human activity and thus writing histories of science as histories of an activity. The latter part of this article explains how implementing Cunningham’s approach can be useful for the study of the history of religious studies, making it possible to study the intellectual and institutional aspects as parts of one whole. I will draw attention to how this approach can help us analyze the question of the beginnings of the discipline.

Numen

International Review for the History of Religions

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