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In academic discourse, interreligious comparisons have been accused of resulting in false generalizations, the concept of ‘the world religions’ being one example. Recently, Peter Schmiedel has employed this concept in his book Philosophie, Religion und Wirtschaft (2015) with the aim to develop an overarching ethical foundation for today’s global economic system. According to his representation, Hinduism needs to return to its Vedic roots if it is to play a positive role in this endeavor. A historical approach, however, reveals that Schmiedel’s representation of Hinduism, without acknowledging it, reflects both the negative colonial-missionary portrayal of 19th century Indian religion(s) as well as the countermoves of neo-Vedantins like Dayananda Saraswati (1824–1883). Thus, the deconstruction of Schmiedel’s account exemplifies in what way a postcolonial perspective can be employed to approach the problem of generalizations in interreligious comparisons. Finally, considering ‘subalternized’ religious traditions alongside their major counterparts is suggested as a promising way forward in such fields as comparative theology.

Open Access
In: Postkolonialismus, Theologie und die Konstruktion des Anderen / Postcolonialism, Theology and the Construction of the Other
Volume Editors: , , and
Postkolonialismus bezeichnet nicht nur die historische Epoche nach dem Ende der Kolonialzeit, sondern auch ein theoretisches Konzept zur Analyse von Herrschaftsverhältnissen. In der deutschsprachigen Theologie wurde dieses Konzept bisher wenig beachtet. Im zweisprachigen Sammelband Postkolonialismus, Theologie und die Konstruktion des Anderen erkunden Vertreter aller theologischen Disziplinen einschließlich der Religionswissenschaft die heuristischen Möglichkeiten, die der Postkolonialismus für ihr Fach bietet. Es geht dabei insbesondere um die Frage, wie „der Andere“ als Gegenüber eines „Wir“ konstruiert wird. Gerade in Zeiten globaler Migration und erstarkenden Rechtsextremismus muss Theologie sprachfähig bleiben, um den drängenden Fragen der Gegenwart Antwortangebote bieten zu können.

Postcolonialism refers not only to the historical epoch after the end of the colonial era, but also to a theoretical concept for the analysis of power relations. In German-speaking theology, this concept has so far received little attention. In the bilingual volume Postcolonialism, theology and the construction of the other, scholars of all theological disciplines, including religious studies, explore the heuristic possibilities that postcolonialism provides for their subject. In particular, the question is how “the other” is constructed as the counterpart of a “we”. In times of global migration and growing right-wing extremism, theology must remain capable to offer answers to the urgent questions of the present.