Review of Brent Nongbri 'Before Religion: A History of a Modern Concept' (New Haven: Yale, 2013).

Daggers, Jenny (2015) Review of Brent Nongbri 'Before Religion: A History of a Modern Concept' (New Haven: Yale, 2013). Modern Theology, 31 (2). pp. 333-335. ISSN 0266-7177 (Print) 1468-0025 (Online)

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The review appreciates historian Nongbri's careful exposition of the emergence of the modern category 'religion and the religions', and his critique of its anachronistic application to premodern ethnic and civic customs, and Judaism, Hellenism, Christianity and then Islam. While the review acknowledges the significance of pluralist theologies that make use of the 'religion and the religions' paradigm for theological purposes, it puts into question the theological adequacy of placing Christianity as one religion among others. Rather religion in modernity can be analysed via a tripartite of Christianity diminished (secularism), Christianity transcended (religion cut loose from Christianity as 'religion and the religions') and Christianity increased (Christianity as ultimate destiny of all religions, and motor of the modern missionary movement). Postcolonial and postmodern conditions invite a fourth term of Christianity re-centred, which facilitates constant re-appropriation of Christian traditions and in consequence forms of traditioned interreligious encounter.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: religion and the religions; Christianity diminished, transcended and increased; Christianity re-centred.
Faculty / Department: Faculty of Arts & Humanities > Theology, Philosophy and Religion
Depositing User: Lauren Whiston
Date Deposited: 18 Feb 2016 09:51
Last Modified: 28 Apr 2017 00:15

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