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Yelle, Robert A. (2021): [Chapter 19] History. In: Segal, Robert A. and Roubekas, Nickolas P. (eds.) : The Wiley Blackwell Companion to the Study of Religion. Second Edition. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 289-301

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From within the vast field of entanglements that join religion with history, this chapter focuses on several issues of theoretical interest: 1) the role of evolutionary and developmental histories of religion(s); 2) religious views of history and temporality; and 3) last but not least, secularization and disenchantment as historical processes and narratives. With some exceptions evolutionary histories of religion belong mainly to older approaches that are now discredited as ethnocentric. Historical time is itself a cultural or religious construct that in turn shapes different worldviews. Older oppositions between biblical time as linear and Hindu or pagan time as cyclical now appear exaggerated. Perhaps the most important illustration of the role of religion in shaping understandings of time and history is the idea of secularization or disenchantment. The notion that we inhabit an age of Enlightenment that has broken with a superstitious past was profoundly influenced by older Christian theological tropes, according to which the Gospel ended miracles, oracles, and the Mosaic law. A genealogical approach suggests that history is not merely a neutral, scientific method to be applied to religion but itself a part of religious history.

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