Sophia 53 (4):479-496 (2014)

Authors
Richard Amesbury
Arizona State University
Abstract
In the late nineteenth century, European philosophical theologians concerned about the perceived threat of secularity played a crucial role in the construction of the category of ‘religion,’ conceived as a transcultural universal, the genus of which the so-called ‘world religions’ are species. By reading the work of the late John Hick (1922–2012), the most influential contemporary philosophical advocate of religious pluralism, through an historically informed hermeneutic of suspicion, this paper argues that orientalist-derived understandings of religion continue to play a significant (though often unacknowledged) role within the philosophy of religion today. Though couched in the language of pluralism, Hick’s later work in the philosophy of religion functions apologetically to maintain a version of the religious–secular distinction that, while theologically and politically loaded, is, I show, philosophically arbitrary. Moving the philosophy of religion beyond Eurocentrism, I argue, will require freeing it from the logic of the modern understanding of religion
Keywords John Hick  World religions  Cultural history of the study of religion  Secular  Secularization  Orientalism  Philosophy of religion
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DOI 10.1007/s11841-013-0394-9
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Hinduism.[author unknown] - 1992 - Library of Congress Office Library of Congress Photoduplication Service.

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