• Seven Ways of Looking at Religion

Seven Ways of Looking at Religion

The Major Narratives

An ambitious lucid analysis of religion's shifting place in the modern world.

Western intellectuals have long theorized that religion would undergo a process of marginalization and decline as the forces of modernity advanced. Yet recent events have disrupted this seductively straightforward story. As a result, while it is clear that religion has somehow evolved from its tribal beginnings up through modernity and into the current global age, there is no consensus about what kind of narrative of religious change we should alternatively tell.

Seeking clarity, Schewel organizes and evaluates the prevalent narratives of religious history that scholars have deployed over the past century and are advancing today. He argues that contemporary scholarly discourse on religion can be categorized according to seven central narratives: subtraction, renewal, trans-secular, postnaturalist, construct, perennial, and developmental. Examining the basic logic, insights, and limitations of each of these narratives, Schewel ranges from Martin Heidegger to Muhammad... Show More

An ambitious lucid analysis of religion's shifting place in the modern world.

Western intellectuals have long theorized that religion would undergo a process of marginalization and decline as the forces of modernity advanced. Yet recent events have disrupted this seductively straightforward story. As a result, while it is clear that religion has somehow evolved from its tribal beginnings up through modernity and into the current global age, there is no consensus about what kind of narrative of religious change we should alternatively tell.

Seeking clarity, Schewel organizes and evaluates the prevalent narratives of religious history that scholars have deployed over the past century and are advancing today. He argues that contemporary scholarly discourse on religion can be categorized according to seven central narratives: subtraction, renewal, trans-secular, postnaturalist, construct, perennial, and developmental. Examining the basic logic, insights, and limitations of each of these narratives, Schewel ranges from Martin Heidegger to Muhammad Iqbal, from Daniel Dennett to Charles Taylor, to offer an incisive, broad, and original perspective on religion in the modern world.

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About Benjamin Schewel

Benjamin Schewel is a Fellow in the Centre for Religion, Conflict and the Public Domain at the University of Groningen and an Affiliate Scholar at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture at the University of Virginia. He is also a Research and Policy Officer at the Bahá’í International Community’s European Office. He received a PhD in philosophy from KU Leuven and has also held visiting positions at the universities of Oxford, Cambridge, Utrecht, and Addis Ababa.

Titles by Benjamin Schewel