Toward a Common Language in World Religions: Reversing the Categories

By William Acres.

Published by The Learner Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Language and its capacities are severely tested in the common nomenclature of World Religions and in comparative religion. By exploring the theoretical and pedagogical aspect of religion in diverse classes this paper addresses the seminal problem of communicating across boundaries and comparing disciplinary insights. The position of the text is considered, while the transpositions of geography, time, and cultural purpose undercut the possibilities of the text alone. Limitations are welcome in the study of “religion” and World Religions, particularly if they facilitate a common understanding of these transpositions. We essay a bolder theoretical approach to the pedagogy by exploring the breakdown in communication between the more transgressive European categories, their Judeo-Christian foundations, and their obsolescence in learning environments where boundaries and identities are under formation in both the student and sociological context.

Keywords: Communities of Knowledge, Religion, World Religions, Transpositions of Time, Place and Cultural Purposes, Comparative Knowledge, History and Morphology, Interdisciplinary Studies

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 17, Issue 1, pp.201-212. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 667.271KB).

Dr. William Acres

Professor, Centre for International and Comparative Studies, Theology, History, The University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada

A teacher of religion and history at Huron University College, a small liberal arts college with an Anglican foundation, Acres is a member of the faculties of Social Sciences, Theology and Graduate and Post-Doctoral studies. He has co-edited a collection of essays with Jonathan Eeuwes called “Religion Unbound: Finding Faith in a De-Secularized Canada” presently under consideration. He has written Instructor’s manuals and resource guides for World Religions’ imprints for Oxford University Press and is at work on World Religions: A critical Anthology for Oxford UP. In addition, he is working on curriculum development on “Theology” and “Religion” from a historical perspective.

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