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“MAP-MAKER, MAP-MAKER, MAKE ME A MAP”: REDESCRIBING GRECO-ROMAN “ELECTIVE SOCIAL FORMATIONS”

In the last few years there has been great deal of concern in the academy about ignoring the insider's views and opinions in the study of religions. Never before has the rift between the social scientific study of religion and the theological or faith-based study of religion been more pronounced than it is currently. This is reflected in the recent issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Religion. The issue of the insider vs. the outsider in the study of religion may be exemplified in the recent debate on the California textbook controversy. Hinduism is a plural religion or even religions' to be studied comparatively. However, granting Hinduism such special status does not help much in placing the study of Hinduism within the context of the study of religion. In the understanding of Hinduism it is not only what religious insiders say about it, but equally important is what scholarly analyses have constructed over many years of scholarship.