The resemblances among religions
DOI link for The resemblances among religions
The resemblances among religions book
With the essentialist and the functionalist approaches to defining an object of study distinguished, we can consider a third approach that many scholars think avoids some of the shortcomings of both. This approach is commonly found in world religions textbooks today, and, according to those who advocate for its use in scholarship, it’s already how we all come to know things about the world in our ordinary, day-to-day lives. In fact, the presumption that there is a distinct insider perspective as opposed to an outsider view—as opposed to seeing insides and outsides as continually changing and continually contested, all depending on where we stand and in relation to whom—is itself a product of an essentialist viewpoint. The family resemblance approach to definition—sometimes called polythetic definitions—is thought by some to enable them to steer a middle path between essentialist and functionalist approaches. But, just as with the essentialist and the functionalist approaches, a few criticisms are possible as well.