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Discourse on the Invention of Discourse: Why We Need the Terminology of “Religion” and “Religions”


  • Paul Hedges

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    • Dr Paul Hedges is Senior Lecturer in Theology and Religious Studies, Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Winchester, Winchester, U.K.


Timothy Fitzgerald's deconstruction of religion occurs at the nexus of Critical Studies and the history of ideas. Set within the context of scholars like Tomoko Masuzawa and Russell McCutcheon, it is suggested that his work provides an important aid to reflexivity in Religious Studies scholarship, but that like other deconstructive work in this area it is beset by a number of flaws. In particular, the historical evidence is open to alternative readings that suggest the development of the category “religion” may be as much about “discovery” as “invention,” while the continued need for Fitzgerald and other scholars to use some term to substitute for “religion,” such as the “sacred,” shows the continued usefulness of the term as a descriptive tool.