The Comparative Method

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Abstract

The comparative method is a formalization of the comparison that is unavoidable in any attempt at cross-cultural analysis. Yet, the comparative method has generated considerable controversy in religious studies. This article reviews the issues raised about comparison in anthropology, the social science that has as its enduring goal a holistic understanding of all human societies and that consequently has made greater use of comparison – and accordingly has subjected it to greater scrutiny – than any other discipline.

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