Colloquium: Does autonomy entail theology? Autonomy, legitimacy, and the study of religion

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Abstract

Donald Wiebe and other theorists have challenged the doctrine of the autonomy of religion as an intrusion of confessional claims upon non-theological, social scientific study of the subject. This article contends that such criticisms (1) fail to appreciate the diversity of ways in which autonomy has been affirmed by classic theorists; (2) fail to notice that even where confessionalism serves as motive, it does not provide the grounds for such affirmations; (3) fail to see that a legitimate claim of autonomy can be made to rest, axiomatically, on humanistic assumptions no different from those that undergird other disciplines in the academy; and (4) fail to see that overagainst, say, natural scientific explanation, social science itself must make similarly axiomatic claims to autonomy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalReligion
Volume20
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Sociology and Political Science

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