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1. Mitsutoshi Horii, "Historicizing the category of "religion" in sociological theories: Max Weber and Emile Durkheim," Critical Research on Religion 3, no. 1 (2018): 2. In contrast, J.Z. Smith has claimed that: Jonathan Z. Smith, "Religion, Religions, Religious," in Critical Terms for Religious Studies, ed. Mark C. Taylor (Chicago & London: University of Chicago Press, 1998), 281. Without using the term 'comparative category', he seems to refer to something similar.
2. For a detailed discussion of the difference between "descriptive categories, that is, categories of particular languages, and comparative concepts, which are used for crosslinguistic comparison and are specifically created by typologists for the purposes of comparison," with special reference to comparative linguistics see Martin Haspelmath, "Comparative concepts and descriptive categories in crosslinguistic studies," Language 86, no. 3 (2010): 663.
3. Horii, "Historicizing," 12
4. With regard to the application of modern approaches to ancient contexts, Geoffrey Lloyd has somewhat fatalistically Alexandra Lianeri, "A Regime of Untranslatables: Temporalities of Translation and Conceptual History," History and Theory 53, no. 4 (2014): 480
Stanley Stowers, "The ontology of religion", in Introducing religion: Essays in honor of Jonathan Z. Smith, ed. Jonathan Z. Smith, Willi Braun and Russell T. McCutcheon (London, Oakville: Equinox Pub., 2008), 435.
8. In recent years, Oliver Freiberger in particular has convincingly advocated the rehabilitation of the reflected and methodically controlled comparison in religious studies. Cf. Oliver Freiberger, "Modes of Comparison: Towards Creating a Methodological Framework for Comparative Studies", in Schmidt-Leukel; Nehring, Interreligious Comparisons in Religious Studies and Theology; Oliver Freiberger, "Freedom for the Tertium: On Conditions and Provisions for a Comparative Study", History of Religions 57, no. 3 (2018); Oliver Freiberger, "Introduction: Methodical Aspects of Comparison", Religions 9, no. 3 (2018); Oliver Freiberger, Considering comparison: A method for religious studies (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2019).
9. Horii, "Historicizing", 2
10. For instance, you may claim that one cannot compare apples and oranges only on the basis of a prior comparative assessment. If you have never seen an orange, you should not claim that they are incomparable with apples. Besides, everything is comparable under some perspective. Unfortunately, many of those who claim that apples cannot be compared with oranges have never tasted oranges, i.e. they usually do not study premodern non-Western cultures, which they claim to be too different to be analysed by using categories developed in the modern West.
11. Michael Bergunder, "Comparison in the Maelstrom of Historicity: A Postcolonial Perspective on Comparative Religion", in Schmidt-Leukel; Nehring, Interreligious Comparisons in Religious Studies and Theology, 47
12. The 'entangled history of concepts' has become an emerging research area over the last couple of years - widely ignored, however, within the science of religion. Cf. Margit Pernau, "Einführung: Neue Wege der Begriffsgeschichte", 44, (Sonderheft: Neue Wege der Begriffsgeschichte) (2018); Margrit Pernau and Dominic Sachsenmaier, eds., Global conceptual history: A reader(London, Oxford, New York, New Delhi, Sydney: Bloomsbury Academic an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing Plc, 2016). Since 2005 there has even existed a journal Contributions to the History of Concepts. Cf. João Feres and Sandro Chignola, "THE EXPANDING HORIZONS OF CONCEPTUAL HISTORY: A NEW FORUM", Contributions to the History of Concepts 1, no. 1 (2005). The majority of studies in that field, however, focus on the modern period, e.g. Hagen Schulz-Forberg, ed., A global conceptual history of Asia, 1860-1940, Perspectives in economic and social history 33 (London: Pickering & Chatto, 2014). Not explicitly connected with but contributing to the project of an entangled history of comparative concepts taking into account the period of intensified cultural encounters in the wake of the Jesuit mission is José Casanova, "Jesuits, Connectivity, and the Uneven Development of Global Consciousness since the Sixteenth Century", in Global Culture: Consciousness and Connectivity, ed. Roland Robertson and Didem Buhari-Gulmez (London: Routledge, 2017).
13. Kocku von Stuckrad, "Discursive Study of Religion: Approaches, Definitions, Implications", Method & Theory in the Study of Religion 25, no. 1 (2013): 5-6.
14. Timothy Fitzgerald, "Encompassing Religion, Privatized Religions, and the Invention of Modern Politics", in Religion and the Secular: Historical and Colonial Formations, ed. Timothy Fitzgerald (London: Equinox, 2007), 234.
16. Michael Bergunder, "Comparison in the Maelstrom of Historicity: A Postcolonial Perspective on Comparative Religion", in Schmidt-Leukel; Nehring, Interreligious Comparisons in Religious Studies and Theology, 38
17. Ibid., 37
18. Benson Saler, "Comparison: Some Suggestions for Improving the Inevitable", in Understanding religion: Selected essays, ed. Benson Saler, Religion and Reason 48, edited by F. E. Reynolds u. D. Capps (Berlin: de Gruyter, 2009). We could not make any sense of the world we live in without comparison and classification. And as scholars engaged in cross-cultural comparisons, using comparative concepts, we have to accept the aporia noted by Reinhart Koselleck, that " Reinhart Koselleck, Todd Samuel Presner and Hayden V. White, The practice of conceptual history: Timing history, spacing concepts, Orig. print, Cultural memory in the present (Stanford, Calif.: Stanford Univ. Press, 2002), 217.
19. Isomae Jun'ichi 磯前順一, Shūkyō gainen aruiwa shūkyōgaku no shi 宗教概念あるいは宗教学の死: [Der Religionsbegriff oder der Tod der Religionswissenschaft] (Tōkyō: Tōkyō Daigaku Shuppankai, 2012)
21. Ibid., 19
22. Ibid., 22.
23. Ibid., 23. Cf. ibid., 25.
24. Casanova has demonstrated this for the Jesuits and stresses the importance of the Jesuit mission for the establishment of a global consciousness. Casanova, "Jesuits". I suggest that the Japanese, although not as expansionist and globally oriented as the Jesuits, were very well aware of the multiplicity of cultures - the most influential and powerful being China, of course - from which they had always adopted many elements and with which they compared their own culture. The notion of a global saṅgha as an 'imagined community', for instance, had been present since the 6th century.
25. By the example of the concept of 'secularism' the German sinologist Heiner Roetz has criticised the ignorance of most scholars, most prominently Charles Taylor, with regard to non-European influences on the formation of concepts, which are nowadays thought of as genuinely 'Western' and/or 'modern'. Roetz has conclusively demonstrated that " Heiner Roetz, "The Influence of Foreign Knowledge on Eighteenth Century European Secularism", in Religion and Secularity: Transformations and Transfers of Religious Discourses in Europe and Asia, ed. Marion Eggert and Lucian Hölscher, Dynamics in the history of religions (Leiden: Brill, 2013), 9
26. It may be asked here, what these "precise contours" looked like. In my view, such qualifiers are used to immunise the arguments because it is virtually impossible to falsify them. You will never find exactly the same concepts or perfect semantic equivalents in a different linguistic system or epistemic framework. In short, the argument that in most non-Western premodern societies we do not find any semantic equivalents to the term 'religion' does not make much sense in the light of the fact that full semantic equivalence can never be established even in two closely related linguistic systems. Does 'religion' really mean the same to an American as 'Religion' does to a German? It would at least be helpful to name the criteria by which equivalence is measured. Cf. .
27. Hans M. Krämer, "Introduction: 'Religion' and 'Heresy' in East Asia Between Continuity and Discontinuity", Bochumer Jahrbuch zur Ostasienforschung (BJOAF) 33 (2009): 6.
29. The Keiran jūyōshū溪嵐拾葉集, a medieval Buddhist text states: "An oral tradition says that the core meaning of the [the designation] 'Land of the Origin of the Sun' is in fact 'Original Country of the Great Sun[buddha]'." 傳云。本[probably misspelled for 大]: 日本國ト者。心ハ言フ大日ノ本ノ國也 云云" (T76, no. 2410, p. 693b19). For more information on this text, see Allan G. Grapard, "Keiranshūyōshū: A Different Perspective on Mt. Hiei in the Medieval Period," in Re-visioning "Kamakura" Buddhism, ed. Richard K. Payne, Studies in East Asian Buddhism; 11, edited by Kuroda Institute (Honolulu1998)
30. Coleridge and Xavier, Life, 237
31. Ikuo Higashibaba, Christianity in Early Modern Japan: Kirishitan Belief and Practice (Leiden: Brill, 2001), 5.
35. Sancti Francisci Xaverii epistolas aliaque scripta complectens; quibus praemittitur ejus vita A P. Alexandro Valignano S. J. ex India Romam missa, Monumenta Historica Societatis Jesu (Roma: Matriti, 1899-1900), 1-200. For more information on Valignano and his writings, see Joseph F. Moran, The Japanese and the Jesuits: Alessandro Valignano in Sixteenth Century Japan(Taylor & Francis, 2012).
36. Note that, in the 16th century, designations of what we call religions still vary. Luís Froís, for instance, prefers the Italian term "legge" for both "Nostra Santa legge," "la legge di Christo" and the "leggi dì Camis & Fotoques," "una legge di Demonij" Luís Fróis, Lettera annale del Giapone scritta al Padre Generale della Compagnia de Giesv alli XX. di Febraio M.D. LXXXVIII (Roma: Francesco Zannetti, 1590), 62-63. In Rechberg's earliest German translation of Froís' Annale del Giapone, however, published in the same year as the Italian version, "oservanza delle leggi dì Camis & Fotoques" is rendered Religion. Again, it is noteworthy that the term leggi comes very close to being a semantic equivalent of the Sino-Japanese Buddhist term hō 法, a translation of the Sanskrit dharma and a common word used to denote those socio-cultural formations nowadays called 'religion'. Cf.
" ibid., 111-12. Note that Fukan Habian criticises the "followers of Deus" (daiusu monto 提宇子門徒) for falsely claiming that "Buddhas and the gods are merely human beings." George Elison, Deus destroyed: The image of Christianity in early modern Japan, Harvard East Asian series 72 (Cambridge Mass. u.a.: Harvard Univ. Press, 1973), 262 ; Japanese: "busshin wa minna ningen nareba 佛神は皆人間なれば", Fukansai Habian 不干斎ハビアン, "Ha Daiusu: 破提宇子," in Tōhō Sho'in 東方書院, Kirishitan shiryō 吉利支丹史料, 5. The author replies accordingly: "To regard the Buddhas and the gods as merely human is but the wicked view of ignorant men." Elison, Deus, 262. Japanese: "busshin wo ningen bakari mi wa, mugaku no hito no jaken 佛神は人間ばかり見は、無學の人の邪見"; Fukansai Habian 不干斎ハビアン, "Ha Daiusu: 破提宇子," in Tōhō Sho'in 東方書院, Kirishitan shiryō 吉利支丹史料, 5.
39. The kami, we read, are approached for . "y desta manera quedaron los japones muy contentos con su doctrina, venerando juntamente los camis y fotoques, y pidiendo á los vnos bienes desta vida, y á los otros bienes de la otra." Xaverius and Valignano, Monumenta, 116
40. Valignano and Wicki, Historia, 76.
41. Xaverius and Valignano, Monumenta, 118.
42. Ibid., 116-17
43. Ibid., 94
44. Cf. Francisco Cabral, who mentions the "monasteres de Bonzes, qui sont les religieux du pays". Francisco Cabral et al., Lettres du Iappon, Peru et Brasil by Jesuits: Envoyees av R.P. General de la Societé de Iesus, par ceux de la dicte Societé qui s'employent en ces Regions, à la conversion des Gentils (Paris: Thomas Brumen, 1578), 6.
45. Cf. Fukansai Habian 不干斎ハビアン, "Ha Daiusu: 破提宇子," in Tōhō Sho'in 東方書院, Kirishitan shiryō 吉利支丹史料, 30.
46. Suzuki Shōsan 鈴木正三, "Ha Kirishitan: 破吉利支丹," in Tōhō Sho'in 東方書院, Kirishitan shiryō 吉利支丹史料, 1.
47. James Baskind, ""The Matter of the Zen School": Fukansai Habian's "Myōtei mondō" and His Christian Polemic on Buddhism," Japanese Journal of Religious Studies 39, no. 2 (2012); Fukansai Fabian 不干斎ハビアン and Arimichi 海老澤有道 Ebisawa, Myōtei mondō 妙貞問答; Ha-daiusu 破提宇子, Tōyō bunko 14 (Tōkyō: Heibonsha, 1964); Fukansai Habian 不干斎ハビアン, "Ha Daiusu: 破提宇子," in Kirishitan shiryō: 吉利支丹史料, ed. Tōhō Sho'in 東方書院 (Tōkyō: Tōhō Sho'in, 1935); Fukansai Habian 不干斎ハビアン, James Baskind and Richard John Bowring, The Myōtei dialogues: A Japanese Christian critique of native traditions, Numen book series. Studies in the history of religions. Texts and sources in the history of religions volume 151 (Leiden, Boston: Brill, 2016); Oskar Mayer, "Fukansai Fabian and Kirishitan: A Paradigm of Modern Awareness," Japanese Releigions 19, 1-2 (1994); Oskar Mayer, Zur Genesis neuzeitlicher Religionskritik in Japan: Fukansai Fabian, Japanismus und japanisches Christentum (Frankfurt a. M.: Herchen, 1985); Monika Schrimpf, "The Pro- and Anti-Christian Writings of Fukan Fabian (1565-1621)," Japanese Releigions 33, 1/2 (2008)
48. He also contributed to the production of Christian devotionals and taught members of the society Japanese.
49. Schrimpf, "Pro," 37.
50. Cf. Baskind, "Matter" Fukansai Fabian 不干斎ハビアン and Ebisawa, Myōtei; Ebisawa Arimichi 海老沢有道, ed., Nanbanji kōhaiki, Jakyō taii, Myōtei mondō, Ha Daiusu 南蛮寺興廃記・邪教大意・妙貞問答・破提宇子 (Tōkyō: Heibonsha, 1964); Fukansai Habian 不干斎ハビアン, Baskind and Bowring, Myōtei; Masamune Atsuo 正宗敦夫, ed., Myōtei mondō hadeusu kengiroku 妙貞問答・破提宇子・顕偽録 (Nagasaki-machi (Tōkyō-fu ): Nihon Koten Zenshū Kankōkai, 1930); Fumihiko Sueki, Myōtei mondō o yomu: Habian no Bukkyō hihan, Shohan (Kyōto-shi: Hōzōkan, 2014 [2014).
51. The most likely reason for his apostasy was the discrimination of Japanese within the Society of Jesus. As is well known, Francis' initial enthusiasm for Japan was rather short-lived. "The lack of an adequate understanding of the native culture and Japanese language led to an ineffectual early mission", as Baskind states. Subsequent missionaries, such as "Francisco Cabral (1529-1609) blamed this on the Japanese national character." Consequently, Cabral refused to "admit Japanese into the priesthood, a humiliating measure that kept Japanese irmaos in a subordinate position without the rights accorded to Europeans." Baskind, "Matter," 310.
52. Fukansai Fabian 不干斎ハビアン and Ebisawa, Myōtei, 10.
53. Ibid., 12.
56. Ibid., 14.
57. The Kengiroku 顯儀錄 is signed in the following way: "Citizen of the land of Portugal, Superior of the Fathers of Japan and Macao, Christovao Ferreira. After a change of religion, a member of the Zen sect. Chū'an (kai shūshi saku zenshū 改宗旨作禪宗 忠庵)." Ferreira, Christóvão [Sawano Chūan 沢野忠庵], "Kengiroku 顕偽録," in Myōtei mondō hadeusu kengiroku 妙貞問答・破提宇子・顕偽録, ed. Masamune Atsuo 正宗敦夫 (Nagasaki-machi (Tōkyō-fu ): Nihon Koten Zenshū Kankōkai, 1930), 25. Cf. Cieslik, "Case," 39.
58. Ferreira, Christóvão [Sawano Chūan 沢野忠庵], "Kengiroku," 25. His arguments are Confucian rather than Buddhist, probably at least partly due to the fact that his words were written down by a Confucian scholar: Sawano Chūan himself could not write Japanese, as he admits in the postscript to the Kengiroku. ibid.. Cieslik, "Case", 14.
59. Ferreira or Sawano Chū'an died in Nagasaki in 1650 under disputed circumstances. Another interesting figure in the process of cultural comparisons and translations is the Japanese convert P. Pedro Kasui (1587-1639). For more information see
60. Cieslik, "Case", 38
61. Elison, Deus, 300; Ferreira, Christóvão [Sawano Chūan 沢野忠庵], "Kengiroku", 8.
62. Edward Brerewood, Enquiries touching the diversity of languages, and religions through the chiefe parts of the world: Written by Edw. Brerewood lately professor of astronomy in Gresham Colledge in London, with the assistance of Robert Brerewood (Hrsg.) (London: John Bill, 1614)
63. Samuel Purchas, Purchas his pilgrimage. Or Relations of the vvorld and the religions obserued in all ages and places discouered, from the Creation vnto this present: In foure partes. This first containeth a theologicall and geographicall historie of Asia, Africa, and America, with the ilands adiacent. Declaring the ancient religions before the Floud ... With briefe descriptions of the countries, nations, states, discoueries, priuate and publike customes, and the most remarkable rarities of nature, or humane industrie, in the same. By Samuel Purchas, minister at Estwood in Essex (London: Henrie Fetherstone, 1613)
64. Alexander Ross, ΠΑΝΣΕΒΕΙΑ: Or, A view of all the religions in the world: with the severall church-governments, from the creation, to these times; together with a discovery of al known heresies (London: James Young for John Saywell, 1653)
65. Bernhardus Varenius, Tractatus in quo agitur. De Iapaniorum religione. De Christianae religionis introductione in ea loca. De ejusdem exstirpatione. Adj. est de diversa diversarium gentium totius telluris religione brevis informatio (Amstelodami: Elzevir, 1649). See also Alexander Ross and Bernhard Varenius (Heidelberg: Endter, 1668) Bernhard Varenius, "Brevis informatio de diversis gentium religionibus", in Bernhardi Vareni med. d. Descriptio regni Japoniae et Siam: Item de Japoniorum religione & Siamensium de diversis omnium gentium religionibus quibus, praemissãa dissertatione de variis rerum publicarum generibus, adduntur quaedam de priscorum, ed. Bernhard Varen (Cambridge: Joan. Hayes, 1673); Bernhardus Varenius, Descriptio regni Japoniae et Siam, Bernhardi Varenii tractatus de Japoniorum religione, de Christianae religionis introductione in ea loca, de ejusdem exstirpatione; Angeb (Amstelodami, 1649).
66. Cf. . In my view, the contribution of these authors to the formation of the comparative concept religion and to the establishment of a science of religion has hitherto been underestimated. There are only a few scholars, e.g. Stroumsa and Fitzgerald, who have properly acknowledged their importance-albeit from quite divergent perspectives-, while most representatives of our discipline do not pay much attention to anything that happened before the 19th century. Cf. Gedaliahu A. Guy Stroumsa, A New Science: The Discovery of Religion in the Age of Reason(Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 2010); Timothy Fitzgerald, "Samuel Purchas, His Pilgrimage," in Discourse on civility and barbarity: A critical history of religion and related categories, ed. Timothy Fitzgerald (New York: Oxford University Press, 2007).
67. Ernst Feil, for instance, in his bulky four-volume history of the term 'religion', does not even mention the cultural encounters of the 16th and 17th centuries and their literary treatment other than in a few footnotes, let alone their impact on the transformation of the descriptive category 'religion' into a comparative concept. .
68. Kiri Paramore, Ideology and Christianity in Japan, Routledge/Leiden series in modern East Asian politics and history 4 (London, New York: Routledge, 2009)
Shintō und die Konzeption des japanischen Nationalwesens (kokutai): Der religiöse Traditionalismus in Neuzeit und Moderne. Handbuch der Orientalistik; 5. Abt.: Japan; Bd. 8. Leiden, Boston, Köln: Brill, 1998.
Enquiries touching the diversity of languages, and religions through the chiefe parts of the world: Written by Edw. Brerewood lately professor of astronomy in Gresham Colledge in London. With the assistance of Robert Brerewood (Hrsg.). London: John Bill, 1614.
Lettres du Iappon, Peru et Brasil by Jesuits: Envoyees av R.P. General de la Societé de Iesus, par ceux de la dicte Societé qui s'employent en ces Regions, à la conversion des Gentils. Paris: Thomas Brumen, 1578.
Übersetzer und Dolmetscher: Theoretische Grundlagen, Ausbildung, Berufspraxis. Edited by Volker Kapp. 2., durchges. u. erw. Aufl., 61-71. UTB für Wissenschaft Uni-Taschenbücher Linguistik 325. München: Francke, 1984.
Religio: Zweiter Band: Die Geschichte eines neuzeitlichen Grundbegriffs zwischen Reformation und Rationalismus (ca. 1540-1620). 1. Aufl. Forschungen zur Kirchen- und Dogmengeschichte Band 070. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1997. http://dx.doi.org/10.13109/9783666551789.
不干斎ハビアン, James Baskind, and Richard John Bowring. The Myōtei dialogues: A Japanese Christian critique of native traditions. Numen book series. Studies in the history of relgions. Texts and sources in the history of religions volume 151. Leiden, Boston: Brill, 2016.
Daigaku Shuppankai, 2012.
Purchas his pilgrimage. Or Relations of the vvorld and the religions obserued in all ages and places discouered, from the Creation vnto this present: In foure partes. This first containeth a theologicall and geographicall historie of Asia, Africa, and America, with the ilands adiacent. Declaring the ancient religions before the Floud ... With briefe descriptions of the countries, nations, states, discoueries, priuate and publike customes, and the most remarkable rarities of nature, or humane industrie, in the same. By Samuel Purchas, minister at Estwood in Essex. London: Henrie Fetherstone, 1613.
In Religion im Spiegelkabinett: Asiatische Religionsgeschichte im Spannungsfeld zwischen Orientalismus und Okzidentalismus. Edited by Peter Schalk et al., 91-114. Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis: Historia Religionum 22. Uppsala: Uppsala University, 2003.
Roetz, Heiner. "The Influence of Foreign Knowledge on Eighteenth Century European Secularism." In Religion and Secularity: Transformations and Transfers of Religious Discourses in Europe and Asia. Edited by Marion Eggert and Lucian Hölscher, 9-34. Dynamics in the history of religions. Leiden: Brill, 2013.
ΠΑΝΣΕΒΕΙΑ: Or, A view of all the religions in the world: with the severall church-governments, from the creation, to these times; together with a discovery of al known heresies. London: James Young for John Saywell, 1653.
Bernhardi Vareni med. d. Descriptio regni Japoniae et Siam: Item de Japoniorum religione & Siamensium de diversis omnium gentium religionibus quibus, praemissãa dissertatione de variis rerum publicarum generibus, adduntur quaedam de priscorum. Edited by Bernhard Varen, 233-72. Cambridge: Joan. Hayes, 1673.
Tractatus in quo agitur. De Iapaniorum religione. De Christianae religionis introductione in ea loca. De ejusdem exstirpatione. Adj. est de diversa diversarium gentium totius telluris religione brevis informatio. Amstelodami: Elzevir, 1649.
Unterschiedliche Gottesdienste in in der gantzen Welt: Beschreibung aller bewusten Religionen, Sekten und Ketzereyen. Edited by Alexander Ross and Bernhard Varenius, 941-1040. Heidelberg: Endter, 1668.
. Monumenta Xaveriana, ex autographis vel ex antiquioribus exemplis collecta: Tomus Primus. Sancti Francisci Xaverii epistolas aliaque scripta complectens; quibus praemittitur ejus vita A P. Alexandro Valignano S. J. ex India Romam missa. Monumenta Historica Societatis Jesu. Roma: Matriti, 1899-1900