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Aesthetics and Analysis in Writing on ReligionModern Fascinations$
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Daniel Gold

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780520236134

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520236134.001.0001

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Aesthetic Objects and Objective Knowledge

Aesthetic Objects and Objective Knowledge

(p.113) Chapter 7 Aesthetic Objects and Objective Knowledge
Aesthetics and Analysis in Writing on Religion

Daniel Gold

University of California Press

This chapter examines the relevance of some of the aesthetic concepts to scientific ones, pursuing ways in which the religiohistorical objects created by interpretive writers seem objective in a scientific sense. In realist philosophies, objectivity generally denotes a reality distinct from the subject, but in common usage the term is also employed in three other senses important for religious studies: descriptive, procedural, and dialogic. Procedural and especially dialogic objectivity are normally taken as qualities not only of scholarly work but also of scholars. As qualities of people, these two senses of objectivity can become criteria for judging the integrity with which our aesthetically informed religiohistorical objects are crafted—criteria readily comprehensible within constructivist assumptions about mind and world. The subjectivities of the interpretive writers render objectivity to their works. These subjectivities, in turn, become crucial to some persistent problems of religiohistorical creation and judgment.

Keywords:   aesthetic concepts, religiohistorical objects, descriptive objectivity, procedural objectivity, dialogic objectivity

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