Chapters 5 and 6 move from genealogy to analysis, with the aim of dismantling the category “Abrahamic religions.” Chapter 5 begins this process by turning to the intimate connections that develop between disciplinary formation and words. Where do the words, for example, that we employ to analyze data that we regard as “religious” come from? How do such words help (and hinder) our ability to understand? What is gained (and lost) from our use of generic terms such as “Abrahamic religions”? The argument of this chapter is that we put far too much stock in generic and essentialist terms with the result that we lose sight of the variations subsumed under them.
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