A Relational Model of Tradition

Tradition - A Critical Primer - Steven Engler

Steven Engler [+-]
Mount Royal University
Steven Engler is professor of Religious Studies at Mount Royal University in Calgary, Canada. He teaches a variety of courses and research popular Catholicism, Umbanda, Kardecist Spiritism and related spirit-incorporation religions in Brazil, as well as theories and methodology in the study of religions.


This chapter will argue that tradition is best thought of in terms of a family of oppositions (ancient/modern, received/invented, imitative/creative, static/dynamic, unitary/plural, universal/particular, continuous/discontinuous etc.) that do their ideological work through alignment with various normative distinctions (true/false, authentic/inauthentic, orthodox/heterodox etc.). The goal is to further undermine essentialist views of the concept. (Various examples will trace relations between these ideas of the sociological categories of authority drawn from Weber: priest vs. prophet.)

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Engler, Steven. A Relational Model of Tradition. Tradition - A Critical Primer. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. Oct 2024. ISBN 9781781799086. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=38404. Date accessed: 29 Mar 2023 doi: 10.1558/equinox.38404. Oct 2024

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