Tradition Deferred

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 argues that the central ideological effects of tradition are achieved by framing framing beliefs, practices, institutions etc. as independent from intentional agency: i.e., as passed down unchanging, not as constructed, negotiated, modified, etc. Strong parallels with the work of ritual will be briefly explored. This highlights the gap between tradition as social and cultural construct and tradition as unaltered gift from the past, from a trans-historical origin, from a deity, etc. The goal is to point out that this gap offers a privileged site within which conceptions of the sacred, the divine, etc. can be projected or constructed. (The main example here will be Orthodox Christianity.)

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Engler, Steven. Tradition Deferred. Tradition - A Critical Primer. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. Oct 2022. ISBN 9781781799086. Date accessed: 23 Sep 2021 doi: 10.1558/equinox.38406. Oct 2022

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