1. J.Z. and Me

Thinking with J. Z. Smith - Mapping Methods in the Study of Religion - Barbara Krawcowicz

Aaron W. Hughes [+-]
University of Rochester
Aaron W. Hughes is the Dean’s Professor of the Humanities and the Philip S. Bernstein Professor in the Department of Religion and Classics at the University of Rochester. His research and publications focus on both Jewish philosophy and Islamic Studies. He has authored numerous books, including Situating Islam: The Past and Future of an Academic Discipline (Equinox, 2007); Theorizing Islam: Disciplinary Deconstruction and Reconstruction (Equinox, 2012); Muslim Identities: An Introduction to Islam (Columbia, 2012); and Abrahamic Religions: On the Uses and Abuses of History (Oxford, 2012). He currently serves as the editor of the journal Method and Theory in the Study of Religion.


In the opening chapter of this book, Aaron W. Hughes answers the question of whether scholars should continue (or start) to think with J. Z. Smith with a resounding yes. What exactly does that mean, however? In Hughes’s view, Smith “encourages us to be aware of how our selves get in the ways of what we do and study, often in ways that we might not expect” and that “he forces us to become aware of where and how the questions and issues we tap—and all too often simply replicate—are neither innocent nor value-neutral.” This is the foundation of what Hughes calls “Smithian self-consciousness”: that we become cognizant of and then “reveal, to ourselves and to others, the structures that often lay dormant and that silently lurk behind our analyses and those of others.”

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Hughes, Aaron. 1. J.Z. and Me. Thinking with J. Z. Smith - Mapping Methods in the Study of Religion. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. Jul 2023. ISBN 9781781799840. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=39923. Date accessed: 03 Dec 2022 doi: 10.1558/equinox.39923. Jul 2023

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