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About Wesley

Cross-Cultural Comparative Religious Ideas Project (CRIP)


Project Description
Project Team

Project Description

Comparison is ubiquitous in the study of religion. It is involved in explicit comparisons, of course, but also in translation of texts and even in the describing of religious practices and ideas from other cultures. Comparison always occurs in some respect and these respects of comparisons are comparative categories. Deny it or love it, everyone studying religion is involved in using comparative categories.

There are a lot of obvious questions to ask about comparative categories. Are they discovered or invented? Can some be better than others? Can comparison be made rigorous and systematic by paying close attention to the categories we use? Can a systematic set of comparative categories be developed in such a way as to determine a theory of religion?

CRIP sets out to answer these and other questions by pursuing a two-fold research agenda. First, the project aims to locate some useful comparative categories and to use them for comparing important religious ideas. Second, the project aims to implement and test a complex method for conducting comparisons.

The project members are of several sorts. There are specialists in major religious traditions (Haq, Clooney, Eckel, Kohn, Fredriksen, Saldarini), each of whom is assigned a graduate student research assistant. There are also generalists in religious studies and theorists of comparison (Neville, Berger, Berthrong, Wildman). Then there are advisors and other people who helped keep the project on track with their wisdom. The point of such diversity was to encourage specialists to make and take responsibility for their comparisons while forcing generalists to relate their abstract theories about religion and comparison to the concrete details of particular traditions.

Project Team

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The Crosscultural Comparative Religious Ideas Project Team
Standing, left to right: John Berthrong, Noman al Haq, Frank Clooney, David Eckel, Robert Neville. Seated, left to right: Livia Kohn, Paula Fredriksen, Tony Saldarini.
Not shown: Peter Berger, Wesley Wildman.


The three volumes of the Crosscultural Comparative Religious Ideas Project appeared with SUNY Press in 2001.

Volume 1: The Human Condition

Volume 2: Ultimate Realities

Volume 3: Religious Truth

William Blake, Web of Religion

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