The coherence and character of the humanities: A reply to critics

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    In this issue of Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science, Donald Drakeman, Peter Harrison, Douglas Ottati, Michael Ruse, and Lisa Stenmark reflect on Willem B. Drees, What Are the Humanities For? In my response to Harrison, I argue that the humanities do form a coherent domain, shaped by two fundamental orientations—the quest to understand fellow humans and self-involvement. In response to Ruse, I defend my definition of the humanities as neither too wide nor too narrow. With Ottati, I concur that institutional proximity of religious studies and theology is beneficial to both. Against Stenmark, who considers my approach typically Western, I challenge the distinction she makes. Her contribution confirms what Drakeman writes, that ambitions about “value-free” scholarship are controversial. His own contribution makes clear that this aspiration is necessary to serve the well-being of peoples around the world. These five responses to my book provide an opportunity to reflect on my proposal for envisaging the humanities.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)746-757
    Number of pages12
    JournalZygon: Journal of Religion and Science
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 23 Sept 2021


    • humanities
    • Religious studies
    • scholarship
    • theology
    • value-free


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