Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Comparative Religion

First Advisor

Dr. Kevin J. Wanner

Second Advisor

Dr. Brian Wilson

Third Advisor

Dr. Timothy Light

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Campus Only


My research is an examination of the relationship between religious pluralism and the academic study of religion. The initial goal of this Masters Thesis is to consider the influence of neo-Vedanta on the formation of modem religious pluralism and the Western approach to the study of religion. Once this objective is completed I will analyze critiques of the modem pluralist agenda and attempt to determine whether or not religious pluralism should in any way be associated with the academic study of religion. Thus, this study is fundamentally a research paper that examines opposing viewpoints.

The debate about the status of religious pluralism within the academic study of religion promises to remain a hotly contested topic and my hope is that this research will in some way add fuel to the fire. The precise character of the study of religion within the university is a subject which has captured the attention of numerous scholars because of its significance as well as its ambiguity. Many in the academic world are calling for a unified methodology for the study of religion untainted by ideology or theology. In particular, there is a growing demand that ecumenical theology be disassociated from the study of religion. This research will attempt to demonstrate why ecumenical theology, despite its long-standing and intimate relationship with the academic study of religion, should not be part of the purpose of religious studies.

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