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Santa Clara Lecturer, 4 February 2001

Santa Clara Lecturer, 4 February 2001

Who Owns Tradition? Religion and the Messiness of History

Catherine Bell, 4 February 2001

The question of "who owns a tradition" is not a new one, but it is being debated today more clearly and more widely than ever before. It asks who gets to define a tradition, who speaks for it, whose interpretation is authoritative and, quite practically, whose books to read about it. And with all these questions, are we asking whose definition is more correct, more legitimate or, perhaps, simply more dominant?

Who Owns Tradition? Religion and the Messiness of History

The question of "who owns a tradition" is not a new one, but it is being debated today more clearly and more widely than ever before. It asks who gets to define a tradition, who speaks for it, whose interpretation is authoritative and, quite practically, whose books to read about it. And with all these questions, are we asking whose definition is more correct, more legitimate or, perhaps, simply more dominant?

Santa Clara Lecture, Winter 2001