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Roman Religion$
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Clifford Ando

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780748615650

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748615650.001.0001

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On Comparison

On Comparison

(p.23) 1 On Comparison
Roman Religion

Jonathan Z. Smith


This chapter deals with the question of the ‘unique’. The ‘unique’ is an attribute that must be disposed of, especially when linked to some notion of incomparable value, if progress in thinking through the enterprise of comparison is to be made. The most frequent use of the terminology of the ‘unique’ in studying religion is in relation to Christianity; its most frequent within Christianity is in relation to the so-called ‘Christ-event’. The uniqueness of the ‘Christ-event’, which usually encodes the death and resurrection of Jesus, is a double claim. On the ontological level, it is a statement of the absolutely alien nature of the divine protagonist (monogenes) and the unprecedented (and paradoxical) character of his self-disclosure; on the historical level, it is an assertion of the radical incomparability of the Christian ‘proclamation’ with respect to the ‘environment’.

Keywords:   comparison, religion, Christianity, Christ, event, uniqueness, death, resurrection, protagonist, environment

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