In Comparing the incommensurate, Vincent Pecora builds on David Buckley’s recent inquiry about methods of comparison and the challenges that arise when these methods are inherently rooted in analyst “ethos”:
If my perspective on what rational comparison amounts to cannot be shared by those in the situations I am comparing, then what does it mean to compare anything in such a context, since the “frame” I construct for the comparison could itself always already be just “my” frame, and hence something that would in turn require a larger “frame” (but whence would it come?) to be properly understood?
Pecora asserts that the “question of ‘religion’ in a ‘post-secular’ age” is particularly potent in this debate, and that the modernist practice of “methodologically stepping back” echoes the “secular reason that dominates the Western Academy.”
Cautioning against an “unending reiteration of the problem,” or an altogether disregard of its importance, Pecora suggests that comparison of religious systems should be pursued “on the widest possible historical grounds,” with sufficient attentiveness to the “‘frame’ dilemma” from the outset.