Exhibit Location: The Joseph Regenstein Library, Fourth Floor
Exhibit Dates: March 16 – May 31, 2015
“What’s interesting in the uniqueness of everything? Uniqueness has to be related to something that is shared in order to become really interesting.” Martin Riesebrodt defended both the possibility of a universal definition of religion and the ability and importance of critical comparisons across religions. This at a time when the fields of Religion and Sociology were questioning comparative approaches. Trained in anthropology and sociology, he began his career as an associate director of the Max Weber Archives and one of the editors of a German critical edition of Weber’s work, Max Weber-Gesamtausgabe.
He joined the faculty at the Divinity School in 1990, with a joint appointment in the Department of Sociology. Riesebrodt is credited with reintroducing the relevance of the Weberian approach in Sociology. He is probably best known for his work on his theory of fundamentalism as a reassertion of patriarchal power structures in Pious Passion: The Emergence of Modern Fundamentalism in the United States and Iran (University of California Press, 1993; German original 1990). In his retirement, he taught at the Graduate Institute in Geneva as the Yves Oltramare Chair for Religion and Politics. Dr. Riesebrodt died December 6, 2014, of cancer in Berlin. He was 66.