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The historical conditions surrounding the processes of forming a canon are rarely examined directly, yet it is these processes which govern over the realm of religious representations and identity constructions. In light of recent critical scholarship, it is imperative to address theologically the role that the canon plays within a religious tradition. This essay demonstrates the cultural necessity of canonical forms despite their “monotheistic tendency” to subdivide the world into binary oppositions. By utilizing a scale of violence to determine the impact of the canonical form upon culture this essay offers an account of canons and their role in forming religious identities over and beyond the violence they are said to provoke. Through this clarification, an alternative perspective of canons can emerge that reveals the violence at the core of cultural-canonical norms, thus providing a valuable distinction between differing (violence-concealing or violence-revealing) canonical forms.



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College Theology Society


Author Posting. © College Theology Society, 2013. This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here by permission of Cambridge University Press for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Horizons, Volume 40, Issue 1, June 2013,

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.