Are you looking for a way to think through what it takes for a local idea to spread worldwide and be adopted globally — an idea such as the now taken-for-granted assumption that the world has such things in it as religions, which exist in a variety of (as Wilfred Cantwell Smith once phrased it) major or minor forms that, mostly, end in the suffix -ism?
Well, look no further than the marketing campaign for W. W. Norton’s new anthology of world religions readings. I can only imagine how much money is up for grabs in the textbook/anthology market to prompt them to invest the sort of budget they must have in promoting it. (I also can’t imagine the permissions budget they established to acquire the rights to all of the reprints it includes.) Continue reading