Studying Religion : An Introduction, Paperback / softback Book

Studying Religion : An Introduction Paperback / softback

Paperback / softback

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Widely used as a primer, a class text, or just a provocation to critical thinking, Studying Religion clearly explains the methods and theories employed in the academic study of religion by tackling the problem of how scholars define and then study religion.

Written for all newcomers to the field, its brief chapters explore the three main ways in which religion is defined and, along the way, also consider a range of related topics, from the history and functions of religion to its public discourse, religion in the courts, and the classification of diverse groups into world religions. The works of classic and contemporary scholars—from Karl Marx and Sigmund Freud to Bruce Lincoln and Naomi Goldenberg—are analyzed and explored in readable chapters and detailed supporting materials.

Studying Religion represents a shift away from the traditional descriptive and comparative approach and, instead, uses the study of religion to invite readers to consider how they divide up, name, and come to know the world around them. This edition also includes a new final chapter, Identification Matters, adding to the case studies included throughout this book to present a collection of contemporary instances where different approaches to defining and studying religion make it possible to study other issues of contemporary relevance, including those involving gender, race, and the rights of indigenous peoples.

The new chapter makes explicit the practical topics of identity and status that have always been implicit throughout the entire book, bringing into the classroom a wide variety of timely and relevant topics that can be better understood by its approach.

This book therefore remains invaluable to all students of religious studies—whether in the introductory class or as an example of an alternative way of approaching the field.

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