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Understanding Theories of Religion: An Introduction, 2nd Edition

Understanding Theories of Religion: An Introduction, 2nd Edition

Ivan Strenski

ISBN: 978-1-118-45772-6

Feb 2015, Wiley-Blackwell

280 pages

$37.99

Description

Featuring comprehensive updates and additions, the second edition of Understanding Theories of Religion explores the development of major theories of religion through the works of classic and contemporary figures.

• A new edition of this introductory text exploring the core methods and theorists in religion, spanning the sixteenth-century through to the latest theoretical trends
• Features an entirely new section covering religion and postmodernism; race, sex, and gender; and religion and postcolonialism
• Examines the development of religious theories through the work of classic and contemporary figures from the history of anthropology, sociology, psychology, philosophy, and theology
• Reveals how the study of religion evolved in response to great cultural conflicts and major historical events
• Student-friendly features include chapter introductions and summaries, biographical vignettes, a timeline, a glossary, and many other learning aids

 

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Preface to the Second Edition: Understanding, Instead of Just Thinking vii

1 Introduction: Understanding Theories of Religion Is Better than Just Being Critical 1

Part I The Prehistory of the Study of Religion: Responses to an Expanding World 7

2 Jean Bodin and Herbert of Cherbury: True Religion, Essential Religion, and Natural Religion 9

3 Understanding Religion Also Began with Trying to Understand the Bible 19

Part II Classic Nineteenth-Century Theorists of the Study of Religion: The Quest for the Origins of Religion in History 31

4 Max Müller, the Comparative Study of Religion, and the Search for Other Bibles in India 33

5 The Shock of the “Savage”: Edward Burnett Tylor, Evolution, and Spirits 45

6 The Religion of the Bible Evolves: William Robertson Smith 55

7 Setting the Eternal Templates of Salvation: James Frazer 65

Part III Classic Twentieth-Century Theorists of the Study of Religion: Defending the Inner Sanctum of Religious Experience or Storming It 75

8 Understanding How to Understand Religion: “Phenomenology of Religion” 77

9 How Religious Experience Created Capitalism: Max Weber 93

10 Tales from the Underground: Freud and the Psychoanalytic Origins of Religion 106

11 Bronislaw Malinowski and the “Sublime Folly” of Religion 118

12 Seeing God with the Social Eye: Durkheim’s Religious Sociology 129

13 Mircea Eliade: Turning Back the “Worm of Doubt” 142

Part IV Liberation and Post-Modernism: Race, Gender, Post-Colonialism, the Discourse on Power 155

14 From Modernism to Post-Modernism: Mostly Michel Foucault 157

15 Theorizing Religion with Race in Mind: Prophecy or Curiosity? 171

16 Sex/Gender and Women: Feminists Theorizing Religion 189

17 Another “Otherness”: Post-Colonial Theories of Religion 216

18 Conclusion: Being “Smart” about Bringing “Religion” Back In 241

Index 254