Religion: The Modern Theories

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Edinburgh University Press, 2003 - Godsdienst - 232 pages

A comprehensive and approachable introduction to social scientific theories of religion as they have developed in the twentieth century.

In the first section the groundwork is laid for the theories developed in the twentieth century, introducing the significant thinkers who have established some of the main avenues of discussion including Marx, Durkheim, Weber, Freud, Jung, and Otto.

The second section introduces the main approaches of the social scientific disciplines that study religion: sociological, psychological, phenomenological, feminist and anthropological.

The third section puts religion under the microscope, examining constituent elements such as ritual, symbolism and myth.

Throughout the author shows that theories and definitions need to be questioned and problematised, and concludes with suggestions for how new definitions of religion might be framed to provide more culturally sensitive and open-ended ways of understanding.

The introduction of key issues and thinkers in modern theories of religion make this an ideal text for all Religious Studies students.

Selling Points:

  • includes the four main modern approaches to religion - anthropological, sociological, psychological and feminist
  • each chapter includes an ethnographic case study to exemplify the issues raised
  • covers key themes such as symbolism, myth, ritual, theories of embodiment, identity, boundaries, Marxism, Feminism, ethnicity, science, and New Religious Movements

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About the author (2003)

Seth Kunin is Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities at the University of Durham. He is author of Religion: The Modern Theories (EUP, 2003).

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