A Theory of Religion

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Rutgers University Press, 1996 - Religion - 386 pages
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Winner of the 1993 Distinguished Book Award, Pacific Sociological Association "A major work in three different areas of sociology, [A Theory of Religion] is a model of how to build a systematic theory, a leading accomplishment of the rational choice school, and a comprehensive theory of religion. . . . It is a sobering as well as penetrating vision. [This] book deserves a great deal of attention, both in the sociology of religion and in wider realms of social theory."--Randall Collins, Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion "The value of [this book] lies in the distance it carries sociology toward a scientific theory of religion and in the sustained rigor of its deductive application. It is a 'must read' for anyone interested in the scientific study of religion or the formal axiomatization of sociology."--Thomas Ryba, Zygon "Stark and Bainbridge have made pioneering and enduring efforts in writing this book, and to a large extent they have been successful in their attempt to explain deductively why and how the phenomena of religion occur."--K. Peter Takayama, Journal of Church and State In this unique text, Stark and Bainbridge begin with basic statements about human nature and, employing the principles of logic and philosophy, build toward increasingly complex propositions about societies and their religious institutions. They provide a rigorous yet flexible sociological theory or religion as well as a general sociological model for deriving macrolevel theory from microlevel evidence. Rodney Stark is a professor of sociology and of comparative religion at the University of Washington and co-author of The Churching of America, 1776-2005: Winners and Losers in Our Religious Economy (Rutgers University Press). William Sims Bainbridge is director of the sociology program at the National Science Foundation and author of Goals in Space: American Values and the Future of Technology.

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