Religion: The Modern Theories
Over the course of the twentieth century, thinkers from Marx and Weber to Freud, Jung, and Campbell have transformed the way we understand the religious experience. Within the field of religious studies, various intellectual approaches -- from feminism to phenomenology -- have further shaped the ways in which scholars examine rituals, symbols, and belief systems. In Religion: The Modern Theories, Seth D. Kunin provides an accessible yet comprehensive introduction to the social-scientific theories of religion that developed during the twentieth century, explaining the most significant theories of religion and their precursors.
Kunin begins with a detailed discussion of the century's major theorists of religion, their ideas, and their influence, among them Marx, Durkheim, Weber, Freud, Jung, and Otto. He next explores how various disciplines -- sociology, psychology, phenomenology, gender studies, and anthropology -- have affected the study of religion. Kunin then analyzes the constituent elements of religion itself: ritual, symbolism, and myth. Throughout, the author emphasizes the need to question and reassess accepted theories and definitions of religion, and he concludes with suggestions for framing new definitions of religion that provide more culturally sensitive and open-ended ways of understanding.
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Karl Marx and Cultural Materialism
Emile Durkheim and Functionalism
Sigmund Freud and the Psychological Tradition
The Idea of the Holy
Phenomenology and the History of Religion
Feminism Gender and Religion