The Cambridge Companion to Religious Studies

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The Cambridge Companion to Religious Studies is both informative and provocative, introducing readers to key debates in the contemporary study of religion and suggesting future research possibilities. A group of distinguished scholars takes up some of the most pressing theoretical questions in the field. What is a 'religious tradition'? How are religious texts read? What takes place when a religious practitioner stands before a representation of gods or goddesses, ghosts, ancestors, saints, and other special beings? What roles is religion playing in contemporary global society? The volume emphasizes religion as a lived practice, stressing that people have used and continue to use religious media to engage the circumstances of their lives. This underlying conviction provides a realistic perspective on religion, and the volume's essays engage with real-world religious practices. The volume's essays should prove valuable and interesting to a broad audience, including scholars in the humanities and social sciences and a general readership, as well as students of religious studies.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Not since Mark Taylor's Critical Terms for Religious Studies (1998) has the study of religion had such a representative intellectual gathering and importantly critical representation of the field."
American Catholic Studies

"… an excellent addition to a college or university library that supports religious studies, cultural studies or social anthropology …"
Christine Love-Rodgers, Reference Reviews

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521710145
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 1/31/2012
  • Series: Cambridge Companions to Religion Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 380
  • Sales rank: 1,134,675
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert A. Orsi is Professor of Religious Studies and History and G. Craddock Nagle Professor of Catholic Studies at Northwestern University. He is the author of several prize-winning books, including The Madonna of 115th Street: Faith and Community in Italian Harlem, 1880–1950, 3rd edition (2010); Thank You, Saint Jude: Women's Devotions to the Patron Saint of Hopeless Causes (1996) and Between Heaven and Earth: The Religious Worlds People Make and the Scholars Who Study Them (2005).
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Table of Contents

Introduction Robert A. Orsi; Part I. Religion and Religious Studies: The Irony of Inheritance: 1. On sympathy, suspicion, and studying religion: historical reflections on a doubled inheritance Leigh E. Schmidt; 2. Thinking about religion, belief and politics Talal Asad; 3. Special things as building blocks of religions Ann Taves; 4. The problem of the holy Robert A. Orsi; Part II. Major Theoretical Problems: 5. Social order or social chaos Michael J. Puett; 6. Tradition: the power of constraint Michael L. Satlow; 7. The text and the world Anne M. Blackburn; 8. On the role of normativity in religious studies Thomas A. Lewis; 9. Translation Martin Kavka; 10. Material religion Matthew Engelke; 11. Theology and the study of religion: a relationship Christine Helmer; Part III. Methodological Variations: 12. Buddhism and violence Bernard Faure; 13. Practicing religions Courtney Bender; 14. The look of the sacred David Morgan; 15. Reforming culture: law and religion today Winnifred Fallers Sullivan; 16. Sexing religion R. Marie Griffith; 17. Constituting ethical subjectivities Leela Prasad; 18. Neo-Pentecostalism and globalization Marla Frederick; 19. Religious criticism, secular critique, and the 'critical study of religion': lessons from the study of Islam Noah Salomon and Jeremy F. Walton.
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