Modes Of Religiosity / Edition 1

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Religions - whatever else they may be - are configurations of cultural information reproduced across space and time. Beginning with this seemingly obvious fact of religious transmission, Harvey Whitehouse goes on to construct a testable theory of how religions are created, passed on, and changed. At the center of his theory are two divergent 'modes of religiosity': the imagistic and the doctrinal. Drawing from recent advances in cognitive science, Whitehouse's theory shows how religions tend to coalesce around one of these two poles depending on how religious behaviors are remembered. Are you tired of the flood of descriptions and interpretations of religions which offer no clear strategy for evaluation, comparison, and testing? Modes of Religiosity can provide you with a new way to think when you think about religion.
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Editorial Reviews

— E.O. Springsted, General Theological Seminary
International Review Of Biblical Studies
An important book on ritual theory.
For the specialist in religious studies as well as the scholar willing to venture into a different aspect of this discipline, there is no doubt on the part of this reviewer that careful attention to Whitehouse' text, theory and arguments will pay large dividends.
Mary Douglas
Harvey Whitehouse's Modes of Religiosity is very serious, part of a new movement that challenges everything that is usually written about religiosity.
CHOICE - E.O. Springsted
May 2008 History Of Religions
This book is wide-ranging and is a valuable contribution to the study of religion.
Steven Mithen
In his ambitious new book, Harvey Whitehouse develops his influential 'modes of religiosity' theory, robustly defends it against his critics and bravely provides predictions to be tested against the world's religions, past and present. It is a huge step forward in our understanding of religion—the most curious, creative, and at times deeply destructive, force that resides within the human mind.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780759106154
  • Publisher: AltaMira Press
  • Publication date: 5/28/2004
  • Series: Cognitive Science of Religion Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 208
  • Product dimensions: 5.92 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.55 (d)

Meet the Author

Harvey Whitehouse is professor of anthropology and director of postgraduate studies in the Faculty of Humanities at Queen's University Belfast. He is co-editor, with Luther H. Martin, of the AltaMira 'Cognitive Science of Religion Series'. His previous books include Inside the Cult: Religious Innovation and Transmission in Papua New Guinea (1995, OUP), Arguments and Icons: Divergent Modes of Religiosity, (2000, OUP), and The Debated Mind: Evolutionary Psychology versus Ethnography (2001 Berg).

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Table of Contents

Pt. I Cognition and religious transmission
Ch. 1 First principles for explaining religion and ritual 15
Ch. 2 Cognitively optimal religion 29
Ch. 3 Cognitively costly religion 49
Pt. II The theory of modes of religiosity
Ch. 4 The theory of modes of religiosity 63
Ch. 5 Ritual and meaning in the doctrinal mode 87
Ch. 6 Ritual and meaning in the imagistic mode 105
Ch. 7 Religious enthusiasm and its limits 119
Pt. III Theoretical and empirical challenges
Ch. 8 Theoretical challenges 139
Ch. 9 Empirical challenges 157
Epilogue : cumulative theory building in the cognitive science of religion 171
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