Religion: The Modern Theories / Edition 1

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Overview

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.

About the author:
Seth D. Kunin is the head of the School of Divinity, Religious Studies, and Philosophy at the University of Aberdeen. He is coeditor of A Companion to Religious Studies and Theology; editor of Judaism: Themes in Religious Studies; and author of God's Place in the World and The Logic of Incest: A Structural Analysis of Hebrew Mythology.

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Editorial Reviews

Douglas J. Davies
This introductory textbook is both challenging and rewarding. It covers in three parts a wider span of academic disciplines than is usually the case. Useful as an undergraduate text, though many a new postgraduate would do well to read it for an overview of religious studies.
University of Durham
Neil Gillman
A splendid textbook for an undergraduate course in religion and eminently accessible to the sophisticated lay reader. A significant contribution to the field and a major contribution to the teaching of religion.
Jewish Theological Seminary of America
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801877285
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
  • Publication date: 8/1/2003
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 232
  • Product dimensions: 6.36 (w) x 9.18 (h) x 0.55 (d)

Meet the Author

Seth D. Kunin is the head of the School of Divinity, Religious Studies, and Philosophy at the University of Aberdeen. He is coeditor of A Companion to Religious Studies and Theology; editor of Judaism: Themes in Religious Studies; and author of God's Place in the World and The Logic of Incest: A Structural Analysis of Hebrew Mythology.

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Table of Contents

Introduction
Pt. I Setting the Agenda
1 Karl Marx and Cultural Materialism 6
2 Emile Durkheim and Functionalism 16
3 Max Weber 35
4 Sigmund Freud and the Psychological Tradition 44
5 Rudolf Otto: The Idea of the Holy 62
Pt. II Continuing the Discussion
6 Sociology, Methodological Atheism and Secularisation 73
7 Psychological Approaches 100
8 Phenomenology and the History of Religion 116
9 Feminism, Gender and Religion 137
10 Anthropological Approaches to Religion 149
11 Some Final Words 171
Pt. III Taking the Discussion in Different Directions
12 Ritual 186
13 Symbolism 194
14 Myth 213
15 Last Words 220
Bibliography 223
Index 229
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