Religions in Practice / Edition 6

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Examines religious practices from an anthropological perspective

Religions in Practice, 6/e, offers an issues-oriented perspective on everyday religious behaviors – prayer, sacrifice, initiation, healing, etc. – by focusing on such topics as transnationalism, gender, and religious laws. The text examines a full spectrum of religions, from small-scale societies to major, established religions. The in-depth treatment of Islam, Hinduism, and Christianity is particularly noteworthy and easily supplemented with field projects directly related to the text.

MySearchLab is a part of the Bowen program. Research and writing tools, including access to academic journals, help students explore religion in even greater depth. To provide students with flexibility, students can download the eText to a tablet using the free Pearson eText app.

NOTE: MySearchLab does not come automatically packaged with this text. To purchase the text with MySearchLab, order the package ISBN:

0205961045 / 9780205961047 Religions in Practice Plus MySearchLab with Pearson eText -- Access Card Package

Package consists of:

0205239927 / 9780205239924 MySearchLab with Pearson eText -- Valuepack Access Card

0205917666 / 9780205917662 Religions in Practice

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Bowen's Religions in Practice provides a very compelling introduction to the anthropology of religion, integrating theoretical discussions with ethnographic material from a wide range of societies, especially Islam in its diverse manifestations. While covering traditional topics like magic, witchcraft, and spiritual healing, the book also breaks new ground by covering ultra-contemporary political issues like migration, nationalism, transnationalism, law, and secularism.”

- Sean O'Neill, University of Oklahoma

“An excellent introduction to Anthropology of Religion. It lays out the issues clearly, describes different theoretical approaches, and illustrates its points with lots of examples.”

- Mark Webb , Texas Tech University

“An eclectic book build around the practice of the world religions.”

- Derrick Lemons, the University of Georgia

“Its coverage of a range of issues and phenomena is first-rate. A thorough and very useful textbook, with particularly helpful attention to theory, method, and non-Western religious phenomena.”

- James Findlay , California State University Northridge

“Clear, anthropologically oriented discussion of the study of religion”

- Eric Rovie , Georgia Perimeter College-Newton Campus

“It is a clearly written, comprehensive text on the anthropology of religion that focuses primarily on religion as practice rather than as a belief system. It is current and includes important topics relevant to the modern situation. It is well-balanced in terms of the presentation of theory/concepts and case examples.”

- Frances Purifoy, University of Louisville

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780205917662
  • Publisher: Pearson
  • Publication date: 6/13/2013
  • Edition number: 6
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 115,214
  • Product dimensions: 6.90 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

John R. Bowen is the Dunbar-Van Cleve Professor in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, and recurrent Visiting Professor at the London School of Economics. He has been studying Islam and society in Indonesia since the late 1970s, and since 2001 has worked in France, England, and North America on problems of pluralism, law, and religion, and in particular on contemporary efforts to rethink Islamic norms and civil law. He also writes regularly for The Boston Review. His current two research projects concern sharia and civil law in England, and Islamic courts and property disputes in Indonesia.

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Table of Contents

In this Section:
1) Brief Table of Contents

2) Full Table of Contents


Chapter 1: Studying Religion through Practice

Chapter 2: The Twin Transformations of “Religion”

Chapter 3: Domains and Boundaries of Religion

Chapter 4: Rituals of Transition

Chapter 5: Healing through Religion

Chapter 6: Sorcery, Witchcraft, and Modernity

Chapter 7: Worship, Hierarchy, Conflict: Focus on Hinduism

Chapter 8: Imagery and Faith: Focus on Catholicism

Chapter 9: Transatlantic Religion

Chapter 10: Boundaries and Selves in Orthodox Judaism

Chapter 11: Speech and Grace in Protestantism

Chapter 12: New Religious Movements

Chapter 13: Revelation and Authority in Islam

Chapter 14: Migration and Adaptation: Focus on Muslims in Europe

Chapter 15: Virtual Religion

Chapter 16: Secularisms and Religions in Modern States


Chapter 1: Studying Religion through Practice

What Is “Religion”?

An Anthropological Approach to Religion

Practices, Contexts, Diversity

Chapter 2: The Twin Transformations of “Religion”

Axial Age Transformations

Enlightenment Transformations

Social Theory and the Anthropology of Religion

Chapter 3: Domains and Boundaries of Religion

Combining Religious Practices in Japan

The State and Religion

Imposed Definitions of Religion

Chapter 4: Rituals of Transition

Rites of Passage

The Pilgrimage to Mecca

Death Rituals and Society

Regenerating Life from Death

Grief and Ritual Form

Chapter 5: Healing through Religion

Narratives and Healing

Modern Magic in Japanese New Religions

What does Science say about Prayer?

Chapter 6: Sorcery, Witchcraft, and Modernity

African Sorcery and Witchcraft

Sorcery and Modernity

Puritan Witchcraft

Chapter 7: Worship, Hierarchy, Conflict: Focus on Hinduism

Sacrifice, Offerings, and Deities

Bathing at Benares

Muslim—Hindu Violence

Chapter 8: Imagery and Faith: Focus on Catholicism

Relics and Images

Mary in European Societies

Chapter 9: Transatlantic Religion

Mary in Mesoamerica

Africa and Brazil across the Atlantic

Black Carib Religion in Honduras and New York City

Chapter 10: Boundaries and Selves in Orthodox Judaism

Taboos and Community in Judaism

Ultra-Orthodox Jewish Communities

Growing Up Orthodox

Chapter 11: Speech and Grace in Protestantism

The Letter and the Spirit of Scripture

Singing and Certainty among U.S. Primitive Baptists

Charismatic and Pentecostal Churches

Encounters and Conversions

Chapter 12: New Religious Movements

Revitalization Movements

Land, Wealth, and Religious Visions

Cults, Recruitment, and Violence

Why Do People Join Violent Movements?

Chapter 13: Revelation and Authority in Islam

The Qur’ân as Recitation of God’s Speech


Interpretations of Sacrifice

Chapter 14: Migration and Adaptation: Focus on Muslims in Europe

Migration and Transnational Ties

Adapting Sacrifice to France

Can European Societies Be Muslim?

Chapter 15: Virtual Religion

What Can You Do Online?

Information, Communication, and Performance

Experience and Community

Comparative Communities

Chapter 16: Secularisms and Religions in Modern States

How to Think about “Secular States”

Religion and Public Life in the United States

Three European Variants

When Religion Underlies Law

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