Thinking about Religion: An Historical Introduction to Theories of Religion / Edition 1by Ivan Strenski
Pub. Date: 02/21/2006
Is the Bible unique and flawless divine revelation? Or is it an historical human document subject to criticism? Is religious experience a link to the divine? Or is it a product of social pressure or psychological malformation? This book tells the story of how and why classic theorists have posed such questions, and how the theories and methods of religious studies
Is the Bible unique and flawless divine revelation? Or is it an historical human document subject to criticism? Is religious experience a link to the divine? Or is it a product of social pressure or psychological malformation? This book tells the story of how and why classic theorists have posed such questions, and how the theories and methods of religious studies arose as attempts to answer them.
Engaging with leading figures from the history of anthropology, sociology, psychology, philosophy, and theology, the author traces the study of religion back to the sixteenth century. He reveals how the discipline evolved in response to great cultural conflicts and major historical events, such as the discovery of prehistoric cultures in the caves and ruins of Neolithic Europe and the colonial encounter with the ‘higher’ civilizations of India and China. He also examines the influence of inner experience, tackling issues such as human survival and wish-fulfillment.
Along with the accompanying Thinking about Religion: A Reader, this book offers a complete resource for introductory students of religious studies.
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Table of Contents
Introduction: Thinking about Religion, Instead of Just Believing.
Part I: The Pre-history of the Study of Religion: Responses to an Expanding World.
1 Naturalism, God-given Reason, and the Quest for Natural Religion.
2 The Critique of Religion Also Begins with Criticism of the Bible.
Part II: Classic 19th Century Theorists of the Study of Religion: The Quest for the Origins of Religion in History.
3 The Shock of the Old: Max Müller's Search for the Soul of Europe.
4 The Shock of the 'Savage': Edward Burnett Tylor, Evolution and Spirits.
5 Evolution in the Religion of the Bible: William Robertson Smith.
6 Setting the Eternal Templates of Salvation: James Frazer.
Part III: Classic 20th Century Theorists of the Study of Religion: Defending the Inner Sanctum of Religious Experience or Storming It.
7 From Evolution to Religious Experience: Phenomenology of Religion.
8 Religious Experience Creates the World of the Modern Economy: Max Weber.
9 Tales from the Underground: Freud and the Psychoanalytic Origins of Religion.
10 Bronislaw Malinowski, Bipolarity and the "Sublime Folly" of Religion.
11 Seeing with the Social Eye: Émile Durkheim's "Religious Sociology".
12 Eliade: Turning the "Worm of Doubt".
13 Conclusion: Science of Religion, the Bible and Prince Charming.
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