Author: Walter H. Capps
Publisher: Fortress Press
Since its inception almost 200 years ago, the study of religion has informed, enlightened, provoked, and challenged our notions of humanity's deepest beliefs and longings. Now Walter Capps, nationally recognized for the quality and depth of his teaching, has written the first full-scale introduction to the history and methods of religious studies. To assess the many points of view in this mature but diffuse discipline. Capps uses the idea that four basic of fundamental questions and three enduring interests have given formal structure to the study of religion: the essence of religion; the origin of religion, descriptions of religion; the function of religion, the language of religion, comparisons of religion and, the future of religious studies. In this way Capps relates the chief insights and theories of philosophy, anthropology, phenomenology, sociology, and theology of religion, and spotlights theorists from Immanuel Kant to Mircea Eliade. His valuable text unites in a single narrative and conceptual framework the major methodological proposals for the academic study of religion; treats all the major theorists in their respective disciplines, schools of thought, and intellectual movements; treats the whole discipline as a dynamic and evolving tradition. Religious Studies constitutes not only an erudite introduction to the field, exhibiting vast scholarship and careful assessment, but also a bold synthetic proposal for its future.
In Geneologies of Religion, Talal Asad explores how religion as a historical category emerged in the West and has come to be applied as a universal concept. The idea that religion has undergone a radical change since the Christian Reformation—from totalitarian and socially repressive to private and relatively benign—is a familiar part of the story of secularization. It is often invokved to explain and justify the liberal politics and world view of modernity. And it leads to the view that "politicized religions" threaten both reason and liberty. Asad's essays explore and question all these assumptions. He argues that "religion" is a construction of European modernity, a construction that authorizes—for Westerners and non-Westerners alike—particular forms of "history making." -- James R. Wood
Bruce Lincoln is one of the most prominent advocates within religious studies for an uncompromisingly critical approach to the phenomenon of religion—historians of religions, he believes, should resist the preferred narratives and self-understanding of religions themselves, especially when their stories are endowed with sacred origins and authority. In Gods and Demons, Priests and Scholars, Lincoln assembles a collection of essays that both illustrates and reveals the benefits of his methodology, making a case for a critical religious studies that starts with skepticism but is neither cynical nor crude. The book begins with Lincoln’s “Theses on Method” and ends with “The (Un)discipline of Religious Studies,” in which he unsparingly considers the failings of uncritical and nonhistorical approaches to the study of religions. In between, Lincoln presents new examinations of problems in ancient religions and relates these cases to larger comparative themes. While bringing to light important features of the formation of pantheons and the constructions of demons, chaos, and the dead, Lincoln demonstrates that historians of religions should take religious things—inspired scriptures, sacred centers, salvific rites, communities graced by divine favor—as the theories of interested humans that shape perception, community, and experiences. As he shows, it is for their terrestrial influence, and not their sacred origins, that religious phenomena merit consideration by the historian. Tackling many questions central to religious study, Gods and Demons, Priests and Scholars will be a touchstone for the history of religions in the twenty-first century.
Religion in the Making
Author: Arie L. Molendijk, Peter Pels
This volume deals with the emergence of a scientific discourse on religion in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries in Europe and North America. This process is examined in a broad academic context, among different disciplines, in terms of socio-historical developments.
The world of religious experience is changing much faster than the discipline which claims to study it. Religious studies still uses Christianity as its measure, still frames the world through the model of five world religions, still largely avoids analysis of key issues around power, poverty, violence, pollution, science, and social conflict, and still looks to highlight differences rather than commonalities. Methods for the Study of Religious Change aims to redefine the study of religion as the study of worldviews, of ideas which are active in shaping the world. It argues that the study of religion should focus on people's worldview-making capacities and should contribute to the critical analysis of global problems and the promotion of cultural and spiritual respect across religions. Survey chapters on theory and method outline this new approach while case-study chapters illustrate these ideas with innovative ethnographies of ritual, experience, language, morals and identity.The world of religious experience is changing much faster than the discipline which claims to study it. Religious studies still uses Christianity as its measure, still frames the world through the model of five world religions, still largely avoids analysis of key issues around power, poverty, violence, pollution, science, and social conflict, and still looks to highlight differences rather than commonalities. Methods for the Study of Religious Change aims to redefine the study of religion as the study of worldviews, of ideas which are active in shaping the world. It argues that the study of religion should focus on people's worldview-making capacities and should contribute to the critical analysis of global problems and the promotion of cultural and spiritual respect across religions. Survey chapters on theory and method outline this new approach while case-study chapters illustrate these ideas with innovative ethnographies of ritual, experience, language, morals and identity.
The Manichaean Body
Author: Jason David BeDuhn
Publisher: JHU Press
Reconstructing Manichaeism from scraps of ancient texts and the ungenerous polemic of its enemies (such as the ex-Manichaean Augustine of Hippo), BeDuhn reveals for the first time the religion as it was actually practiced. He describes the Manichaeans' daily ritual meal, their stringent disciplinary codes (intended to prevent humans from harming plants and animals), and their secretive religious procedures designed to transform the cosmos and bring about the salvation of all living beings. Overturning long-held assumptions about Manichaean dualism, asceticism, spirituality, and the pursuit of salvation, The Manichaean Body changes completely how we look at this ancient religion and the environment in which Christianity arose. BeDuhn's conclusions revolutionize our understanding of the Manichaeans, clearly distinguishing them from Gnostics and other early Christian heretics and revealing them to be practitioners of a unique world religion.
Teaching Undergraduate Research in Religious Studies offers an introduction to the philosophy and practice of Undergraduate Research in Religious Studies and takes up several significant ongoing questions related to it. For those new to Undergraduate Research, it provides an overview of fundamental issues and pedagogical questions and practical models for application in the classroom. For seasoned mentors, the book acts as a dialogue partner on emerging issues and offers insight into pertinent questions in the field based on experience of recognized experts.
Roy Rappaport argues that religion is central to the continuing evolution of life, although it has been been displaced from its original position of intellectual authority by the rise of modern science. His book, which could be construed as in some degree religious as well as about religion, insists that religion can and must be reconciled with science. Combining adaptive and cognitive approaches to the study of humankind, he mounts a comprehensive analysis of religion's evolutionary significance, seeing it as co-extensive with the invention of language and hence of culture as we know it. At the same time he assembles the fullest study yet of religion's main component, ritual, which constructs the conceptions which we take to be religious and has been central in the making of humanity's adaptation. The text amounts to a manual for effective ritual, illustrated by examples drawn from anthropology, history, philosophy, comparative religion, and elsewhere.
The phenomenological method in the study of religions has provided the linchpin supporting the argument that Religious Studies constitutes an academic discipline in its own right and thus that it is irreducible either to theology or to the social sciences. This book examines the figures whom the author regards as having been most influential in creating a phenomenology of religion. Background factors drawn from philosophy, theology and the social sciences are traced before examining the thinking of scholars within the Dutch, British and North American 'schools' of religious phenomenology.
This volume documents a significant meeting in the history of Schleiermacher studies at which leading scholars from Europe and North America gathered to probe key features of Schleiermacher’s theological and philosophical program in light of its contested place in the study of religion. Offering fresh interpretations of Schleiermacher’s theory of religion, revisionary dogmatics, and hermeneutics of culture, the book critically reexamines Schleiermacher’s thought with an eye on the contemporary divide between theology and religious studies.
This collection examines the production and recreation of religious ideas and images in different times and locations, achieving a comparative perspective on the transmission of religious influences. The essayists look at contact and conflict between insiders and outsiders, centres and margins, Jews and Christians, Slavs and Greeks, and ancient ritual behaviours and modern television broadcasting, as part of the negotiation of new identity positions, relationships, and accommodations. The book combines the disciplines of literary studies, cultural studies, art history, religion, history, and critical theory, making it an important resource to a range of scholars as well as non-specialists.
William Paden’s classic exploration in religious studies, with a new introduction In the current climate, Interpreting the Sacred provides a fresh, thorough way to consider and compare various religious belief systems. Paden puts forth the idea that our understanding of religion influences our understanding of ourselves and our world. Updated with a new introduction, this book is for anyone who wants to consider and discuss religious beliefs. “To appreciate the fascinating, forbidding landscape of current religious theory, one needs a clear map annotated by an observant guide. Interpreting the Sacred qualifies on both counts.” —Christian Century William Paden is professor and chair of the department of religion at the University of Vermont.
Early in the nineteenth century Ernst Troeltsch, the great German liberal thinker, published the influential essay "The Place of Christianity Among the World Religions." The question of the relation of Christianity to other religions is every bit as relevant as and perhaps even more urgent today than it was then. Beginning with a consideration of the biblical perspective, Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen surveys the variety of diverse answers proposed by teachers of the church down through the ages. His reviews include the writings of Justin Martyr, Irenaeus and Clement of Alexandria, as well as those of Augustine, Luther, Calvin, and a broad selection of later Protestant and Catholic thinkers. He completes the historical section with an astute look at the radical challenges of Enlightenment and classical liberalism and the emergence of the fulfillment theory of religions. The bulk of Kärkkäinen's work provides a detailed and comprehensive survey of major confessional movements and theologians' opinions on the contemporary scene. Kärkkäinen provides succinct and trenchant descriptions of a wide diversity of theologians, including Karl Barth, Hendrik Kraemer, Paul Althaus, Karl Rahner, Hans Küng, Jacques Dupuis, Gavin D'Costa, Paul Tillich, Wolfhart Pannenberg, Lesslie Newbigin and M. M. Thomas, as well as Sir Norman Anderson, Clark Pinnock, Amos Yong, John Hick, Stanley Samartha, Raimundo Panikkar, Paul Knitter, Millard Erickson, Harold Netland and Vinoth Ramachandra. An Introduction to the Theology of Religions is an indispensable guide for anyone seeking to grasp and work their way through the full range of alternatives offered in answer to the question, What is the relation of Christianity to other religions?
This volume is the adjunct proceedings on methodology from the XVIIth Congress of the International Association for the History of Religions, held in Mexico City in 1995. Taken together, the essays present a thorough and coherent perspective on studying religion as an item of human culture.
September 11 and the subsequent War on Terror continues to cast a long shadow over the world. Religion, Terror and Violence brings together a group of distinguished scholars from a range of backgrounds and disciplines to explore the claim that acts of violence - most spectacularly the attack of September 11, 2001 and the international reaction to it - were intimately linked to cultural and social authorizing processes that could be called 'religious.' This book provides a nuanced but incisive insight into the reaction of the discipline of religious studies to the post 9/11 world.