This clear and engaging guide introduces students to key areas of the field and shows how to apply an anthropological approach to the study of religion in the contemporary world. Written by an experienced teacher, it covers major traditional topics including definitions, theories, and beliefs, as well as symbols, myth, and ritual. The book also explores important but often overlooked issues such as morality, violence, fundamentalism, secularization, and new religious movements. The chapters all contain lively case studies of religions practiced around the world.
The third edition of Introducing Anthropology of Religion is fully updated and contains additional content on material religion, visual religion, and affect theory, and a new chapter takes a closer look at medical and health topics. The author encourages the reader to engage throughout with the unifying themes of race, gender, and power, and how these themes are intertwined with anthropology of religion. Images, a glossary, and questions for discussion are included and additional resources are provided via a companion website.
Table of Contents
1. Studying Religion Anthropologically: Definitions and Theories
2 Beliefs, Beings, and Bodies
3. Symbols, Specialists, and Substance
4. Religious Language: Words of Truth, Words of Power5. Ritual: Religion in Action
6. Religion and Morality: Forming Society, Transforming Self
7. Religion, Medicine, and Wellness8. Religious Change and New Religious Movements 9. Translocal or "World" Religions 10. Religious Fundamentalism 11. Religious Violence 12. Secularism and Irreligion Glossary
Jack David Eller is a retired Associate Professor of Anthropology at the Community College of Denver and Head of Anthropology of Religion for the Global Center for Religion Research in Denver, USA. He is the author of a major introductory textbook, Cultural Anthropology: Global Forces, Local Lives (fourth edition, 2020).
Praise for the second edition:
"This book is the best example I know of its kind – an introductory text that combines sophisticated, cross-cultural, and historically nuanced discussion with an intuitive ordering of subjects. Eller is especially good at weaving together contemporary perspectives with classical anthropological theory. The book’s accessibility and erudition make it perfect for advanced undergraduate courses and graduate seminars alike."
Liam D. Murphy, California State University, Sacramento, USA
"The first edition of Introducing Anthropology of Religion was one of the most engaging, comprehensive, and theoretically sophisticated overviews ever published. Eller’s second edition includes a range of new and revised material as well as expanded web resources. Beginning students and specialists alike will learn much from this volume."
Stephen D. Glazier, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, USA