Religion in 50 More Words : A Redescriptive Vocabulary book cover
1st Edition

Religion in 50 More Words
A Redescriptive Vocabulary

ISBN 9781032052229
Published November 30, 2021 by Routledge
314 Pages

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Book Description

Religion in 50 More Words: A Redescriptive Vocabulary provides a succinct historical, social, and political examination of some of the key words used in the modern study of religion. Differing from the first volume’s more theoretical focus, this volume analyzes more common first order descriptive terms that are used throughout the field, inviting readers to theorize their traditional vocabulary. Topics covered include:

• Atheism/Theism

• Conversion

• Cult

• Evil

• Fundamentalism

• Idol

• Magic

• Pilgrimage

• Ritual

• Sacrifice

Religion in 50 More Words submits such terms to a critical interrogation and subsequent redescription. This paves the way for a collective and more critical reframing of the field. The volume, along with Religion in 50 Words, provides an indispensable resource for students and academics working in the field of religious studies and cognate disciplines.

Table of Contents

Introduction: A User’s Guide

1. Afterlife

2. Animism

3. Atheism/Theism

4. Church

5. Civil Religion

6. Commentary

7. Conversion

8. Creation/Endtimes

9. Cult

10. Dialogue

11. East/West

12. Emic/Etic

13. Evil

14. Founder

15. Fundamentalism

16. God

17. Hagiography

18. Icon

19. Idol

20. Immanence/Transcendence

21. Initiation

22. Liberation

23. Magic

24. Meditation

25. Monotheism/Polytheism

26. Myth

27. Mysticism

28. Nones

29. Paganism

30. Piety

31. Pilgrimage

32. Prayer

33. Priest/Prophet

34. Reformation

35. Renunciation

36. Ritual

37. Sacrifice

38. Salvation

39. Sect

40. Sexuality

41. Shamanism

42. Soul

43. Spirituality

44. Symbol

45. Syncretism

46. Theology

47. Totem

48. Tradition

49. Understanding

50. Value

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Aaron W. Hughes is the Philip S. Bernstein Professor in the Department of Religion and Classics at the University of Rochester, USA.

Russell T. McCutcheon is University Research Professor and Chair of the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Alabama, USA.


"Religion in 50 More Words marks a turning point in the academic study of religion. Aaron Hughes and Russell McCutcheon offer both scholars and the general public a comprehensive and provocative entrée into the challenging theories that are fundamentally altering the way ‘religion’ is conceived and treated both in universities and in settings that determine public policy. In clear, substantial and detailed discussions, the authors show that religion and the vocabulary related to the term do not refer to mysterious, universal and timeless principles, but rather point to compelling contingencies of history, power and politics. This is a book that will shake up a field in serious need of renewal."

Naomi Goldenberg, University of Ottawa, Canada.

"While their first volume interrogated critical themes and theories within the academic study of religion, this book tackles the field’s many attempts (and failures) at establishing a lingua franca. This second testament, which can be read alone or as a companion to the first volume, outlines the often-overlooked histories, uses, and effects of words commonly deployed by students and scholars of religion. Rather than offering their readers a definitive summary, Hughes and McCutcheon provide us with the tools to take up a clearer understanding and more precise application of those concepts and terms that punctuate the academic study of religion."

Rebekka King, Middle Tennessee State University, USA.

"In this volume, two well-known scholars of the critical study of religion take readers on a journey through familiar terms on religion, shaking up many certainties. The result is an equally thought-provoking as entertaining read!"

Anne Koch, University College of Education, Linz, Austria.