Widely used as a primer, a text and a provocation to critical thinking, 'Studying Religion' aims to develop students' skills. The book clearly explains the methods and theories employed in the study of religion. Essays are offered on a range of topics: from the history and functions of religion to public discourse on religion and the classification of religions. The works of key scholars - from Karl Marx, Ludwig Wittgenstein and Rudolf Otto to Mircea Eliade, James G. Frazer, and Sigmund Freud - are analysed and explored. 'Studying Religion' represents a shift away from the traditional focus of describing the exotic or curious religious 'Other' to an examination of how religious behaviours and institutions are studied. The book will be invaluable to students of religious studies.
Preface Acknowledgments Introduction: What is the Study of Religion? 1. What’s in a Name? 2. The History of "Religion" 3. The Essentials of Religion 4. The Functions of Religion 5. The Public Discourse on Religion 6. Religion and the Insider/Outsider Problem 7. The Resemblance Among Religions 8. Religion and Classification Afterword: The Necessary Lie: Duplicity in the Disciplines by Jonathan Z. Smith