Matching pivotal theorists and theories of religion alongside cutting-edge criticism from a team of leading contemporary scholars, this vibrant collection enables students to gain a balanced understanding of the diverse methods, theories, and theorists involved in the historical and methodological development of the study of religion. It can be used alongside Ivan Strenski's textbook, "Thinking about Religion: An Historical Introduction to Theories of Religion", to offer a complete resource for introductory students of religious studies. This book creates a useful mix of classic and contemporary responses to issues in the study of religion, ideal for those coming to the subject for the first time.It traces the major historical and methodological development of the study of religion in the modern West, enabling students to gain a balanced understanding of the diverse methods, theories, and theorists involved. Primary theorists featured include Cherbury, Durkheim, Eliade, Frazer, Freud, Hume, Brede Kristensen, Malinowski, Max Muller, Ninian Smart, Robertson Smith, Spinoza, Tylor, and Weber.
Contemporary contributors include Winston Davis, Sidney Hook, Robert Alun Jones, Karl Menninger, Sam Preus, Philip Rieff, Robert Segal, Georges Sorel, George Stocking, and William Dwight Whitney.
Ivan Strenski is Holstein Family and Community Professor of Religious Studies at the University of California, Riverside. His previous publications include Four Theories of Myth in Twentieth-Century History (1988), Religion in Relation: Method, Application, and Moral Location (1993), Durkheim and the Jews of France (1997), Contesting Sacrifice: Religion, Nationalism and Social Thought (2002), Theology and the First Theory of Sacrifice (2003), and The New Durkheim: Essays on Philosophy, Religious Identity and the Politics of Knowledge (2006).