Anthropology of Religion

1st Edition

Phillips Stevens Jr.

Published November 23, 2010
Reference - 1352 Pages
ISBN 9780415494236 - CAT# Y100965
Series: Critical Concepts in Religious Studies


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Religious belief is an extremely powerful motivator of human behaviour. Religious considerations permeate and influence all parts of a culture. Religious systems are universal in human cultures, around the world and through all stages of human history and prehistory. Of all academic approaches to religion, the anthropological approach is the most comprehensive and the most useful to students of human belief and behaviour, because it examines religion as a cultural system that cannot fully be understood separated from the other systems with which it interacts.

This new four-volume collection from Routledge assembles exemplary scholarship in the field from its Victorian beginnings to the present, and represents all generally accepted categories of religious belief and ritual, plus some new ones. Topics covered include: ‘Early Explorations’; ‘Symbols’; ‘Supernatural Beings’; ‘Magical Power and Forces’; ‘Human Agents of Supernatural Danger’; ‘Myth’; ‘Ritual’; ‘Religious Practitioners’; ‘Women and Gender’; ‘Belief’; ‘Ecology’; ‘Mind and Body—Neurobiological Bases’; and ‘Religion in Socio-Cultural Change’.

The first volume is prefaced with a general introduction newly written by the editor which outlines the history and salient aspects of the anthropological concern for religion, and introduces the specific sections of the work. Each thematic part also includes a short introduction to set the gathered materials in context. Anthropology of Religion is destined to be valued by scholars, students, researchers, and practitioners as an essential one-stop reference.

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