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The Cambridge Companion to Religious Studies


Part of Cambridge Companions to Religion

Robert A. Orsi, Leigh E. Schmidt, Talal Asad, Ann Taves, Michael J. Puett, Michael L. Satlow, Anne M. Blackburn, Thomas A. Lewis, Martin Kavka, Matthew Engelke, Christine Helmer, Bernard Faure, Courtney Bender, David Morgan, Winnifred Fallers Sullivan, R. Marie Griffith, Leela Prasad, Marla Frederick, Noah Salomon, Jeremy F. Walton
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  • Date Published: March 2012
  • availability: Temporarily unavailable - available from TBC
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521883917

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About the Authors
  • The Cambridge Companion to Religious Studies is both informative and provocative, introducing readers to key debates in the contemporary study of religion and suggesting future research possibilities. A group of distinguished scholars takes up some of the most pressing theoretical questions in the field. What is a 'religious tradition'? How are religious texts read? What takes place when a religious practitioner stands before a representation of gods or goddesses, ghosts, ancestors, saints, and other special beings? What roles is religion playing in contemporary global society? The volume emphasizes religion as a lived practice, stressing that people have used and continue to use religious media to engage the circumstances of their lives. The volume's essays should prove valuable and interesting to a broad audience, including scholars in the humanities and social sciences and a general readership, as well as students of religious studies.

    • Features a distinguished list of contributors
    • Each chapter is framed by pressing theoretical issues or questions, rather than presenting simple 'introduction' or encyclopedia style surveys
    • Each chapter considers new directions in critical thinking about religion and provides readers with a sense of how scholars of religion deal with complex and contentious issues
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'This volume presents the discipline's entire span, laying bare the range of its problems and ambiguities. Summing up: recommended.' J. C. Hanges, Choice

    'This is a text that will be of great use to seasoned thinkers in religious studies, as well as students who are here introduced to the field not through the lens of reified traditions, heroic theorists, or debunkers, but through 'occasions of working on the world in the idioms of religion … in order to raise questions and develop illuminating perspectives on human life itself'.' Susan E. Henking, Religious Studies Review

    '… an excellent addition to a college or university library that supports religious studies, cultural studies or social anthropology …' Christine Love-Rodgers, Reference Reviews

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    Product details

    • Date Published: March 2012
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521883917
    • length: 442 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 155 x 28 mm
    • weight: 0.72kg
    • contains: 13 b/w illus.
    • availability: Temporarily unavailable - available from TBC
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction Robert A. Orsi
    Part I. Religion and Religious Studies: The Irony of Inheritance:
    1. On sympathy, suspicion, and studying religion: historical reflections on a doubled inheritance Leigh E. Schmidt
    2. Thinking about religion, belief and politics Talal Asad
    3. Special things as building blocks of religions Ann Taves
    4. The problem of the holy Robert A. Orsi
    Part II. Major Theoretical Problems:
    5. Social order or social chaos Michael J. Puett
    6. Tradition: the power of constraint Michael L. Satlow
    7. The text and the world Anne M. Blackburn
    8. On the role of normativity in religious studies Thomas A. Lewis
    9. Translation Martin Kavka
    10. Material religion Matthew Engelke
    11. Theology and the study of religion: a relationship Christine Helmer
    Part III. Methodological Variations:
    12. Buddhism and violence Bernard Faure
    13. Practicing religions Courtney Bender
    14. The look of the sacred David Morgan
    15. Reforming culture: law and religion today Winnifred Fallers Sullivan
    16. Sexing religion R. Marie Griffith
    17. Constituting ethical subjectivities Leela Prasad
    18. Neo-Pentecostalism and globalization Marla Frederick
    19. Religious criticism, secular critique, and the 'critical study of religion': lessons from the study of Islam Noah Salomon and Jeremy F. Walton.

  • Instructors have used or reviewed this title for the following courses

    • Approaches to the Study of Religion
    • Contemporary Conversations in Theology
    • Ethnographic History
    • Explaining Religion
    • Exploring Religious Meaning
    • Intro to Religion
    • Introduction to the Study of Religion
    • Juniors Colloquium: Theory and Method in Religious Studies
    • Methods in Religion
    • Religion and Sexuality
    • Religion, Theory, & Rhetoric
    • Secularism and the Middle East
    • The Religious Quest
    • Theories & Methods in the Study of Religion
    • Theory of Religion
  • Editor

    Robert A. Orsi, Northwestern University, Illinois
    Robert A. Orsi is Professor of Religious Studies and History and G. Craddock Nagle Professor of Catholic Studies at Northwestern University. He is the author of several prize-winning books, including The Madonna of 115th Street: Faith and Community in Italian Harlem, 1880–1950, 3rd edition (2010); Thank You, Saint Jude: Women's Devotions to the Patron Saint of Hopeless Causes (1996) and Between Heaven and Earth: The Religious Worlds People Make and the Scholars Who Study Them (2005).


    Robert A. Orsi, Leigh E. Schmidt, Talal Asad, Ann Taves, Michael J. Puett, Michael L. Satlow, Anne M. Blackburn, Thomas A. Lewis, Martin Kavka, Matthew Engelke, Christine Helmer, Bernard Faure, Courtney Bender, David Morgan, Winnifred Fallers Sullivan, R. Marie Griffith, Leela Prasad, Marla Frederick, Noah Salomon, Jeremy F. Walton

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