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"Davie accomplishes four things, any one of which would be worth the price of the book. First, she provides a clear, thorough review of theory and research in the sociology of religion, and argues successfully for its position as a central subdiscipline. Second, she displays an impressive command of comparative literature in the field, using French, British, and other European sources in addition to those from North American; this makes her presentation both wide and deep...Third, Davie underlines the importance of context, historical and geographical, for understanding how theory and case studies develop...Finally, the author's endnotes and her extensive bibliography give excellent guidance to beginning and experienced readers alike." —C. Hendershott, New School University Why is religion still important? Can we be fully modern and fully religious? This book, written by one of the leading figures in the field, works at two levels. First it sets out the agenda – covering the key questions in the sociology of religion today. At the same time, it interrogates this agenda – asking if the sociology of religion, as we currently know it, is ‘fit for purpose’. If not, what is to be done? In a single volume Grace Davie captures the nature and forms of modern religion, the current debates in the field and the prospects for future development.
Religious or spiritual beliefs underpin many controversies and conflicts in the contemporary world. Written by a range of scholarly contributors, this three-volume set provides contextual background information and detailed explanations of religious controversies across the globe. • Provides detailed coverage of a broad range of religious controversies and issues in a single resource • Offers analysis and context from authorities in their fields that goes beyond the often simplified presentations of religious controversies in modern media • Supplies insight into key religious issues that underpin international current events, enabling readers a greater understanding of the root causes of the acrimony and contention regarding seemingly secular issues
Since Albert Schweitzer's monumental work, nearly a century ago, psychology has been banned from Historical Jesus research. But both disciplines have advanced and it is time to review the contribution that psychology can make. Bas Van Os examines the problems which surround both the historical and the psychological study of Jesus, such as the fact that we can only work with the surviving traditions that some of his early followers left us. Following this, Van Os proposes a theoretical framework that combines sound psychological theories and critical biblical scholarship to explain how Jesus' life and religious experience impacted the beliefs of his friends and family after his death.
Jan-Olav Henriksen reconstructs and analyzes Christianity as a cluster of practices that manifest a distinct historically and contextually shaped mode of being in the world. Henriksen suggests that these practices imply a complicated relationship between the tradition in which they originate, the community that emerges from and is constituted by that tradition, and the individuals who appropriate the tradition that these communities mediate through their practices. Thus, to think of Christianity simply in terms of belief is misleading and represents an underdetermination of its distinct character. Henriksen further argues this relationship needs to be described primarily as practices aimed at orientation and transformation. His analysis points to Christianity's similarity to other religions in regard to the functional or pragmatic dimensions it displays. Examining facets such as prayer, the use of scripture, preaching and doctrine, Henriksen emphasizes that the element that makes a practice distinctively Christian is how it relates to and is informed by the Jesus story.

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