Religion: The Basics

Religion: The Basics

Religion: The Basics

Religion: The Basics

Synopsis

Is religion the same as culture? How does it fit with life in the modern world? Do you have to 'believe' to be part of one? From televangelism in the American South to the wearing of hijab in Britain and Egypt; from the rise of paganism to the aftermath of September 11th, this accessible guide looks at the ways in which religion interacts with the everyday world in which we live. A comprehensive introduction to the world of religion, it includes:* religion and culture* how power operates in religion* gender issues* the role of belief, rituals, and religious texts* religion in the contemporary world Religion: The Basics offers an invaluable and up-to-date overview for anyone wanting to find out more about this fascinating subject.

Excerpt

This book is intended to give an accessible introduction to the contours of the contemporary study of religion. It was written out of a sense that there is a lot going on in recent debates that is shaping the discipline in new and exciting ways. For a long time the basic starting point for introductions to religious studies has been the distance of the subject from the traditional faith-based (and often church-funded) approaches of theology and divinity. This book is no exception, but I am intending the discussions that lead from this to go a bit further. It is not simply a matter of stating what religious studies is not, but rather what there is to say in a dynamic field of study relevant not only to the past, but also to the contemporary world. Hence in this book I have tried to avoid—as much as possible—the familiar term 'religious studies' and instead put forward a more nuanced alternative: the study of religion and culture. As I explain in the introduction, this approach is not only about asking questions on how to distinguish religion from culture (if indeed that is possible). Rather it is about exploring religion—religions, religious traditions and practices—from a cultural perspective, as a means by which culture (in the different meanings of the term) and cultures can be understood.

There are many people who I would like to thank for their help, comments, ideas, and support during the time I was writing

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