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Religion as Relation

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Religion is studied from a multitude of approaches and methodologies: history, anthropology, philosophy, sociology, psychology and the academic study of religion. This volume differs from most other introductions and handbooks in that it draws on ongoing research to show “how” researchers approach their topics. Its aim is to provide orientation in this multidisciplinary context without attempting to homogenize the field.

The introduction provides students with an overview of four key issues that are at stake when choosing an approach to studying religion in a multidisciplinary context:

• the ways scholars conceptualize and delineate “religion” as an object of study
• what theory is and what it is for
• at what level of analysis research may take place
• the “problem of belief” in the study of religion.

In subsequent chapters, each author discusses material from their own research to demonstrate the approach and methodology they apply and what kind of insights these yield.

Intended for undergraduate students of religion as well as broader audiences interested in the study of religion, this book will enable students to orient themselves with the various methodologies and perspectives that may be deployed to formulate and answer their own research questions.

Published: Oct 24, 2021


Section Chapter Authors
Acknowledgements Peter Berger, Marjo Buitelaar, Kim Knibbe
Chapter 1
Introduction: Religion as Relation Peter Berger, Marjo Buitelaar, Kim Knibbe
Chapter 2
Philosophy of Religion: Is Religion Universal? Dennis Vanden Auweele
Chapter 3
Turning the Tables: The History of Philosophy as a Field of Enquiry for Religious Studies Christoph Jedan
Chapter 4
Normative Pictures: The History of Christianity from a Theological Perspective Henk van den Belt
Chapter 5
Relations of Religion in the Graeco-Roman World: Formative Judaism and Christianity Steve Mason
Chapter 6
Ancient Religious Texts and Intertextuality: Plato's and Plutarch's Myths of the Afterlife Lautaro Roig Lanzillotta
Chapter 7
Religion as a Meaning System Anja Visser
Chapter 8
Religion as Attachment: A Psychological Exploration of Relational Dynamics in God Representations Hanneke Schaap-Jonker
Chapter 9
Bridging Inner and Outer Worlds: A Psychodynamic Approach to Meaningful Mourning Hanneke Muthert
Chapter 10
Dilemmas in Participant Observation in Religious Contexts Kim Knibbe
Chapter 11
Away from the Centre: On the Edges and Adjacencies of Religious Forms Simon Coleman
Chapter 12
The Importation and Generation of the Religious and the Sacred in Political Song Joram Tarusarira
Chapter 13
Comparing Notes: The Anthropological Approach to the Study of Islam in Europe Marjo Buitelaar
Chapter 14
Configurations of Values Peter Berger
Chapter 15
Epilogue: Studying Religion in Context - Diversity and Commonalities in Approaches Peter Berger, Marjo Buitelaar, Kim Knibbe
End Matter
Index Peter Berger, Marjo Buitelaar, Kim Knibbe


In covering so much ground, the volume does an admirable job conveying the richness and variety of religious studies.
Reading Religion