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Seven Theories of Religion

by Daniel L. Pals

ISBN 0195087259 / 9780195087253 / 0-19-508725-9
Publisher Oxford University Press, USA
Language English
Edition Softcover
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Book summary

Seven Theories of Religion introduces a sequence of "classic" attempts to explain religion scientifically, presenting each in brief outline and in non-technical language. It considers first the views of E.B. Tylor and James Frazer, two Victorian pioneers in anthropology and the comparative study of religion. It explores the controversial "reductionist" approaches of Freud, Marx, and Emile Durkheim, then explains the program of their most outspoken opponent, the Romanian-American scholar Mircea Eliade. Further on, it examines certain newer methods and ideas advanced by the English ethnographer E.E. Evans-Pritchard and by the American Clifford Geertz, two of the present century's most celebrated names in fieldwork anthropology. Each chapter offers biographical background, exposition of the theory, comparative analysis, and critical assessment. Easily accessible to students in introductory religion courses, Seven Theories of Religion is an enlightening treatment of this controversial and fascinating subject. [via]