Religious belief is one of the most pervasive and ubiquitous characteristics of human society. Religion has shadowed and illuminated human lives since primitive times, shaping the world views of cultures from isolated tribes to vast empires. Starting from the premise that religion is a concept which can be analysed and compared across time and cultures, What is Religion? brings the most up-to-date scholarship to bear on humankind's most enduring creation.
The book opens with a brief history of the idea of religion, then divides the study of religion into four essential topics - types, representations, practices, and institutions - and concludes with a final, eye-opening chapter on religion today. Packed with case studies from a wide range of religions, past and present, What is Religion? offers a very current, comprehensive, yet intellectually challenging overview of the history, theories, practices, and study of religion.
Accessible, wide-ranging, engaging, and short, What is Religion? is written primarily for undergraduate students in the study of religion, but it will also be invaluable for students of anthropology, history, psychology, sociology, and theology as well as anyone interested in how and why humans came and continue to be religious.