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  • The Routledge Companion to the Study of Religioned. by John Hinnells
  • Christoph Stenschke
Hinnells, John, ed. 2010. The Routledge Companion to the Study of Religion. 2ded. London and New York: Routledge. Cloth. ISBN 978-3525510063. Pp. xiii+601. £28.

As the title suggests, this volume looks at the many perspectives from which religion may be studied. To the first edition of 2005, eight new chapters have been added, while other chapters have been revised and/or updated. In the "Introduction" (1–3), Hinnells briefly explains the structure of the volume and comments on the subsequent chapters. The book covers "theoretical approaches and key issues at the heart of debates in the study of religions. There is no one 'right' way to study religions. One 'wrong' way is dogmatism—that does not appear in this volume. Not only are there different approaches, there are also different opinions and emphases and much enthusiasm for the subjects." The volume is intended to be a textbook for students in their first year of religious studies (3).

The introductory essays are: J. H. Hinnells, "Why Study Religions?" (5–20; a survey of how we got to where we are in the subject and how scholars have theorised about religion); E. J. Sharpe, "The Study of Religion in Historical Perspective" (21–38; a historical sketch of the growth of religious studies from their beginning down to the 1960s); G. Alles, "The Study of Religions: The Last 50 Years" (39–55); and J. Wolffe, "Religious History" (56–72).

Part oneoffers a survey of the various approaches to the study of religions: R. A. Segal, "Theories of Religion" (75–92); D. F. Ford, "Theology" (93–110); C. Meister, "Philosophy of Religion" (111–24); D. Wiebe, "Religious Studies" (125–44); M. Riesebrodt and M. E. Konieczny, "Sociology of Religion" (145–64); R. I. J. Hackett, "Anthropology of Religion" (165–185); D. Merkur, "Psychology of Religion" (186–202); D. Allen, "Phenomenology of Religion" (203–224); and W. E. Paden, "Comparative Religion" (225–242).

Part twoaddresses key topics in the study of religions: D. M. Juschka, "Gender" (245–58); K. Knott, "Insider/Outsider Perspectives" (259–273); J. Carrette, "Post-Structuralism and the Study of Religion" (274–290); R. King, "Orientalism and the Study of Religions" (291–305; Orientalism is the study of the Orient; a mind-set or "style of thought" founded upon a rigid dichotomy of "East" and "West," the corporate institution authorised to dominate, control and subjugate the peoples and cultures of the East); J. Fox, "Secularization" (306–322); R. King, "Mysticism and Spirituality" (323–338); J. Fox, "New Religious [End Page 250]Movements" (339–353); H. Munson, "Fundamentalism" (354–371; the case studies are Protestant Unionism in Northern Ireland, Sikh militancy in India, Hindu nationalism, Christian fundamentalism in the United States, politicised Jewish Orthodoxy in Israel, and Islamic militancy in the Middle East); R. A. Segal, "Myth and Ritual" (372–396); P. Gifford, "Religious Authority: Scripture, Tradition, Charisma" (397–410; an outline of the complicated and interrelated workings of scripture, tradition and charisma with some examples from major religious traditions); G. Green, "Hermeneutics" (411–425); and M. Barnes, "Religious Pluralism" (426–441).

Part threecovers the role of religions in the modern world: G. Moyser, "Religion and Politics" (445–460); L. R. Iannaccone and W. S. Bainbridge, "Economics of Religion" (461–75); K. Knott, "Geography, Space and the Sacred" (476–491); R. S. Gottlieb, "Religion and the Environment" (492–508); T. Dixon, "Religion and Science" (509–525); L. H. Martin, "Religion and Cognition" (526–542); G. Lynch, "Religion, Media and Cultures of Everyday Life" (543–557); and S. Mcloughlin, "Religion and Diaspora" (558–580; "Back in the 1960s and 1970s international migration increased dramatically. It was assumed that migrants would, over a couple of generations, 'assimilate' and leave their religion behind. The reverse has happened, resulting in the growth of the study of disaporas," 2). The volume closes with a glossary (581–594) and index (595–610).

The thirty-three chapters of this textbook offer an up-to-date and stimulating survey of the current study of religion, of the various issues that are still to be addressed, and of the various...


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