ABC-CLIO

Anthropology of Religion

A Handbook

by Stephen D.Glazier

 

Chapters by expert contributors overview the most significant topics and trends in the anthropology of religion.

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Cover image for Anthropology of Religion

April 1997

Greenwood

Pages 552
Volumes 1
Size 6 1/8x9 1/4
Topics Geography and World Cultures/Culture

Religion has experienced growing importance in recent years, and interest in the anthropological study of religion has increased as well. This reference book offers a much-needed overview of the most significant topics and concerns in the field. Chapters by expert contributors examine such matters as snake handling, magic and ritual, shamanism, and the role of religion in particular cultures. Chapters contain extensive documentation, and a bibliography concludes the volume.

The anthropological study of religion is at a crossroads. While fewer textbooks on the anthropology of religion are published each year and much of what is available is decades old, religion is playing an increasingly prominent role in society. Scholars from many fields are reading anthropological works on religion with great interest, and such works are cited frequently in books and articles in a range of disciplines. Religion has been found in all societies studied by anthropologists and is one of the hallmarks of human creativity.

This reference book provides a much-needed overview of the most important topics and trends in the anthropology of religion. Chapters by expert contributors examine the varied manifestations of religion in diverse cultural contexts. Among the topics surveyed are shamanism, snake handling, rituals in particular cultural traditions, religion and altered states of consciousness, and the role of science in religion and anthropology. Chapters contain extensive documentation, and a bibliography concludes the volume.

Table of Contents

Introduction by Stephen D. GlazierLooking at Religion AnthropologicallyReading "Snake Handling": Critical Reflections by Jim BirckheadThe Study of Religion in American Society by Melinda Bollar WagnerScience, Religion, and Anthropology by James LettThinking About Magic by Michael F. BrownThe Study of RitualRitual and Current Studies of Ritual: Overview by Bobby C. AlexanderAfrican Ritual by Mathias GuentherRitual Performance in India by Peter J. ClausRitual in East Asia: Japan by Mary Evelyn TuckerRituals Among Native North Americans by John A. GrimRitual in the United States by Madeline DuntleyLittle and Great TraditionsThe Anthropology of Islam by Gregory StarrettHinduism in Context: Approaching a Religious Tradition Through External Sources by Cynthia Keppley MahmoodBuddhist Communities: Historical Precedents and Ethnographic Paradigms by Todd T. LewisThe Pilgrimage to Magdalena by Mary I. O'ConnorShamanism and Religious ConsciousnessAltered States of Consciousness and Religious Behavior by Michael WinkelmanShamanism by Joan B. TownsendThe Cycle of Meaning: Some Methodological Implications of Biogenetic Structural Theory by Charles D. LaughlinThe Origin of an Illusion by Stewart GuthrieThe Sacred Integration of the Cultural Self: An Anthropological Approach to the Study of Religion by Jacob PandianSelect BibliographyIndex

Reviews/Endorsements

Reviews

Glazier's ^IHandbook^R will soon become a standard in the field of the anthropology of religion. The contributions are all first-rate, intellectually sophisticated, and challenging. Highly recommended.—American Anthropologist

[Glazier] reveals the state of anthropology of religion as it is, warts and all. There is something here to offend everyone, and something to delight everyone, too. Most important, the cumulative reading of this Handbook will inform any reader of much that he/she did not know, and challenge him or her to ponder it again and again.—Anthropology of Consciousness

Glazier has done a masterful job of producing a reference work for those ineterested in researching the anthropology of religion....Glazier's Handbook will soon become a standard in the field of the anthropology of religion. The contributions are all first-rate, intellectually sophisticated, and challenging. Highly recommended.—American Anthropologist Vol. 100, No. 1

I was most satisfied with Glazier's ^IHandbook^R. In revealing the state of the anthropology of religion as it is, warts and all, this volume offers something to delight, and to offend, everyone. Any reader will learn something new from it while being challenged to ponder the familiar in new ways.—Journal for the Scientific Study of Reilgion

The handbook certainly meets its threefold goal. I like the modesty of most the articles, which, at the same time, are very critical, challenging established opinions and understandings within the anthropology of religion. I can recommend ^IAnthropology of Religion: A Handbook^R to all students of religion as compulsory reading.—Book Reviews

Glazier must be commended, not only for his superb introduction, but also for reviving anthropological interests in religion.—Studies in Religion

[P]ractical guide for professional anthropologists and graduate students preparing to undertake primary research in the anthropology of religion.—Journal of the Academy of Religion

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