Since its inception almost 200 years ago, the study of religion has informed, enlightened, provoked, and challenged our notions of humanity's deepest beliefs and longings. Now Walter Capps, nationally recognized for the quality and depth of his teaching, has written the first full-scale introduction to the history and methods of religious studies.
To assess the many points of view in this mature but diffuse discipline, Capps uses the idea that four basic or fundamental questions and three enduring interests have given formal structure to the study of religion:
the essence of religion
the origin of religion
descriptions of religion
the function of religion
the language of religion
comparisons of religion
the future of religious studiesIn this way Capps relates the chief insights and theories of philosophy, anthropology, phenomenology, sociology, and theology of religion, and spotlights theories from Immanuel Kant to Mircea Eliade.
His valuable text:
unites in a single narrative and conceptual framework the major methodological proposals for the academic study of religion
treats all the major theorists in their respective disciplines, schools of thought, and intellectual movements
treats the whole discipline as a dynamic and evolving tradition.
Religious Studies constitutes not only an erudite introduction to the field, exhibiting vast scholarship and careful assessment, but also a bold synthetic proposal for its future.