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The Yearbook of International Religious Demography presents an annual snapshot of the state of religious statistics around the world. Every year large amounts of data are collected through censuses, surveys, polls, religious communities, scholars, and a host of other sources. These data are collated and analyzed by research centers and scholars around the world. Large amounts of data appear in analyzed form in the World Religion Database (Brill), aiming at a researcher’s audience. The Yearbook presents data in sets of tables and scholarly articles spanning social science, demography, history, and geography. Each issue offers findings, sources, methods, and implications surrounding international religious demography. Each year an assessment is made of new data made available since the previous issue of the yearbook.

Contributors are: Todd Johnson, Gina Zurlo, Peter Crossing, Juan Cruz Esquivel, Fortunato Mallimaci, Annalisa Butticci, Brian Grim, Philip Connor, Ken Chitwood, Vegard Skirbekk, Marcin Stonawski, Rodrigo Franklin de Sousa, Davis Brown, Juan Carlos Esparza Ochoa, and Maria Concepción Servín Nieto.
Beyond Durkheim and Rappaport
Why is religion so important to individuals and societies? What gives religion its profound meaningfulness and longevity? Enhancing perspectives taken from sociology and ritual theory, Religion, Emergence, and the Origins of Meaning describes how ‘emergence theory’ – developed to make sense of life and mind – explains why religious communities are special when compared to ordinary human social groups. Paul Cassell argues that in religious ritual, beliefs concerning unseen divine agencies are made uniquely potent, inviting and guiding powerful, alternative experiences, and giving religious groups a form of organization distinct from ordinary human social groups. Going beyond the foundational descriptions of Émile Durkheim and Roy Rappaport, Cassell utilizes the best of 21st century emergence theory to characterize religion’s emergent dynamics.
Contrasts and Overlaps
Many forms of present-day Western spirituality contribute to people’s well-being, whereas others have raised criticism. The study of these different forms is, however, complicated by their continuously diverging practices and ideas. By bringing to bear a multidisciplinary approach, the ten specialists of this volume are able to analyze diverse new instances of spirituality, e.g. in religious contexts (Buddhism, Christianity), popular use, organizations and enterprises, (alternative) health service, and works of art. Most contributions also discuss methods and theories. In their editorial chapters, Elisabeth Hense, Frans Jespers and Peter Nissen show the remarkable overlaps in the approaches, definitions and evaluations of the contributions in this volume and provide a theoretical framework. Both the fresh analyses and the theoretical reflections in this volume point the way to new approaches in this field of study.

Contributors include: Jerry Biberman, Mark Elliott, Miguel Farias, Johan Goud, Paul Heelas, Elisabeth Hense, Frans Jespers, Hubert Knoblauch, Peter Nissen, Paul van der Velde
Defining and Measuring Contemporary Beliefs and Practices
In The Concept of Religion Hans Schilderman edits a volume on the definition and empirical study of religion within the changing landscape of modern society. Now that we can no longer assume a simple harmony between the scientific concept of religion, church doctrine and practiced belief, issues concerning the definition and measurement of religion are becoming crucial issues to academic institutions. The contributing authors present empirical studies studying issues of lifespan and socialisation at school settings; of vocation and profession at church and hospital settings; and culture and nation of society at large. The volume offers a beautiful sample of the empirical study of religion; a conceptual and illustrative overview of the academic field for students and scholars in religion.