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Edited by Jason N. Blum

The traditions and institutions that we call religions abound with references to the supernatural: ancestral spirits, karma, the afterlife, miracles, revelation, deities, etc. How are students of religion to approach the behaviors, doctrines, and beliefs that refer to such phenomena, which by their very nature are supposed to defy the methods of empirical research and the theories of historical scholarship? That is the question of methodological naturalism. The Question of Methodological Naturalism offers ten thoughtful engagements with that perennial question for the academic study of religion. Contributors include established senior scholars and newer voices propounding a range of perspectives, resulting in both surprising points of convergence and irreconcilable differences in how our shared discipline should be conceptualized and practiced.

The Science of Religion: A Defence

Essays by Donald Wiebe

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Donald Wiebe

Edited by Anthony Palma

Donald Wiebe, Professor of Philosophy of Religion at Trinity College, University of Toronto, has spent much of his academic career arguing for a clear demarcation between Theology and Religious Studies. The Science of Religion: A Defence offers a brilliant overview of Professor Wiebe's contributions on methodology in the academic study of religion, of the development of his thinking over time, and of his intellectual commitment to 'a science of religion'.

The work is divided into three parts. The first part identifies pertinent connections between 'religion', 'religious studies', and 'science' and why 'reductionism' in the academic study of religion, when properly applied, can bridge the explanatory gap between the sceptic and the devotee. The second part treats conceptual debates in the academic study of religion, with particular reference to the place of 'belief', 'understanding', and 'meaning' in the modern study of religion. The third part addresses the theological resistance to the scientific study of religion and how that resistance can be overcome. Finally, two new essays are included: a critique on ‘The Preconceptions of a Science of Religion’ by Anthony J. Palma, and an accompanying reply by Donald Wiebe.

The Science of Religion: A Defence is an essential resource for both scholarly and non-scholarly audiences alike, and will be of particular interest to both defenders and critics of a scientific study of religion.

Sociality as the Human Condition

Anthropology in Economic, Philosophical and Theological Perspective 

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Rebekka A. Klein

In addition to being contemplated in the classical disciplines of anthropology, human sociality has been subjected to scientific examination in the natural and social sciences. This book offers a substantial discussion of empirical research programs within current economics (experimental and neuroeconomics), with special regard to the themes of reciprocity and altruism. These themes are discussed from a philosophical perspective informed by phenomenology and hermeneutics, and linked to theories of conflict, recognition and alterity in social philosophy, which are used to show the limitations of the purely science-based naturalistic approaches in economics. Finally, the book introduces the concept of the neighbor in Christian theology and shows how this figure brings a new perspective to the examination of human sociality.

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Edited by Anders Klostergaard Petersen, Gilhus Ingvild Sælid, Luther H. Martin, Jeppe Sinding Jensen and Jesper Sørensen

Evolution, Cognition, and the History of Religion: A New Synthesis comprises 41 chapters that push for a new way of conducting the study of religion, thereby, transforming the discipline into a genuine science of religion. The recent resurgence of evolutionary approaches on culture and the increasing acknowledgement in the natural and social sciences of culture’s and religion’s evolutionary importance calls for a novel epistemological and theoretical framework for studying these two areas. The chapters explore how a new scholarly synthesis, founded on the triadic space constituted by evolution, cognition, cultural and ecological environment, may develop. Different perspectives and themes relating to this overarching topic are taken up with a main focus on either evolution, cognition, and/or the history of religion.
Worldviews: Global Religions, Culture, Ecology is an international academic journal that studies the relationships between religion, culture, and ecology worldwide. The journal addresses how cultural and ecological developments influence the world's major religions, giving rise to new forms of religious expression, and how in turn religious belief and cultural background can influence peoples' attitudes toward ecology.

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Joseph R. Wiebe

down the binary between constructivist and descriptive approaches. A second critical point also related to methodology is that Baugh’s use of lived religion as the interpretive framework focuses on participants’ motivation. This approach helpfully addresses the complexity of analyzing and describing

Ampere A. Tseng

relationship between religion and ethnicity in China” in F. Yang & G. Lang (eds) Social Scientific Studies of Religion in China: Methodology, Theories, and Findings . Leiden, Netherlands: Brill, pp. 181–194. Heller MC, and Keoleian GA. 2014. “Greenhouse gas emission estimates of U.S. dietary choices and

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Colby Dickinson

and networks, such as we find in Bruno Latour’s thought. 21 For Latour, systems of networks operate beyond any hierarchical representations of order—a point that allows us to assess entire fields of study, and their presumed methodologies, anew. Thirdly, there is an implicit recognition within

Cross-Cultural Comparisons between the Mughal Tomb Garden of Taj Mahal in Agra (India) and the Dry Landscape Garden of the Ryoan-Ji Zen Monastery in Kyoto (Japan)

An Analysis of Cultural and Religious Layers of Meaning in Two Cases of Classical Garden Landscape Architecture

Lourens Minnema

played a role in either confirming or transforming other layers of cultural meaning of these gardens? In terms of methodology, cross-cultural comparisons are full of pitfalls. The choice of these two gardens, for example, is meant to be representative of their respective traditions but there is always an

Diversity in the Structure of Christian Reasoning

Interpretation, Disagreement, and World Christianity

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Joshua Broggi

Diversity in the Structure of Christian Reasoning examines the effect of Christian commitments on rationality. When Christians read scripture, traditions supply concepts that shape what counts as normal, good, and true. This book offers an account of how different communities produce divergent readings of the Bible. It considers two examples from World Christianity, first a Bakongo community in central Africa, and then a Tamil bishop in southern India. Each case displays a relation between tradition and reason that reconfigures the hermeneutical picture developed by Martin Heidegger and Hans-Georg Gadamer. To see what transpires when readers decide about a correct interpretation, this book offers theologians and scholars of religion a fresh strategy that keeps in view the global character of modern Christianity.