Religion and Reductionism

Essays on Eliade, Segal, and the Challenge of the Social Sciences for the Study of Religion


Editors: Idinopulos and Yonan
This volume on Religion and Reductionism grew out of a conference convened in November, 1990, where the participants were asked to respond to the conceptual and methodological problem of reductionism in the academic study of religion. The conference focused on the writings of Robert A. Segal and his defence of reductionism and criticism of Mircea Eliade's non-reductive interpretation of religion.
At the Miami conference some of the most important and enduring questions were raised: (1) What is religion? (2) What is religion and/or religious meaning? (3) How should religion be studied and taught? (4) What are the possibilities and limits of social scientific analyses of religious phenomena? (5) What is reductionism? (6) What is anti-reductionism?
These and other questions on religion and reductionism are widespread and invite serious consideration; they help to illuminate the basic issues that are at the core of any study of the world's major religions.

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' For those who are concerned with protecting the presumed autonomy of the religious datum and the place of its institutional study, or, conversely, for those who wish to develop interdisciplinary and social scientific studies of religion (understood as but one aspect of human culture), this volume must be read.'
Russell T. McCutcheon, Studies in Religion, 1995.
' ...scholars interested in learning about controversial issues in the study of religion realted to methodological reductionism will benefit greatly from reading this volume...the studies are of excellent quality...'
Douglas Allen, The Journal of the Faculty of Religious Studies, 1999.
This volume will be of primary interest to scholars and students in the history of religions and the philosophy of religion. It will also be of interdisciplinary value to scholars and students in the various social sciences, such as anthropology, sociology, and psychology.