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In Search of Origins: The Beginnings of Religion in Western Theory and Archaeological Practice [Hardcover]

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Item description for In Search of Origins: The Beginnings of Religion in Western Theory and Archaeological Practice by Garry Trompf...

Religion is an integral part of our life. The answer to the question what is religion is subjective. Since the word `religion' and its cognates are common coinage across the literate world, most of us will have a fair appreciation of the term's connotations. Considering students and scholars alike are lacking an introductory textbook on the origins of religion in modern Western theory and archaeological practice, this work is designed to fill the lacuna. Historians of ideas and social science are often not clear as to how any given theory of religion might pertain to the known archaeological record, while exponents of prehistoric religion have worked with surprisingly narrow definitions of religious life. Many will locate the kernel of the matter in `practice' or in an active `spirituality'. Today the pressures of the global village have forced many of us to take off our blinkers and do some cross cultural homework. Religious Studies has emerged as an academic discipline (or intellectual pursuit) with one of its functions being to facilitate mutual understanding between traditions, and to ensure that the varieties of religious belief and experience are fairly appraised. The series, of which this book is a part, will be historically rather than theologically oriented. This book will cover such a vast area for investigation and it is designed to help students find their own way through the forest, pick the trees which interest them and learn how to scrutinise them in depth. Religious Studies is a multi-disciplinary activity and one is encouraged to turn over as many stones as possible to look at religions from as many different angles as possible--the psychological, anthropological, sociological, geographical, ecological, political, economic and the like-with some awareness of current theological debates as well. This book gives scope to the comparative method and all the great religions are treated side-by-side, with points of comparison and contrast drawn. This book begin with the large question of the origins and prehistory of religion, including the bearing anthropological study has on this question, before giving space to the larger traditions themselves. The comparative method is applied not only between such enormous aggregates of phenomena as (let us say) Buddhism and Islam, but between these and small-scale, tribal traditions as well. The book highlights that some religions will be difficult to separate from cultures because they amount to a total way of life. An attempt is made to try to interpret religion both as culture and as a distinctive set of forces in interaction with culture, or perhaps even against prevailing cultural forms. This book has been designed to help students find for themselves possible answers to existential or theological questions, but only as a side-effect to historical and phenomenological study, and as the author says "provide no such answers on a platter."

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Item Specifications...

Pages   280
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.43" Width: 5.75" Height: 0.87"
Weight:   1.19 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Sep 30, 2005
Publisher   New Dawn Press
ISBN  1932705511  
ISBN13  9781932705515  

Availability  0 units.

More About Garry Trompf

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! GARRY W. TROMPF is Professor in the History of Ideas, Department of Studies in Religion, University of Sydney. He is the author of over fifteen books including The Idea of Historical Recurrence in Western Thought, Melanesian Religion, and Payback.

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Product Categories

1Books > Special Features > New & Used Textbooks > Social Sciences > Anthropology
2Books > Special Features > New & Used Textbooks > Social Sciences > Archaeology
3Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Social Sciences > Anthropology > Cultural

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