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Is There a Better Way to Study Religion? The View of William E. Paden

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image of Method & Theory in the Study of Religion

This review praises William Paden’s focus on some of the key issues in the study of religion. It questions Paden’s position on three topics: (a) the relationship between evolutionary psychology and functionalism; (b) the compatibility of Durkheim with Eliade; and (c) the ‘newness’ of Paden’s new comparativism.

Affiliations: 1: School of Divinity, History and Philosophy, 50-52 College Bounds, University of Aberdeen AB24 3DS AberdeenUnited Kingdom


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1. Durkheim Emile 1963 [1915] The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life Swain Joseph Ward Glencoe, IL Free Press
2. Eliade Mircea 1963 The Sacred and the Profane Trask Willard R. New York Harcourt Brace
3. Paden William E. 1988 Religious Worlds: The Comparative Study of Religion Boston, MA Beacon Press
4. Paden William E. 1992 Interpreting the Sacred: Ways of Viewing Religion Boston, MA Beacon Press
5. Rappaport Roy A. 1968 Pigs for the Ancestors: Rituals in the Ecology of a New Guinea People New Haven, CT Yale University Press
6. Segal Robert A. 2005 "Classification and Comparison in the Study of Religion: The Work of Jonathan Z. Smith" Journal of the American Academy of Religion Vol 73 1175 1188 [Crossref]
7. Segal Robert A. 2002 "Introduction" Smith William Robertson Religion of the Semites Piscataway, NJ Transaction vii xlii
8. Segal Robert A. 2001 "In Defense of the Comparative Method" Numen Vol 48 339 373 [Crossref]
9. Weber Max 2001 [1930] The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism Parsons Talcott London and New York Routledge
10. Weber Max 1993 [1920] The Sociology of Religion Fischoff Ephraim Boston, MA Beacon Press

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