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The Classical Theories

James Thrower


What is Religion?' This is the first text to review in a single volume the theories of religion which have been put forward by both believers and non-believers.

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The book fills an important gap in the study of religions. It achieves in a clear and straightforward manner the aim of the author to supply a basic text for undergraduates and for an informed wider audience. After reading this book, students of religion will be well prepared to understand the context out of which the phenomenology of religion developed and then to proceed to further texts which will prepare them to engage in the methodological debates at the core of religious studies today. For this, we should be grateful to James Thrower and commend his book as a fitting conclusion to his distinguished academic career.
This book offers a rare bridge across an artificial disciplinary divide which too often separates theorists of religion into two distinct groups: the social scientists and historians of religion on the one hand, and the philosophers on the other ... [Thrower offers] a quality introduction to the truly wide range of major theories and theorists in the analytical study of religion.
- Scott Alexander, Indiana University
James Thrower's unusually broad survey of theories of religion ranges from ancient times to modern and from theological approaches to social scientific ones. His expertise in an array of religious traditions enhances the value of this book. A lucid and incisive overview of the course of theorising about religion.
- Robert A. Segal, Reader in Theory of Religion, University of Lancaster
A marvellous survey of the theories of religion put forward by both religious and non-religious thinkers. It is broad, authoritative, well-written, accessible and, overall, easily the best introductory text on the subject I have come across ... he takes little for granted, carefully defining terms and providing necessary background information to religions, religious concepts, scholars, schools and movements. It is the kind of book that makes one feel like designing a new undergraduate module.
A fine overview of the main theories of the origin and nature of the book ... well written, thorough and accurate.

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