Aarhus Universitetsforlag

The Study of Religion in a New Key

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502 pages
ISBN 978 87 7597 320 0



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About the book

What are the global and cross-cultural phenomena of religion? They are neither things-in-the-world nor things 'in themselves', yet we know they are very real because they constitute means by which humans construct their lives. Just as thought, language, society and culture are not illusions, neither is religion.

The Study of Religion in a New Key examines difficulties currently confronting a general and comparative study of religion as a field of inquiry in the human sciences as well as the future prospects of the field. The author proposes a different look at the study of religion, shifting attention from metaphysical 'givens' and psychological experiences to the social, symbolic, and linguistic constructions of human habitats. Sinding Jensen illustrates how to study both specific religions as ethnographic or historical facts and religion as a general human and social activity. The Study of Religion in a New Key can be characterized as a handbook in how to perform a theoretically grounded general and comparative study of religion.

Press reviews

Russel T. Mccutcheon History of Religions

"With such a diverse publication record, Jensen gives an excellent example of the depth of the current Danish field in the study of religion - one that has become particularily active over the past two decades. Jensen may therefore bet his generation's meta-bricoleur insomuch as he stands back from recent work and surveys the theoretical landscape that has made it possible to begin talking about religion in a different manner.

...this book is worth reading preciesely because the position it adopts takes into account a variety of disparate work, published across several academic fields over the past few generations. That is, the service such a work offers to its readers is among the first books that try to state, by means of systematic argumentation, the set of background assumptions that inform the work of a new generation of scholars who have passed through the fires of postmodernism but who still wish to say something about the causes and functions of what seems to be observable, cross-cultural regularities in human behaviour."

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