Aarhus Universitetsforlag

The Study of Religion in a New Key

A part of the series Studies in Religion (3) , and the subject area

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509 pages
ISBN 87 7934 091 1



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About the book

What are the global and cross-cultural phenomena of religion anyway? They are not things-in-the-world, not things "in themselves," and yet we know they are very real because they constitute the means by which we make up our lives. As thought, language, society and culture are not illusions, neither is religion.

This book is about the present plight - and future possibility - of a general and comparative study of religion as a field of inquiry in the human sciences. Jensen proposes a different look at the phenomenon of religion, and perhaps so much of a re-interpretation that it may appear to be a different phenomenon altogether. In his "new key," Jensen shifts the attention from metaphysical "givens" and psychological experiences to the social, symbolic and linguistic constructions of human habitats.

Jensen's fundamental ambition is to illustrate how and on what conditions it is possible to study not just specific religions as ethnographic or historical facts, but also to study religion as a general human and social activity.

This book is not only meant for those who are theoretically inclined, but also, and perhaps even more so, for those who are not. The Study of Religion in a New Key can be characterized as a handbook for non-philosophers in how to perform a theoretically grounded general and comparative study of religion.

Others who will find this book indispensable are historians of religions, anthropologists, philosophers, sociologists and theologians.

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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