Orsi, Robert A. The Cambridge Companion to Religious Studies. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2011.
The Cambridge Companion to Religious Studies is both informative and provocative, introducing readers to key debates in the contemporary study of religion and suggesting future research possibilities. A group of distinguished scholars takes up some of the most pressing theoretical questions in the field. What is a ‘religious tradition’? How are religious texts read? What takes place when a religious practitioner stands before a representation of gods or goddesses, ghosts, ancestors, saints, and other special beings? What roles is religion playing in contemporary global society? The volume emphasizes religion as a lived practice, stressing that people have used and continue to use religious media to engage the circumstances of their lives. This underlying conviction provides a realistic perspective on religion, and the volume’s essays engage with real-world religious practices. The volume’s essays should prove valuable and interesting to a broad audience, including scholars in the humanities and social sciences and a general readership, as well as students of religious studies.