Department/School

Sociology and Anthropology

Abstract

Three problems beset Ann Taves’ thought-provoking book. The first is her failure to recognize that her focus on “experiences deemed religious” makes just as many metaphysical claims as does the focus on “religious experiences” that she seeks to replace. Second, her building-block definition of religion drops her into the middle of controversies over the nature of religion, rather than rescuing her from them. Third, her approach embodies a peculiarly North American cultural ambiguity about religion: on the one hand, it contains an abstract democratic affirmation of the importance of studying people’s beliefs and practices on their own terms; on the other hand, it pairs to this a concrete sense of horror at what those beliefs and practices actually are.

Document Type

Article

Publication Title

Religion

Publication Date

2010

Volume

40

Pages

311-313

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

10.1016/j.religion.2010.09.009

Comments

This article was part of a symposium on Ann Taves' book. The uploaded file is author's final presubmission version.

Document Version

Preprint

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