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Religion and ModernityAn International Comparison$
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Detlef Pollack and Gergely Rosta

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198801665

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198801665.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 28 October 2021

Reflections on the Concept of Religion

Reflections on the Concept of Religion

(p.34) 2 Reflections on the Concept of Religion
Religion and Modernity

Detlef Pollack

Gergely Rosta

Oxford University Press

There is no definition of religion that is universally valid and generally accepted in religious studies. Increasing numbers of scholars of religion see the attempt to define religion as doomed to failure, and therefore do not even try. A concept of religion is, however, indispensable for staking out the subject area which the sociology of religion and religious studies are concerned with. Defining clearly what is meant by religion is necessary not only to determine the content of the object to be examined and to distinguish it from other objects, but also to detect changes in the field of study. After discussing different approaches that are taken to define religion, the chapter proposes a working definition that combines substantive and functional arguments. The different forms of religious meaning available to mediate between immanence and transcendence can be classified as religious identification, religious practices, and religious belief and experience.

Keywords:   definition of religion, substantive definitions of religion, functional definitions of religion, discourse analysis of religion, dimensions of religion, Charles Glock, religious identification, religious practice, religious belief, religious experience

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