This edited collection harnesses a diversity of interpretivist perspectives to provide a panoramic view of the production, experiences, contexts, and meanings of religion.
Scholars from the US, South Asia and Europe explore religious phenomena using ethnographic, comparative historical, psychosocial, and critical theoretical approaches. Each chapter addresses foundational themes in the study of religion – from identity, discourse and power to ritual, emotion, and embodiment. Authors examine dynamic intersections of race, gender, history, and the present within the religious traditions of Christianity, Islam, Judaism and Buddhism, as well as among the non-religious.
Cutting boldly across religious traditions and paradigms, the book investigates areas of harmony and contradiction across different interpretive lenses to achieve a richer understanding of the meanings of religion.
This chapter provides an accessible introduction to interpretive approaches in the study of religion and identifies core themes and ideas that cut across the volume’s diverse chapters. In tracing areas of similarity and divergence across the different interpretive lenses that contributors bring to their empirical cases, this chapter will help readers see the relative merits of each approach and equip scholars interested in the interpretive study of religion with a useful orientation to the field.