Unfortunately, while I am well-trained in biblical studies, I am mostly self-taught on religious studies theory and methodology (despite my religious studies minor which lacked an explicit methods course). This undergraduate course is an introduction to the basic concepts of religion and an exploration of theory and method in academic religious studies with a goal of promoting basic religious literacy -- the ability to understand, recognize, and intelligently discuss religious issues.
Below is my starter bibliography for my self-education on academic religious studies and the wider relationship between religion and culture. I'd appreciate any comments or feedback from anyone who notices that my bibliography is missing something important. Are there any seminal journal articles or essays out there that I should know about?
What I Have in Hand and Have Started Reading
- Boyer, Pascal. Religion Explained: The Evolutionary Origins of Religious Thought. Basic Books, 2001.
- Dawkins, Richard. The God Delusion. Houghton Mifflin, 2006.
- Durkheim, Emile. The Elementary Forms of Religious Life. [1915.] New York: Free Press, 1965.
- Eliade, Mircea. Myths, Dreams, and Mysteries: The Encounter Between Contemporary Faiths and Archaic Realities. [1960.] New York: Harper & Row, 1967.
- ---. The Sacred and the Profane: The Nature of Religion. [1959.] New York: Harper & Row, 1961.
- Geertz, Clifford. The Interpretation of Cultures. Basic Books, Inc., 1973.
- Harris, Sam. The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2004.
- Hitchens, Christopher. God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything. Twelve, 2007.
- James, William. The Varieties of Religious Experience. [1902.] New York: Barnes & Noble Classics, 2004.
- Keller, Timothy. The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism. Riverhead Books, 2008.
- Kessler, Gary E. Studying Religion: An Introduction through Cases. 2nd Ed. Boston: McGraw Hill, 2006.
- McGrath, Alistair and Joanna Collicutt McGrath. The Dawkins Delusion? Atheist Fundamentalism and the Denial of the Divine. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2007.
- Pals, Daniel L. Seven Theories of Religion. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996.
- Prothero, Stephen. Religious Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know – and Doesn’t. HarperOne, 2007.
- ---. God is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions that Run the World – and Why Their Differences Matter. HarperOne, 2010.
- Sharpe, Eric J. Understanding Religion. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1983.
- Stark, Rodney. Discovering God: The Origins of the Great Religions and the Evolution of Belief. HarperCollins, 2007.
- Weber, Max. The Sociology of Religion. [4th Ed. 1956.] Boston: Beacon Press, 1964.
What I Know About but Haven’t Looked at Yet
- The Encyclopedia of Religion. 2nd Ed. Macmillan, 2004.
- Frazer, James. The Golden Bough: The Roots of Religion and Folklore. 1890.
- Lincoln, Bruce. Holy Terrors: Thinking about Religion after September 11. 2nd Ed. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2006.
- McCutcheon, Russell T. Critics, Not Caretakers: Redescribing the Public Study of Religion. SUNY Press, 2001.
- ---. The Discipline of Religion: Structure, Meaning, Rhetoric. Psychology Press, 2003.
- Smith, Jonathan Z. Drudgery Divine: On the Comparison of Early Christianities and the Religions of Late Antiquity. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1990.
- ---. Imagining Religion: From Babylon to Jonestown. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1988.
- ---. Relating Religion: Essays in the Study of Religion. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004.
- Stark, Rodney. Exploring the Religious Life. Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2004.
- Stark, Rodney and William Sims Bainbridge. The Future of Religion: Secularization, Revival, and Cult Formation. University of California Press, 1985.
- ---. A Theory of Religion. Rutgers University Press, 1996.
- Stark, Rodney and Roger Finke. Acts of Faith: Explaining the Human Side of Religion. University of California Press, 2000.