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Religions in Practice, CourseSmart eTextbook, 6th Edition

By John R. Bowen

Published by Pearson

Published Date: May 29, 2013

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 Examine a wide variety of religions in terms of key practices.


Religions in Practice offers a unique perspective on how people engage in everyday religious practices--such as prayer, sacrifice, initiation, and healing--by investigating broad-scale issues, such as transnationalism, gender, and religious laws.

No other text examines the full spectrum of religions, from small-scale societies to full-blown “world religious movements.” The in-depth treatment of Islam, Hinduism, and Christianity is of particular interest to students, and is easily expanded to include field projects directly related to material covered in the text.


This text is available in a variety of formats – digital and print. Check your favorite digital provider for your eText, including Coursesmart, Kindle, Nook, and more. To learn more about our programs, pricing options and customization, click the Choices tab.



Learning Goals

Upon completing this book, readers should be able to:

  • Understand the roles religions play in public life in the Americas, Europe, Asia and Africa’s modern societies.
  • Discuss competing theories of religion and their applications.
  • Understand the key ideas and practices of large-scale ‘world religions’ as well as smaller-scale ones.
  • Discuss why we should approach religions in terms of their many and diverse practices.

Table of Contents

In this Section:
1) Brief Table of Contents

2) Full Table of Contents



Chapter 1: Studying Religion through Practice    

Chapter 2: The Twin Transformations of “Religion” 

Chapter 3: Domains and Boundaries of Religion

Chapter 4: Rituals of Transition 

Chapter 5: Healing through Religion

Chapter 6: Sorcery, Witchcraft, and Modernity

Chapter 7: Worship, Hierarchy, Conflict: Focus on Hinduism

Chapter 8: Imagery and Faith: Focus on Catholicism 

Chapter 9: Transatlantic Religion

Chapter 10: Boundaries and Selves in Orthodox Judaism

Chapter 11: Speech and Grace in Protestantism

Chapter 12: New Religious Movements 

Chapter 13: Revelation and Authority in Islam

Chapter 14: Migration and Adaptation: Focus on Muslims in Europe 

Chapter 15: Virtual Religion 

Chapter 16: Secularisms and Religions in Modern States 



Chapter 1: Studying Religion through Practice 

What Is “Religion”? 

An Anthropological Approach to Religion 

Practices, Contexts, Diversity


Chapter 2: The Twin Transformations of “Religion” 

Axial Age Transformations

Enlightenment Transformations        

Social Theory and the Anthropology of Religion


Chapter 3: Domains and Boundaries of Religion

Combining Religious Practices in Japan 

The State and Religion 

Imposed Definitions of Religion                           


Chapter 4: Rituals of Transition 

Rites of Passage 

The Pilgrimage to Mecca                        

Death Rituals and Society 

Regenerating Life from Death 

Grief and Ritual Form 


Chapter 5: Healing through Religion

Narratives and Healing

Modern Magic in Japanese New Religions 

What does Science say about Prayer?


Chapter 6: Sorcery, Witchcraft, and Modernity

African Sorcery and Witchcraft

Sorcery and Modernity 

Puritan Witchcraft  


Chapter 7: Worship, Hierarchy, Conflict: Focus on Hinduism

Sacrifice, Offerings, and Deities                       

Bathing at Benares 

Muslim—Hindu Violence 


Chapter 8: Imagery and Faith: Focus on Catholicism 

Relics and Images                                 

Mary in European Societies


Chapter 9: Transatlantic Religion

Mary in Mesoamerica

Africa and Brazil across the Atlantic

Black Carib Religion in Honduras and New York City 


Chapter 10: Boundaries and Selves in Orthodox Judaism

Taboos and Community in Judaism

Ultra-Orthodox Jewish Communities

Growing Up Orthodox                          


Chapter 11: Speech and Grace in Protestantism

The Letter and the Spirit of Scripture                     

Singing and Certainty among U.S. Primitive Baptists 

Charismatic and Pentecostal Churches

Encounters and Conversions


Chapter 12: New Religious Movements 

Revitalization Movements 

Land, Wealth, and Religious Visions

Cults, Recruitment, and Violence 

Why Do People Join Violent Movements? 


Chapter 13: Revelation and Authority in Islam

The Qur’ân as Recitation of God’s Speech           


Interpretations of Sacrifice


Chapter 14: Migration and Adaptation: Focus on Muslims in Europe 

Migration and Transnational Ties

Adapting Sacrifice to France

Can European Societies Be Muslim? 


Chapter 15: Virtual Religion 

What Can You Do Online? 

Information, Communication, and Performance 

Experience and Community 

Comparative Communities 


Chapter 16: Secularisms and Religions in Modern States 

How to Think about “Secular States”

Religion and Public Life in the United States

Three European Variants

When Religion Underlies Law


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Religions in Practice, CourseSmart eTextbook, 6th Edition
Format: Safari Book

$23.99 | ISBN-13: 978-0-205-92939-9