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Distributed for Reaktion Books

Reinventing Religion

Beyond Belief and Scepticism

Many of us, proponents and critics alike, commonly make assumptions about religion. We may presume that religion is mainly about having beliefs or being good, or that it is concerned with spiritual rather than material issues, or that religious ideas and practices are meant to be somehow timeless. Such views, Peter Moore argues, work only to obscure the truth that religion is essentially humanity’s quest to become fully human. This enlightening exposition questions our very understanding of faith and contends that religions should remain open to reinventing themselves, both practically and intellectually, rediscovering neglected traditions and finding new ways forward. Written with subtlety and passion, this book gets to the heart of ongoing debates about the validity and purpose of religion.

256 pages | 6 1/4 x 9 1/4

Religion: Comparative Studies and History of Religion


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Reviews

"Religious studies scholar Moore posits in this persuasive work that polarized views of religion fail to represent 'the real nature, and full potential, of religion.'. . . Moore argues forcefully for the positive role of religions in society, irrespective of the specific tradition. . . . Readers interested in the evolution of religious practice will enjoy Moore’s diverse survey."

Publishers Weekly

"This is the most clear-eyed, level-headed interrogation or ‘reconstruction’ of the proper way to study religion this reviewer has read. In this book, Moore, who previously published the extraordinarily thought-provoking Where Are the Dead? Exploring the Idea of an Embodied Afterlife, flips many taken-for-granted notions about religion on their heads, offering readers enticingly novel views of what religion is all about. Moore begins with why it is important to launch into a book on religion without a firm definition of religion and continues with provocative investigations of religions as sets of ‘ideas, practices, experiences and institutions,’ what he considers the four basic ‘dimensions of religion.’ He examines religion as a complex, evolving assemblage of constructions—social, historical, individual, and accidental in origin—that together produce what is known as religion. Employing exquisite, finely wrought prose, the author's tour de force final chapter and epilogue are especially noteworthy. The book is simply sublime. Essential." 

Choice

"Anyone, whether a skeptic or a believer, will find stimulus in this book. It considers religion from a range of perspectives in a way that is always questioning and readable."

The Rt Revd Lord (Richard) Harries of Pentregarth, former Bishop of Oxford and honorary professor of theology, King’s College London

"Moore muses that this book will irritate ardent secularists and passionate believers alike. But for the many people in the middle, this volume will be deeply satisfying. Shunning dogmatism of any variety, Moore offers insights about religion that are both subtle andintuitive. He brushes away jargon and lays out a compelling way forward for speaking about religion—both inside the academy and beyond—which returns religion to its better angels."

Aaron Rosen, professor of religion and visual culture, Wesley Theological Seminary, author of "Brushes with Faith" and "Art & Religion in the 21st Century"

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