This concise reader creates a useful mix of classic and contemporary responses to issues in the study of religion, ideal for those coming to the subject for the first time. Pairing pivotal theorists and theories of religion alongside cutting-edge criticism from both their contemporaries and modern-day scholars, this vibrant collection enables students to gain a balanced understanding of the diverse methods, theories, and theorists involved. The major historical and methodological developments in the study of religion in the West are traced through the works of leading theorists including Herbert of Cherbury, David Hume, Georges Sorel, Baruch de Spinoza, Friedrich Max Muller, Edward Burnet Tylor, William Robertson Smith, James George Frazer, Bronislaw Malinowski, Max Weber, Sigmund Freud and Emile Durkheim. Each of these primary figures meets their critical match in contributions from contemporary scholars designed to raise questions - both for and against - their approach and work. Along with Ivan Strenski's textbook, Thinking about Religion: An Historical Introduction to Theories of Religion, this reader offers a complete resource for introductory students of religious studies.Strenski, Ivan is the author of 'Thinking About Religion A Reader', published 2006 under ISBN 9781405121675 and ISBN 140512167X.