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The Study of Religion as a Durkheimian Project | Intellectual Biography in Context
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The Study of Religion as a Durkheimian Project

The items in this section reflect my view that a vital tradition of the study of religion is the Durkheimian intellectual tradition. Generally dismissed by many in the study of religion because of its supposedly narrow "sociological" bent, the school of scholarship represented by Émile Durkheim, Henri Hubert, Marcel Mauss, Louis Dumont, Roger Caillois, Georges Bataille and others is, nevertheless, far more than that. Their work on fundamental categories —myth, sacred time and space, sacrifice, magic, religion, ritual, the sacred, prayer, etc.— represents some of the highest achievements of phenomenology of religion. Their critique of theological approaches to religion lays a theoretical basis for non-confessional studies of religion. Their specialized studies of the religions of China, India, ancient Judaism, and so on, still stand up well over the years.
  • 1997 Durkheim and the Jews of France (University of Chicago)
  • 2002 Contesting Sacrifice: Religion, Nation and Social Thought in France (University of Chicago)
  • 2003 Theology and the First Theory of Sacrifice (E. J. Brill)
  • 2006a Edition of Roger Caillois, Pontius Pilate (Charlottesville: University of Virginia). With Introduction, "At Play in the Mind of Pilate"
  • 2006b The New Durkheim: Essays on Philosophy, Religious Identity and the Politics of Knowledge (Rutgers University Press).
  • 2008 Louis Dumont and the Study of Religion: Difference, Comparison, Transgression (Key Figures in the Study of Religion
  • Series) Equinox Press.
  • 2009c Émile Durkheim (The International Library of Developments in Classical Sociology) edited, with introduction (Ashgate
  • Publishers: Aldershot, UK).

Articles, Chapters in Books, Papers

  • 2009 "Change Only for the Benefit of Society as a Whole": Pragmatism, Knowledge and Regimes of Violence, Durkheim and Violence, Romi Mukerjee, ed., UNESCO: Paris, 11,000 words, accepted, 20 June 2008 (refereed)
  • 2004 "Hubert and Mauss' Sacrifice: It Nature and Function: Reading Its Plain Meaning and Reading between the Lines," in Brigitte Luchesi & Kocku von Stuckrad (eds.), Religion im kulturellen Diskurs. Festschrift fuür
  • Hans G. Kippenberg zu seinem 65. Geburtstag / Religion in Cultural Discourse. Essays in Honor of Hans G. Kippenberg on the Occasion of His 65th Birthday (Religionsgeschichtliche Versuche und Vorarbeiten, vol. 52), (Berlin & New York: Walter de Gruyter), 495-510.
  • 2003 "Durkheim Sings: Teaching the 'New Durkheim' on Religion," Terry Godlove, ed. Teaching Religious Studies (New York City: Oxford University Press)
  • 2002a "Durkheim, Disciplinarity and the 'Sciences Religieuses,'" Disciplinarity at the Fin-de-Siècle, Amanda Anderson and Joseph Valente, eds., (Princeton University Press), 153-76
  • 2002b "Durkheim, Judaism and the Afterlife," Reappraising Durkheim for the Study and Teaching of Religion Today Thomas A. Idinopulos and Brian C. Wilson, eds., (Leiden: Brill), 111-42
  • 2000 "Durkheimians and Protestants in the École Pratique, Fifth Section: The Dark Side," Durkheimian Studies/Etudes Durkheimiennes 6: 105-14.
  • 2000 "Reply to Nielsen," International Journal of Politics, Culture and Society 13/3: 575-9.
  • 1999a "A Caravan in the Clouds," International Journal of Politics, Culture and Society 13/1:131-46.
  • 1998a "Durkheim's Bourgeois Theory of Sacrifice," Durkheim's Elementary Forms of the Religious Life, N. J. Allen, W.S. F. Pickering, W. Watts Miller, eds. (London: Routledge), 116-26.
  • 1998c "The Ironies of Fin-de-Siècle Rebellions against Historicism and Empiricism in the École Pratique des Hautes Eacute;tudes, Fifth Section," Religion in the Making: The Emergence of the Sciences of Religion (Studies in the History of Religions: Numen Book Series) Arie L. Molendijk & Peter Pels, eds. (Leiden: Brill), 159-80.
  • 1996 "The Rise of Ritual and the Hegemony of Myth: Sylvain Lévi, the Durkheimians and Max Müller,
  • Myth and Method, W. Doniger and L. Patton, eds., (Charlottesville: U Virginia), 52-81.
  • 1996b "Zionism, Brahminism and the Embodied Sacred", The Sacred and Its Scholars, T. Idinopulos and E. Yonan, eds., (Leiden: Brill)
  • 1995a "Émile Durkheim, Henri Hubert et le discours des modernistes religieux sur le symbolisme", L'ethnographie française 91/1, no. 117 (1995): 33-52.
  • 1989 "Durkheim, Hamelin and the French Hegel", Réflexions historiques/Historical Reflections 16: 135-70.
  • 1989d "Louis Dumont, Individualism and Religion", Religious Studies Review 15 (Jan): 22-9.
  • 1987 "Henri Hubert, Racial Science and Political Myth", Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences 23: 353-67.
  • 1991a "L'apport des élèves de Durkheim", La tradition française en sciences religieuses, M. Despland, ed.
  • (Quèbec: Université Laval), 109-27.

Encyclopedia Articles

  • "Émile Durkheim", Encyclopedia of Global Religion, Mark Juergensmeyer, ed. Sage Publications, 1500 words, submitted Jan 08
  • "Louis Dumont", Encyclopedia of Global Religion, Mark Juergensmeyer, ed. Sage Publications, 1500 words, submitted Apr 08