Publications: Anthologies and Editions | Critical Histories of the Study of Religion and "Religion"
The Study of Religion as a Durkheimian Project | Intellectual Biography in Context
Conscience and the Public Intellectual | Religion, Power and Politics

Intellectual Biography in Context

Does interpreting theoretical ideas as intimately attached to the life histories of theorists enhance our understanding of these theories? In the works listed here, I have tried to test this proposition. Émile Durkheim, Louis Dumont, Mircea Eliade, Claude Lévi-Strauss, Henri Hubert, Marcel Mauss and others have been the subjects of a series of experiments to see how far one can push this interpretive strategy.


  • 1988 Four Theories of Myth in Twentieth-Century History (Macmillan/Iowa)
  • 1993 Religion in Relation: Method, Application and Moral Location (Macmillan/South Carolina)
  • 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)
  • 2006b The New Durkheim: Essays on Philosophy, Religious Identity and the Politics of Knowledge (Rutgers University Press).
  • 2006c Thinking about Religion: An Historical Introduction to Theories of Religion (Oxford: Blackwell)
  • 2008 Louis Dumont and the Study of Religion: Difference, Comparison, Transgression (Key Figures in the Study of Religion Series) Equinox Press.


  • 1982c "Love and Anarchy in Romania: A Critical Review of Mircea Eliade's Autobiography, Volume I: 1907-37", Religion 12: 391-403.
  • 1980b "Lévi-Strauss and the Buddhists", Comparative Studies in Society and History 22: 3-22.
  • 2004a "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 für 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.
  • 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.
  • 1996b "Zionism, Brahminism and the Embodied Sacred", The Sacred and Its Scholars, T. Idinopulos and E. Yonan, eds., (Leiden: Brill)