“Handbook of the sociology of religion”. Roberto Cipriani

The Handbook of the sociology of religion, Roberto Cipriani draw a map of a discipline with an object spiny: the will to believe.

Source: Revista Ñ. By Marcelo Pisarro (08/03/2012)

“Manual de sociología de la religión”. Roberto Cipriani


“Manual de sociología de la religión”. Roberto CiprianiThe anthropologist american Anne Chapman said that science and religion respond to the search for the meaning of life. Although they are very different, both accompany to an uncertain future. “A path leads to the divine origin of man and of all living beings, he pointed out to the author of The selk’nam: the life of the onas and the Island of The States in Prehistory: the first archaeological data –. It is pleasant, it has many signs and altars along the way, but it is a journey in a circle that ends in the same place where you started. Another path leads to the natural origin of all species. It is difficult to move through, is full of thorns, dead-ends and detours, but it leads to a horizon of infinite possibilities.” Here is an idea. Science and religion cross paths in various ways, sometimes friendly, sometimes tense, sometimes quiet. The scientific study of religions, more specifically the sociological study of religion, is one of the possibilities for these encounters.

Handbook of the sociology of religion , the book of the sociologist Italian Roberto Cipriani, draw a map of these routes, of such concurrence.

“The simpler formula for defining the sociology of religion is to affirm that analyzes the phenomenology of religion, with the help of instruments, theoretical and empirical that are typical of sociology.” So begins Cipriani your manual, and then remember that the relationship between sociology in general, and the sociology of religion, in particular, is very narrow.

Emile Durkheim, Auguste Comte, Max Webber, Georg Simmel, Talcott Parsons, many of the large sponsors of the sociology of religion, are the great protagonists of the sociology-of-factly. Some take an academic perspective activist, for or against perspectives confessional or anticonfesionales specific; others assume neutral positions, fleeing the practical applications of immediate, if you well, alert the professor of the University of Rome, “there are not many who choose the solution of the offset non-evaluative and a look absent of prejudice.”

Scientific studies and systematic of the religious facts often find their foundations to modern currents rationalists of the SEVENTEENTH century. From there, if you shoot in multiple directions, are two elements that allow a systematization of the approaches: definitions, substantive and functional definitions of religion.

Early studies placed the shaft in substantive elements, such as rites, cults, deities, the sacred, the supernatural, etc. The second study, more structural, focus on the social function of religion. The guidance substantive prevailed in the initial years; then, he conceded to an orientation functional

In the game of the two provisions theoretical, Cipriani proposes to collect the definitions to more open, less confessional, which evade with more luck the subjective experiences and embrace the greater number of universes that are of religious origin.

“In the background, it is as if you looked at the same object from two different points of view, says–: the incarnation of a presence of non-human reality and the establishment of a meaning explanatory in the interior of the same reality. One doesn’t exclude the other, do not oppose, it is more, you can give a convergence that leads to the same result: the comprehension-explanation of the life in key religious”.

Didactic and patiently, the manual runs through four centuries of academic production of european and us in the pursuit of this understanding, at the same time explanation, of the life in key religious. Moves from the roots to the historical-philosophical (Vico, Comte, Marx, Hume, Tocqueville, Feuerbach) to the input of anthropology (Marcel Mauss, Malinowski, Frazer, Radcliffe-Brown); the classics (Durkheim, Weber, Freud, Simmel, James) to the contemporary (Parsons, Clifford Geertz, Mircea Eliade, Jürgen Habermas, Pierre Bourdieu).

The journey is descriptive, encyclopaedic, a little tedious at times, guiding students or teachers rather than occasional readers of best-sellers with titles like God is good or God is bad or God is dead or God has raised him up or God has already died again .

It is a good attempt, Cipriani; the class of intent, photocopied, becomes the “notes Cipriani”.


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