Cover: A New Science: The Discovery of Religion in the Age of Reason, from Harvard University PressCover: A New Science in HARDCOVER

A New Science

The Discovery of Religion in the Age of Reason

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Product Details


$47.00 • £37.95 • €42.50

ISBN 9780674048607

Publication Date: 06/15/2010


240 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches


[Stroumsa] contends, persuasively and readably, that our current comparative approach to religious phenomena has three main historical roots… Stroumsa maps their relationship with elegance, insight, and a splendid intolerance of cant. This is a major new landmark in the intellectual landscape. It will help us to keep our bearings as we navigate around our own feelings toward religion and religions.—Charles Foster, Fortean Times

Reconsidering the origin myth for the study of religion, Stroumsa moves us back from the 19th to the 17th century and identifies crucial factors that made such an enterprise possible—the Catholic missionary enterprise in the New World and elsewhere; Protestant practices of textual criticism; and above all the continuing aftershocks of the wars of religion. This is a book marked by warmth and generosity of spirit, as well as formidable learning.—Bruce Lincoln, University of Chicago

An erudite and enormously informative work. This book will be a useful guide to the hitherto neglected area of the earlier history of European religious discourse. It also can be an enjoyable reading on its own right for those with an appetite for a rich historical overview.—Tomoko Masuzawa, University of Michigan

The strongest and most passionate book that I have read for the progressive development of a science of religion out of the conflicted and creative history of early modern Europe. Stroumsa makes a powerful case, one with which historians of early modern religion will have to grapple in sustained and thoughtful ways. It will be a landmark in its field.—Jonathan Sheehan, University of California, Berkeley

Awards & Accolades

  • A Choice Outstanding Academic Title of 2011
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