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The Anthropology of Religion, Magic, and Witchcraft

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This concise introductory textbook emphasizes the major concepts of both anthropology and the anthropology of religion. It is aimed at students encountering anthropology for the first time. Reviewers describe the text as vivid, rich, user-friendly, accessible, and well-organized.

The text examines religious expression from a cross-cultural perspective while incorporating key theoretical concepts. In addition to providing a basic overview of anthropology, including definition of key terms and exposure to ethnographies, the text exposes students to the varying complexity of world religions.

288 pages, Paperback

First published June 4, 2007

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About the author

Rebecca L. Stein

5 books2 followers

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5 stars
103 (30%)
4 stars
123 (36%)
3 stars
88 (26%)
2 stars
15 (4%)
1 star
5 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 31 reviews
Profile Image for Sonia.
357 reviews
December 18, 2015
This book teaches you about the very many religions out in the world and the principles that define religion. While the text can be card to understand sometimes, if you have the right teacher for it (and i was very lucky to have the right one) it's a very enjoyable class.

This books also talks about how some people take religion too far and how they are not the norm. Which i believe is a great topic to discuss especially because of the current events taking place now.
Profile Image for Larry McCloskey.
89 reviews
April 5, 2015
As a textbook, this book is great. It offers explorations of many different topics and looks at them all from many differing perspectives and from different cultural groups and culture areas.

The depth of some topics is a bit light, but the "easy reading" writing style makes the trade-off worth it. The book is definitely written from a position of cultural relativism, though, which makes discussion a bit lacking at times - culture's beliefs are stated as fact and left alone. For higher level courses, more time spent on understanding the whys and hows would be nice - but, again, this is a textbook so a good instructor could and should certainly fill in those gaps.

Profile Image for Paige Johnson.
Author 21 books22 followers
June 15, 2022
Never will forget the Brazilian custom to make banana stew out of loved ones’ ashes to be closer to them.
Profile Image for Amylyn.
46 reviews35 followers
October 19, 2014
Contains a lot of interesting material. Elaboration was stingy but variety was definitely not. There were many different types of cultures looked at, traditions acknowledged, and terms defined. There were parts that were hard to get through because of the lack of enthusiasm. It was pretty blunt and lacked passion, but it is a book mainly meant to teach an overview and not meant to really get into the subject matter in a deep and meaningful way. Overall, I enjoyed the knowledge gained.
5 reviews1 follower
June 24, 2015
I read this for my World Religion class. I thought it was really good, but a Native American coworker took a look at it and informed me of the bias it presented. It's extremely difficult to find anything without bias these days. That being said, I did enjoy reading it. It was very easy to get through especially for a textbook.
Profile Image for Shelly Wilson.
83 reviews4 followers
April 24, 2020
This is a textbook we use for a class I teach. The anthropology of religion is a really interesting topic, but this text makes it seem tedious. It’s informative, which is why it gets three stars instead of two. If you’re looking for an Anthropology of Religion text for your class, keep going- there has got to be a better one out there.
Profile Image for Andrew.
108 reviews1 follower
December 5, 2021
I really enjoyed the logical structure of this textbook as I thought it did a great job of providing a progression of topics which fall in to the categories or religion, magic, and witchcraft. My only real critique of this book is that I wanted more from it! It fits perfectly to a semester course and provides a pretty general overview of a lot of great topics, but will leave the reader wanting more detail in some sections; however, the recommended readings at the end of each chapter are pretty great as it provides nonfiction and fiction literature to read to allow the reader to learn more of a topic that may interest them.
Profile Image for Juan Arboleda.
1 review2 followers
December 1, 2017
Great and easy to follow

This is a great book of you want to learn and see beliefs, magic, and rituals in a different light. Having used this book for the class gave me a new appreciation the things other cultures do different.
2 reviews
September 5, 2018
Needed for anthropology course

This book was required but overall it was a good read. Ended up with an A so it was easily read although the course itself was challenging. As long as you enjoy anthropology you will enjoy this book.
Profile Image for Janet.
120 reviews8 followers
May 15, 2019
Enjoyed reading this! Very informative.
Profile Image for Eric.
12 reviews
May 17, 2020
The book is fairly basic and easy to read. A good introduction to some concepts and themes.
Profile Image for M.A. Stern.
519 reviews6 followers
October 6, 2021
This is a good introductory textbook for those who are interested in the topics. However please consult other resources too
38 reviews
February 18, 2023
Educational, interesting, and written with an appropriate amount of background and rigor for a student new to anthropology
Profile Image for Alexandria.
80 reviews
June 2, 2019
Great book for an intro anthropology class into religion. Covers the basics of what religions are made up of while remaining respectful, with both emic and etic perspectives.
Profile Image for stephen baker.
19 reviews
February 22, 2022
if you are looking for a book on anglo witchcraft this will not be it, but understanding origins of spiritualism is essential if you are interested in modern day witchcraft.
Profile Image for Chase Parsley.
490 reviews14 followers
April 13, 2016
Co-authors Stein and Stein write a very good textbook about all concepts associated with religion. I admit to being extremely interested when I read the parts about symbols, withcraft, the dangers of religion, and more. A readable book for anyone interested in religious studies!
Displaying 1 - 30 of 31 reviews

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