Frameworks and Methodologies

Categories: Click on a topic to go directly to the section.

Literary Studiesthe Scientific Study of ReligionAnthropology and SociologyHistory; PsychologyOther Theories of ReligionSpirituality StudiesLiterature at the Religious Institution

Literary Studies

Bouchard, Larry D. “Religion and Literature: Four Theses and More.” Religion and Literature. 41.2 (2009): 12-19.

Brooks, Joanna. “Soul Matters.” PMLA. 128.4 (2013): 947-952.

Hart, Kevin. “‘Religion and Literature’?” Religion and Literature. 41.2 (2009): 143-147.

Llewellyn, Dawn and Deborah Sawyer. Reading Spiritualities: Constructing and Representing the Sacred. Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2008.

“Methods for the Study of Religion in Early American Literature.” Early American Literature. 45.1 (2010).

Sassen, Saskia. “Organized Religions in Our Global Modernity.” PMLA 126.2 (2011): 455-59.

Venard, Olivier-Thomas, OP. “‘Theology and Literature’: What is it About?” Religion and Literature. 41.2 (2009): 87-93.

Ziolkowski, Eric. “Axial Age Theorising and the Comparative Study of Religion and Literature.” Literature & Theology. 28.2 (2014): 129-150.

Ziolkowski, Eric. Religion and Literature: History and Method. Leiden: Brill, 2020.

The Scientific Study of Religion

Braun, Willi and Russell T. McCutcheon. Guide to the Study of Religion. New York: Cassell, 2000.  

Connolly, Peter, ed. Approaches to the Study of Religion. New York: Cassell, 1999. 

Jensen, Tim and Michael Rothstein, eds. Secular Theories of Religion. Copenhagen: Museum Tusculanum Press, 2000. 

Olson, Carl. Theory and Method in the Study of Religion. Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth, 2003.  

Waardenburg, Jacques. Classical Approaches to the Study of Religion. New York: Walter de Gruyter, 1999.  

Yinger, J. Milton. The Scientific Study of Religion. London: Macmillan, 1970.  

Anthropology and Sociology

Cannell, Fenella, ed. The Anthropology of Christianity. Durham, NC: Duke UP, 2006.

Clarke, Peter B., ed. The Oxford Handbook of the Sociology of Religion. New York: Oxford UP, 2009. 

Eliade, Mircea. The Sacred and the Profane: The Nature of Religion. Trans. Willard R. Trask. New York: Harper Torchbooks, 1961.

Hamilton, Malcolm. The Sociology of Religion: Theoretical and Comparative Perspectives. New York: Routledge, 1995.  

Lambek, Michael, ed. A Reader in the Anthropology of Religion. 2nd ed. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing, 2008.

Morris, Brian. Religion and Anthropology. New York: Cambridge UP, 2006.  

Saler, Benson. Conceptualizing Religion: Immanent Anthropologists, Transcendent Natives, and Unbounded Categories. New York: E.J. Brill, 1993.

Smart, Ninian. Dimensions of the Sacred. Berkeley: U. of California P, 1996.


Burke, Peter. What is Cultural History? 3rd ed. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press, 2019.

Butler, Jon. “Jack-in-the-Box Faith: The Religion Problem in Modern American History.” The Journal of American History, vol. 90, no. 4, 2004, pp. 1357-378.

Carruthers, Mary J. The Book of Memory: A Study of Memory in Medieval Culture. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1990.

Chapman, Alister, John Coffey & Brad Gregory, eds. Seeing Things Their Way: Intellectual History and the Return of Religion. South Bend: University of Notre Dame Press, 2009.

Fides et Historia, vol. 43, no. 2, 2011.

Lofton, Kathryn. “Why Religion is Hard for Historians (and How it Can Be Easier).” Modern American History, vol. 3, no. 1, 2020, pp. 69 – 86.

McCullough, Peter., Hugh Adlington, and Emma Rhatigan. Oxford Handbook of the Early Modern Sermon. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2011.     

McIntire, C. T., ed. God, History, and Historians: Modern Christian Views of History. New York: Oxford University Press, 1977.

McIntire, CT and Ronald A. Wells, eds. History and Historical Understanding. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1984.

Pettergree, Andrew. The Book in the Renaissance. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2010.

——. Reformation and the Culture of Persuasion. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2005.

Sterk, Andrea and Nina Caputo, eds. Faithful Narratives: Historians, Religion, and the Challenge of Objectivity. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2014.


Emmons, Robert A. and Raymond F. Paloutzian. “The Psychology of Religion.” Annual Review of Psychology 54 (2003): 377-402.

Paloutzian, Raymond F. and Crystal L. Park, eds. Handbook of the Psychology of Religion and Spirituality. New York: The Guildford Press, 2005. 

Taves, Ann. Religious Experience Reconsidered. A Building-Block Approach to the Study of Religion and Other Special Things. Princeton, NJ: Princeton UP, 2009.

Other Theories of Religion

Asad, Talal. Formations of the Secular: Christianity, Islam, Modernity. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2003. 

Bataille, Georges. The Theory of Religion. 1973. Trans. Robert Hurley. New York: Zone Books, 1992.

Casanova, José. Public Religions in the Modern World. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1994.

De Vries, Hent, ed. Religion: Beyond a Concept (The Future of the Religious Past). New York: Fordham UP, 2008.  

Hervieu-Léger, Danièle. Religion as a Chain of Memory. Trans. Simon Lee. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers UP, 2000.  

Otto, Rudolph. The Idea of the Holy: An Inquiry into the Non-Rational Factor in the Divine and its Relation to the Rational. Trans. John W. Harvey. 2nd ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 1952.

Tillich, Paul. The Dynamics of Faith. New York: Harper & Row, 1957.

Tweed, Thomas A. Crossing and Dwelling: A Theory of Religion. Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP, 2006.

Spirituality Studies

Dryer, Elizabeth A. and Mark S. Burrows, eds. Minding the Spirit: the Study of Christian Spirituality. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2005.

Hanson, Bradley C. Modern Christian Spirituality: Methodological and Historical Essays. Atlanta, GA: Scholars Press, 1990. 1-12. Print.

Holder, Arthur. The Blackwell Companion to Christian Spirituality. Maldon, MA: Blackwell Publishing, 2005.  

Literature at the Religious Institution

Jacobs, Alan. A Theology of Reading: the Hermeneutics of Love. Routledge, Reprint. 2001.

Ryken, Leland. The Liberated Imagination: Thinking Christianly About the Arts. Colorado Springs: Waterbrook Press, 1989.


Holmes, Arthur. The Idea of a Christian College. 1975. Rev. ed. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdman’s Publishing Company, 1987.

Marsden, George. The Outrageous Idea of Christian Scholarship. New York: Oxford University Press, 1998.