This chapter explores the history of the concept of religion, using data from diverse fields of research to show that religion does have history. The concept of religion as a sphere of life separate from politics, economics, and science is a recent development in European history, one that has been projected outward in space and backwards in time with the result that religion appears to be a natural and necessary part of the world. It argues, however, that this appearance turns out to be thin and tends to dissipate under close historical examination.
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