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Before ReligionA History of a Modern Concept$
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Brent Nongbri

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780300154160

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300154160.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
Before Religion

Brent Nongbri

Yale University Press

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.

Keywords:   religion, European history, politics, economics, science, concept of religion

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