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Before Religion – A History of a Modern Concept - Yale Scholarship Online
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Before Religion: A History of a Modern Concept

Brent Nongbri


For much of the past two centuries, religion has been understood as a universal phenomenon, a part of the “natural” human experience that is essentially the same across cultures and throughout history. Individual religions may vary through time and geographically, but there is an element, religion, that is to be found in all cultures during all time periods. Taking apart this assumption, this book shows that the idea of religion as a sphere of life distinct from politics, economics, or science is a recent development in European history—a development that has been projected outward in space an ... More

Keywords: religion, European history, ancient writings, antiquity, philosophers, legal theorists, missionaries, universal phenomenon, natural human experience, colonial context

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2013 Print ISBN-13: 9780300154160
Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013 DOI:10.12987/yale/9780300154160.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Brent Nongbri, author