Religion and the Social Sciences

Basic and Applied Research Perspectives

Edited by Jeff Levin

Foreword by Rodney Stark

With Julie J. Exline, PhD Linda K. George, PhD Anthony J. Gill, PhD Barry G. Hankins, PhD William E. Jeynes, PhD Byron R. Johnson Annette Mahoney, PhD Charles M. North, PhD Kenneth I. Pargament, PhD


In recent years, researchers across the social sciences have made important contributions to the study of religion. Thanks to their inquiry, we have greatly improved our understanding of how religion influences the vital dimensions of our lives, communities, and institutions.

To give this research the attention it deserves, editor Jeff Levin assembled a panel of preeminent social scientists and gave them a single directive: write the ultimate statement on religion from within their respective social science discipline or field. The result is this single volume, “state-of-the-science” compendium—a first of its kind for the study of religion.

Comprising ten essays, this book details the development of religion as it is studied across nine basic and applied areas of social science. Along with a critical introduction to this subject, these essays include the expert contributions of:

  • Kenneth I. Pargament & Julie J. Exline on psychology
  • Anthony Gill on political science
  • Charles M. North on economics
  • Barry Hankins on history
  • Annette Mahoney on family studies
  • Byron R. Johnson on criminology
  • Linda K. George on gerontology
  • William H. Jeynes on education
  • Jeff Levin on epidemiology

Each essay features:

  • An introduction to the history of the discipline’s or field’s religious research, as well as its most important people and published works.
  • A comprehensive overview of key research findings and theories.
  • A detailed research agenda to guide future scholars.
  • An annotated bibliography of seminal works for the reader’s further consideration.

Broad in scope and essential in focus, Religion and the Social Sciences is a significant addition to the field. It will prove indispensable to both new and established scholars looking for a comprehensive treatment of the subject and seeking promising avenues to pursue in their own research.

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