Religion was a central concern for two of the founding fathers of sociology -Weber and Durkheim- and two other pioneers of modern sociology - Marx and Freud- also made important contributions to our understanding of the role of the supernatural in social life.
These two volumes of significant writings in the sociology of religion begin with statements of major theoretical positions. Parsons, Bellah, Berger and Luckmann are represented here, as are modern writers in the rational choice school. The changing place of religion has been a major concern for sociologists and the selections include 17 central texts in the debate over secularization. Other areas covered are the forms of religious organization; the nature of conversion, recruitment and commitment; new religious movements; religion and politics; and the links between religion, magic and rationality.