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Product Details

  • Paperback: 172 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA (August 26, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199731977
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199731978
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.4 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #686,117 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review


"Well written and clearly argued, Moral Believing Animals is both a searching critique of recent social theory and an important first step toward the articulation of a richer model of human personhood, motivation, and culture."
--INSight


"A concise book that is enjoyable and easy to read, offering a far-reaching synthesis of a variety of philosophical and sociological approaches.... Smith masterfully situates many of the key current debates while calling attention to their historical origins and implicit assumptions."
--Contemporary Sociology


"An admirable model of wide-ranging and rich yet focused scholarship."
--The Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion


About the Author

William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Sociology and Director of the Center for the Study of Religion and Society at the University of Notre Dame

More About the Author

Christian Smith is the William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Sociology and Director of the Center for the Study of Religion and Society, and the Center for Social Research at the University of Notre Dame. He is the author of many books, including What is a Person?: Rethinking Humanity, Social Life, and the Moral Good from the Person Up (Chicago 201); Passing the Plate: Why American Christians Do Not Give Away More Money (OUP 2008); Soul Searching: the Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers (OUP 2005), Winner of the 2005 "Distinguished Book Award" from Christianity Today; and Moral, Believing Animals: Human Personhood and Culture (OUP 2003).

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Venerable Bede on August 1, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Sociologists have been waiting a long time
for something like this. Though the sociology
of religion has come a long way, works that
unpack the religious and philosophical
assumptions of sociology have been few
and far between. Besides Peter Berger's Rumor
of Angels and Robert Bellah's Beyond Belief,
I'm not sure that anything comes as close as
Moral, Believing Animals in laying the groundwork
for a dialogue between religion and social science.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By suburban dissident on April 26, 2011
Format: Paperback
This book represents the first attempt of one of the leading minds in the sociology of religion to address the question of what exactly are human persons - one of the central units of analysis in the study of society. With the obvious nod to Alasdair MacIntyre (and his work Moral Reasoning Animals), Smith points out how central to any concept of the human person is the recognition that we are, as the title intimates, moral (in that we have a sense of there being right and wrong things, actions, etc. -though that doesn't mean we share similar moral content!) and believing (ideas and concepts fill and shape the way we view our world). With that in mind, Smith than looks at the consequences of this for how we view motivations, narratives, culture, etc.

This thought provoking work should be viewed as an important transition point from Smith's early substantive work on religion, motivations, and action (Resisting Reagan and the Emergence of Liberation Theology) as well as his work on beliefs, culture and collective identity (American Evangelicalism) toward his most recent tome that draws a more complete and complex picture of the human person (What is a Person?).
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful By S. VanCott on May 26, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I read this book for a Sociology capstone class and found it very interesting. Smith writes in an understandable way and presents his theory in an organized way. I really like his theory of personhood.
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5 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Peter P. Fuchs on April 24, 2011
Format: Paperback
I must say this author Christian Smith is the gift that keeps on giving. It is often very hard to sum up the misunderstandings and essentially anti-intellectual propaganda surrounding errors of interpretation involving the Enlightenment. It is easy to do it with Evangelicals on TV, like the 700 club who are regularly so obsessed with the "Illuminati" that they imagine they are still around somewhere hiding behind a bush. The "Illuminati" are a paranoid symbol for a huge caricature of the Enlightenment's intents that they find objectionable. So objectionable that it would seem to cancel out collaterally the very founding notions of the United States. But, no matter, they continue in their obsessions. By contrast, there seems to be a whole realm of academics, often Catholics but not always, who are dedicated to trying to eviscerate any real real critical power from the Enlightenment ethos, and re-establish rationality in a context more akin to unchanging religious dogma. But it is a rather slippery affair with these folks. Unlike the sometime anti-intellectualism of the Evangelicals, these crypto-anti-intellectuals want to use intellectual matters themselves to do it. And it must be admitted that they have a long tradition in Western culture in their corner. And they are welcome to it. No one sane disputes their right to busy themselves with their long tradition. But it is quite another thing for these people to be involved essentially in intellectual skullduggery and manifestly thuggish hit jobs against the very basis of modern societies -- the Enlightenment. Well sadly that is exactly what one finds in this book.Read more ›
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