Misconceptions of the Social Sciences

Robert A. Segal*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Abstract. Scholars in religious studies, or “religionists,” often mischaracterize the social‐scientific study of religion. They assume that a social‐scientific analysis of the origin, function, meaning, or truth of religion either opposes or disregards the believer's analysis, which religionists profess to present and defend. I do not argue that the social sciences analyze religion from the believer's point of view. I argue instead that a social scientific analysis is more akin and germane to the believer's point of view than religionists assume. I single out seven mischaracterizations of the social sciences typically held by religionists.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)263-278
Number of pages16
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 1990


  • believer's point of view
  • Berger
  • Eliade
  • Freud
  • function
  • irreducibly religious
  • meaning
  • origin
  • social‐scientific


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