This absorbing and original examination brilliantly argues that religion is a product of the society from which it springs--that it is the "sacred canopy" which every human society builds over its world to give it meaning.
In this book, Berger expands on theories of knowledge that he first explored (with Thomas Luckmann) in The Social Construction of Reality. With illustrations drawn from a variety of primitive, ancient, and contemporary religions.
Professor Berger, of The New School in New York, seeks in this volume to apply a general theoretical perspective derived from the sociology of knowledge to the phenomenon of religion. He does not intend the book to be a theological discussion, nor a sociology of religion, but to carry to final sociological Consequences an understanding of religion as a historical product. In developing this Objective, he divides the discussion into two parts, the first concerned with systematic elements focused upon showing the part taken by religion in constructing and maintaining the human world - religion being "the human enterprise by which a sacred cosmos is established"; the second part centering upon historical elements under the general topic of the process of secularization. The work is fully documented by wide reference to religion as a universal human engagement, and at the same time thoroughly contemporary in its awareness of what is going on in today's theological, sociological, and experiential trends. AS readers of Professor Berger's earlier works would expect, the style is lucid, lively, and communicative. This book should have wide use among students both of sociology and religion. (Kirkus Reviews)