From the origins of sociology, the topic of religion has always been central to the discipline. Religion plays a significant part of any society or culture. As founders of the field, key thinkers such as Émile Durkheim, Karl Marx, and Max Weber all made contributions to the social history and meaning of religion that are still being explored today. The SAGE Encyclopedia of the Sociology of Religion takes a three-pronged look at this burgeoning field, namely investigating the role of religion in society; unpacking and evaluating the significance of religion in and on human history; and tracing and outlining the social forces and influences that shape religion. This encyclopedia covers a range of themes from fundamental topics like definitions, secularization, and dimensions of religiosity to such emerging issues as civil religion and new religious movements. Furthermore, the encyclopedia squarely addresses contemporary dilemmas such as fundamentalism and extremism and the role of gender in religion.