Evaluating Scheme for Theories

Pals Daniel 1996,269: Seven Theories of Religion. Oxford University Press. New York & Oxford:

...we must ask of any theory the following questions:

(1) How does it define the subject?

- What concept of religion does it start from?

(2) What type of theory is it?

- Since explanations can be of different kinds, what kind of account does the theorist offer, and why?

(3) What is the range of the theory?

- That is how much of human religious behavior does it claim to explain? All of it? Or just some? And in that light, does it actually do what it claims?

(4) What evidence does the theory appeal to?

- Does it try to probe deeply into a few facts, ideas, and customs or does it spread itself widely to embrace many? Is the range of the evidence wide enough to support the range of the theory?

(5) What is the relationship between a theorist's personal religious belief (or disbelief) and the explanation he chooses to advance?