Influential scholar Peter L. Berger explores the sociological underpinnings of religion and the rise of a modern secular society Acclaimed scholar and sociologist Peter L. Berger carefully lays out an understanding of religion as a historical, societal mechanism in this classic work of social theory. Berger examines the roots of religious belief and its gradual dissolution in modern times, applying a general theoretical perspective to specific examples from religions throughout the ages. Building upon the author’s previous work, The Social Construction of Reality, with Thomas Luckmann, this book makes Berger’s case that human societies build a “sacred canopy” to protect, stabilize, and give meaning to their worldview. “[Berger] writes in a concise and lucid style, a rare talent among sociologists, but does so without losing any of the cogency of his material. More impressively, he is almost unparalleled in his creativity. The Sacred Canopy brings together all of these virtues and is easily his most important book. Indeed, I think it’s the most important contribution to the sociology of religion since Max Weber’s The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism.” —Jeffery K. Hadden, Commonweal “This is a brilliant analysis that gives evidence of a sociology of religion that is able to clarify the often ironic interaction of religion and society.” —A. Theodore Kachel, Union Seminary Quarterly Review “[Berger] writes . . . in a challenging way, skillfully injecting theological materials drawn from both Eastern and Western religions to reinforce his points. He also displays an understanding of the issues that concern practicing religionists, while at the same time he tells them frankly where the going for them is likely to be rough.” —Elizabeth K. Nottingham,American Journal of Sociology Peter L. Berger (1929–2017) was an award-winning scholar and author and one of the most important modern American sociologists. Berger graduated from Wagner College in New York in 1949 before receiving his master’s degree and doctorate from The New School in New York in 1950 and 1954, respectively. Berger was a professor emeritus of religion, sociology, and theology at the University of Boston and director of the Institute for the Study of Economic Culture, which studies relationships between economic development and sociocultural change. Berger’s works include Invitation to Sociology (1963), The Social Construction of Reality (1966) with Thomas Luckmann, The Sacred Canopy (1967), and A Rumor of Angels (1969).