Failure and Nerve in the Academic Study of Religion presents a provocative critique of the unwillingness of modern scholars to publically distinguish research into comparative religion from confessional studies written within denominationally-affiliated institutions. The book offers the 19th Century founders of the study of religion as a bracing corrective to contemporary timidity. The issue was analysed and documented by Wiebe a quarter of a century ago. Here, marking Wiebe's work, a wide range of contributors reassess the methodology and ambition of contemporary religious research. The book argues that conceptualizing religion as part of the world of human action and experience is the first requirement of the study of religion.