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81 books about Comparative Religion [sort by author]      

Accounting for Fundamentalisms: The Dynamic Character of Movements
Edited by Martin E. Marty and R. Scott Appleby
University of Chicago Press, 1994

Accounting for Fundamentalisms features treatments of fundamentalist movements, groups that often make headlines but are rarely understood, as part of the multivolume Fundamentalism Project. This book remains a standard reference source for comprehending the dynamics of fundamentalist movements around the world. Surveying fundamentalist movements in Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism, and Buddhism, the contributors to Accounting for Fundamentalisms describe the organization of these movements, their leadership and recruiting techniques, and the ways in which their ideological programs and organizational structures shift over time in response to changing political and social environments.
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Afro-Caribbean Religions: An Introduction to Their Historical, Cultural, and Sacred Traditions
Nathaniel Samuel Murrell
Temple University Press, 2009

Religion is one of the most important elements of Afro-Caribbean culture linking its people to their African past, from Haitian Vodou and Cuban Santeria—popular religions that have often been demonized in popular culture—to Rastafari in Jamaica and Orisha-Shango of Trinidad and Tobago. In Afro-Caribbean Religions, Nathaniel Samuel Murrell provides a comprehensive study that respectfully traces the social, historical, and political contexts of these religions. And, because Brazil has the largest African population in the world outside of Africa, and has historic ties to the Caribbean, Murrell includes a section on Candomble, Umbanda, Xango, and Batique.

This accessibly written introduction to Afro-Caribbean religions examines the cultural traditions and transformations of all of the African-derived religions of the Caribbean along with their cosmology, beliefs, cultic structures, and ritual practices. Ideal for classroom use, Afro-Caribbean Religions also includes a glossary defining unfamiliar terms and identifying key figures.
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ANCIENT RELIGIONS
Sarah Iles JOHNSTON
Harvard University Press, 2007

Religious beliefs and practices, which permeated all aspects of life in antiquity, traveled well-worn routes throughout the Mediterranean: itinerant charismatic practitioners peddled their skills as healers, purifiers, cursers, and initiators; and vessels decorated with illustrations of myths traveled with them. This collection of essays, drawn from the groundbreaking reference work Religion in the Ancient World, offers an expansive, comparative perspective on this complex spiritual world.
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Autobiography, Volume 1: 1907-1937, Journey East, Journey West
Mircea Eliade
University of Chicago Press, 1990

"Here finally are Eliade's memoirs of the first thirty years of his life in Mac Linscott Rickett's crisp and lucid English translation. They present a fascinating account of the early development of a Renaissance talent, expressed in everything from daily and periodical journalism, realistic and fantastic fiction, and general nonfiction works to distinguished contributions to the history of religions. Autobiography follows an apparently amazingly candid report of this remarkable man's progression from a mischievous street urchin and literary prodigy, through his various love affairs, a decisive and traumatic Indian sojourn, and active, brilliant participation in pre-World War II Romanian cultural life."—Seymour Cain, Religious Studies Review
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Autobiography, Volume 2: 1937-1960, Exile's Odyssey
Mircea Eliade
University of Chicago Press, 1988

"Here finally are Eliade's memoirs of the first thirty years of his life in Mac Linscott Rickett's crisp and lucid English translation. They present a fascinating account of the early development of a Renaissance talent, expressed in everything from daily and periodical journalism, realistic and fantastic fiction, and general nonfiction works to distinguished contributions to the history of religions. Autobiography follows an apparently amazingly candid report of this remarkable man's progression from a mischievous street urchin and literary prodigy, through his various love affairs, a decisive and traumatic Indian sojourn, and active, brilliant participation in pre-World War II Romanian cultural life."—Seymour Cain, Religious Studies Review
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Babylonian Genesis: The Story of the Creation
Alexander Heidel
University of Chicago Press, 1963

Here is a complete translation of all the published cuneiform tablets of the various Babylonian creation stories, of both the Semitic Babylonian and the Sumerian material. Each creation account is preceded by a brief introduction dealing with the age and provenance of the tablets, the aim and purpose of the story, etc. Also included is a translation and discussion of two Babylonian creation versions written in Greek. The final chapter presents a detailed examination of the Babylonian creation accounts in their relation to our Old Testament literature.
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The Bedtrick: Tales of Sex and Masquerade
Wendy Doniger
University of Chicago Press, 2000

"Somehow I woke up one day and found myself in bed with a stranger." Meant literally or figuratively, this statement describes one of the best-known plots in world mythology and popular storytelling. In a tour that runs from Shakespeare to Hollywood and from Abraham Lincoln to Casanova, the erudite and irrepressible Wendy Doniger shows us the variety, danger, and allure of the "bedtrick," or what it means to wake up with a stranger.

The Bedtrick brings together hundreds of stories from all over the world, from the earliest recorded Hindu and Hebrew texts to the latest item in the Weekly World News, to show the hilariously convoluted sexual scrapes that people manage to get themselves into and out of. Here you will find wives who accidentally commit adultery with their own husbands. You will read Lincoln's truly terrible poem about a bedtrick. You will learn that in Hong Kong the film The Crying Game was retitled Oh No! My Girlfriend Has a Penis. And that President Clinton was not the first man to be identified by an idiosyncratic organ.

At the bottom of these wonderful stories, ancient myths, and historical anecdotes lie the dynamics of sex and gender, power and identity. Why can't people tell the difference in the dark? Can love always tell the difference between one lover and another? And what kind of truth does sex tell? Funny, sexy, and engaging, The Bedtrick is a masterful work of energetic storytelling and dazzling scholarship. Give it to your spouse and your lover.
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The Birth of the Living God: A Psychoanalytic Study
Ana-Marie Rizzuto
University of Chicago Press, 1981

Utilizing both clinical material based on the life histories of twenty patients and theoretical insights from the works of Freud, Erikson, Fairbairn, and Winnicott, Ana-Maria Rizzuto examines the origin, development, and use of our God images. Whereas Freud postulated that belief in God is based on a child's idea of his father, Rizzuto argues that the God representation draws from a variety of sources and is a major element in the fabric of one's view of self, others, and the world.
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Blessing Same-Sex Unions: The Perils of Queer Romance and the Confusions of Christian Marriage
Mark D. Jordan
University of Chicago Press, 2005

At most church weddings, the person presiding over the ritual is not a priest or a pastor, but the wedding planner, followed by the photographer, the florist, and the caterer. And in this day and age, more wedding theology is supplied by Modern Bride magazine or reality television than by any of the Christian treatises on holy matrimony. Indeed, church weddings have strayed long and far from distinctly Christian aspirations. The costumes and gestures might still be right, but the intentions are hardly religious.

Why then, asks noted gay commentator Mark D. Jordan, are so many churches vehemently opposed to blessing same-sex unions? In this incisive work, Jordan shows how carefully selected ideals of Christian marriage have come to dominate recent debates over same-sex unions. Opponents of gay marriage, he reveals, too often confuse simplified ideals of matrimony with historical facts. They suppose, for instance, that there has been a stable Christian tradition of marriage across millennia, when in reality Christians have quarreled among themselves for centuries about even the most basic elements of marital theology, authorizing experiments like polygamy and divorce.

Jordan also argues that no matter what the courts do, Christian churches will have to decide for themselves whether to bless same-sex unions. No civil compromise can settle the religious questions surrounding gay marriage. And queer Christians, he contends, will have to discover for themselves what they really want out of marriage. If they are not just after legal recognition as a couple or a place at the social table, do they really seek the blessing of God? Or just the garish melodrama of a white wedding? Posing trenchant questions such as these, Blessing Same-Sex Unions will be a must-read for both sides of the debate over gay marriage in America today.
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THE BOOK THAT CHANGED EUROPE
Lynn Hunt
Harvard University Press, 2010

Chosen among Women: Mary and Fatima in Medieval Christianity and Shi'ite Islam
Mary F. Thurlkill
University of Notre Dame Press, 2007

Chosen among Women: Mary and Fatima in Medieval Christianity and Shi`ite Islam combines historical analysis with the tools of gender studies and religious studies to compare the roles of the Virgin Mary in medieval Christianity with those of Fatima, daughter of the prophet Muhammad, in Shi`ite Islam. The book explores the proliferation of Marian imagery in Late Antiquity through the Church fathers and popular hagiography. It examines how Merovingian authors assimilated powerful queens and abbesses to a Marian prototype to articulate their political significance and, at the same time, censure holy women's public charisma. Mary Thurlkill focuses as well on the importance of Fatima in the evolution of Shi`ite identity throughout the Middle East. She examines how scholars such as Muhammad Baqir al-Majlisi advertised Fatima as a symbol of the Shi`ite holy family and its glorified status in paradise, while simultaneously binding her as a mother to the domestic sphere and patriarchal authority.

This important comparative look at feminine ideals in both Shi`ite Islam and medieval Christianity is of relevance and value in the modern world. It will be welcomed by scholars and students of Islam, comparative religion, medieval Christianity, and gender studies.
 
“Thurlkill has produced a remarkable study, a model for comparative work in the history of religions. The book is original, well-researched, and shows great erudition. Thurlkill's original acumen is brought to bear on a rich and variegated topic that has for too long been ignored by specialists not willing to move beyond the confines of overly determined areas of research.“ —Brannon Wheeler, United States Naval Academy
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Contesting Sacrifice: Religion, Nationalism, and Social Thought in France
Ivan Strenski
University of Chicago Press, 2002

From the counter-reformation through the twentieth century, the notion of sacrifice has played a key role in French culture and nationalist politics. Ivan Strenski traces the history of sacrificial thought in France, starting from its origins in Roman Catholic theology. Throughout, he highlights not just the dominant discourse on sacrifice but also the many competing conceptions that contested it.

Strenski suggests that the annihilating spirituality rooted in the Catholic model of Eucharistic sacrifice persuaded the judges in the Dreyfus Case to overlook or play down his possible innocence because a scapegoat was needed to expiate the sins of France and save its army from disgrace. Strenski also suggests that the French army's strategy in World War I, French fascism, and debates over public education and civic morals during the Third Republic all owe much to Catholic theology of sacrifice and Protestant reinterpretations of it. Pointing out that every major theorist of sacrifice is French, including Bataille, Durkheim, Girard, Hubert, and Mauss, Strenski argues that we cannot fully understand their work without first taking into account the deep roots of sacrificial thought in French history.
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Divine Love: Perspectives from the World's Religious Traditions
Jeff Levin
Templeton Press, 2010

The contributors to Divine Love cover a broad spectrum of world religions, comparing and contrasting approaches to the topic among Christians of several denominations, Jews, Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus, and adherents of traditional African religion. Each chapter focuses on the definition and conceptual boundaries of divine love; on its expression and experience; on its instrumentality and salience; and both on how it can become distorted and on how it has been made manifest or restored by great historic exemplars of altruism, compassion, and unlimited love.

The ultimate aim for many of the world’s major faith traditions is to love and be loved by God—to live in connection with the Divine, in union with the Beloved, in reconciliation with the Ultimate. Religious scholars Jeff Levin and Stephen G. Post have termed this connection “divine love.” In their new collection of the same name, they have invited eight of the world’s preeminent religious scholars to share their perspectives on the what, how, and why of divine love.

From this diverse gathering of perspectives emerges evidence that to love and to be loved by God, to enter into a mutual and covenantal relationship with the Divine, may well offer solutions to many of the current crises around the world. Only a loving relationship with the Source of being within the context of the great faith and wisdom traditions of the world can fully inform and motivate the acts of love, unity, justice, compassion, kindness, and mercy for all beings that are so desperately required to counter the toxic influences in the world.

Contributors: William C. Chittick, Vigen Guroian, Ruben L. F. Habito, William K. Mahony, John S. Mbiti, Jacob Neusner, Clark H. Pinnock, and David Tracy.

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Drudgery Divine: On the Comparison of Early Christianities and the Religions of Late Antiquity
Jonathan Z. Smith
University of Chicago Press, 1990

In this major theoretical and methodological statement on the history of religions, Jonathan Z. Smith shows how convert apologetic agendas can dictate the course of comparative religious studies. As his example, Smith reviews four centuries of scholarship comparing early Christianities with religions of late Antiquity (especially the so-called mystery cults) and shows how this scholarship has been based upon an underlying Protestant-Catholic polemic. The result is a devastating critique of traditional New Testament scholarship, a redescription of early Christianities as religious traditions amenable to comparison, and a milestone in Smith's controversial approach to comparative religious studies.

"An important book, and certainly one of the most significant in the career of Jonathan Z. Smith, whom one may venture to call the greatest pathologist in the history of religions. As in many precedent cases, Smith follows a standard procedure: he carefully selects his victim, and then dissects with artistic finesse and unequaled acumen. The operation is always necessary, and a deconstructor of Smith's caliber is hard to find."—Ioan P. Coulianu, Journal of Religion
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Empire of Religion: Imperialism and Comparative Religion
David Chidester
University of Chicago Press, 2014

How is knowledge about religion and religions produced, and how is that knowledge authenticated and circulated? David Chidester seeks to answer these questions in Empire of Religion, documenting and analyzing the emergence of a science of comparative religion in Great Britain during the second half of the nineteenth century and its complex relations to the colonial situation in southern Africa. In the process, Chidester provides a counterhistory of the academic study of religion, an alternative to standard accounts that have failed to link the field of comparative religion with either the power relations or the historical contingencies of the imperial project.
 
In developing a material history of the study of religion, Chidester documents the importance of African religion, the persistence of the divide between savagery and civilization, and the salience of mediations—imperial, colonial, and indigenous—in which knowledge about religions was produced. He then identifies the recurrence of these mediations in a number of case studies, including Friedrich Max Müller’s dependence on colonial experts, H. Rider Haggard and John Buchan’s fictional accounts of African religion, and W. E. B. Du Bois’s studies of African religion. By reclaiming these theorists for this history, Chidester shows that race, rather than theology, was formative in the emerging study of religion in Europe and North America. Sure to be controversial, Empire of Religion is a major contribution to the field of comparative religious studies.
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Erasmus and the Jews
Shimon Markish
University of Chicago Press, 1986

Erasmus of Rotterdam was the greatest Christian humanist scholar of the Northern European Renaissance, a correspondent of Sir Thomas More and many other learned men of his time, known to his contemporaries and to posterity for subtlety of his thought and the depth of his learning. He was also, according to some modern writers, an anti-Semite. In this complete analysis of all of Erasmus' writings on Jews and Judaism, Shimon Markish asserts that the accusation cannot be sustained. For Markish, to ask whether Erasmus was a friend or enemy of the Jews is to ask a modern question of a sixteenth-century man, whose attitude can best be called "asemitism." Erasmus' chief preoccupation was with the future of "the true philosophy of Christ"; he had little interest in the Jewish community of his own time.

Erasmus and the Jews discusses Erasmus' critique of Mosaic law and his view of the conflict between "Judaism" as legalistic morality and Jesus' teaching; his judgment on the Pharisees of Jesus' time; his emphasis on the importance of the study of Hebrew; and his opinions of sixteenth-century Jews. This meticulous analysis reveals an Erasmus who defended his vision of true piety by rejecting "Judaizing" Christians more than Jews and who saw the Old Testament as integral to the Christian worldview. As a Christian, he regretted nonbelief and pitied unbelievers, without vicious hostility toward any single people. His theological opposition to a form of religious thought which he identified with Judaism was not translated into crude prejudice against actual Jews. In general, his calm consideration of the strange and the foreign and his willingness to restrict his judgments to the philosophical realm were, Markish argues, early and significant steps toward enlightened toleration.

Markish's discussion of Erasmus is supplemented with an Afterword by theologian and philosopher Arthur A. Cohen, who offers a variant interpretation of Erasmus' writings and attitudes. The juxtaposed arguments of the two scholars make this an especially illuminating work for any student of Erasmus and his influence. Erasmus and the Jews also gives a necessary clarity to our understanding of the meaning of anti-Semitism and the history of religious toleration. Markish's profound knowledge of Erasmus allows him to demonstrate the fundamental importance of putting arguments and terminology in the context of a thinker's work and his own time.

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The Family of Abraham
Carol Bakhos
Harvard University Press, 2014

"Abrahamic religions" has gained currency in scholarly and ecumenical circles as a way to refer to Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Carol Bakhos steps back from the convention to ask: What is Abrahamic about these three faiths? She challenges references to Judaism and Islam as sibling religions and warns against uncritical adoption of the term.
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The Forbidden Image: An Intellectual History of Iconoclasm
Alain Besançon
University of Chicago Press, 2001

 

Philosophers and theologians have long engaged in intense debate and introspection over the representation of the deity, its possibilities and its proscriptions. The Forbidden Image traces the dual strains of “iconophilia” and iconoclasm, the privileging and prohibition of religious images, over a span of two and a half millennia in the West.

Alain Besançon’s work begins with a comprehensive examination of the status of the image in Greek, Judaic, Islamic, and Christian thought. The author then addresses arguments regarding the moral authority of the image in European Christianity from the medieval through the early modern periods. Besançon completes The Forbidden Image with an examination of how iconophilia and iconoclasm have been debated in the modern period.

“Even the reader who has heard something of the Byzantine quarrels about images and their theological background will be surprised by a learned and convincing interpretation of the works of Mondrian, Kandinsky, and Malevich in terms of religiously inspired iconoclasm. . . . This is an immensely rich and powerful masterpiece.”—Leszek Kolakowski, Times Literary Supplement

 

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The Forge and the Crucible: The Origins and Structure of Alchemy
Mircea Eliade
University of Chicago Press, 1979

Primitive man's discovery of the ability to change matter from one state to another brought about a profound change in spiritual behavior. In The Forge and the Crucible, Mircea Eliade follows the ritualistic adventures of these ancient societies, adventures rooted in the people's awareness of an awesome new power.

The new edition of The Forge and the Crucible contains an updated appendix, in which Eliade lists works on Chinese alchemy published in the past few years. He also discusses the importance of alchemy in Newton's scientific evolution.
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Formations of the Secular: Christianity, Islam, Modernity
Talal Asad
Stanford University Press, 2003

Opening with the provocative query "what might an anthropology of the secular look like?" this book explores the concepts, practices, and political formations of secularism. The focus is on major historical shifts that have shaped secular sensibilities and attitudes towards Islam in the modern West and the Middle East. ---------- Talal Asad is Distinguished Professor of Anthropology at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. He is the author of Genealogies of Religion. ---------- Opening with the provocative query "what might an anthropology of the secular look like?" this book explores the concepts, practices, and political formations of secularism, with emphasis on the major historical shifts that have shaped secular sensibilities and attitudes in the modern West and the Middle East. Talal Asad proceeds to dismantle commonly held assumptions about the secular and the terrain it allegedly covers. He argues that while anthropologists have oriented themselves to the study of the "strangeness of the non-European world" and to what are seen as non-rational dimensions of social life (things like myth, taboo, and religion),the modern and the secular have not been adequately examined. The conclusion is that the secular cannot be viewed as a successor to religion, or be seen as on the side of the rational. It is a category with a multi-layered history, related to major premises of modernity, democracy, and the concept of human rights. This book will appeal to anthropologists, historians, religious studies scholars, as well as scholars working on modernity.
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Fundamentalisms and Society: Reclaiming the Sciences, the Family, and Education
Edited by Martin E. Marty and R. Scott Appleby
University of Chicago Press, 1993

The Fundamentalism Project
Edited by Martin E. Marty and R. Scott Appleby

Around the world, fundamentalist movements are profoundly
affecting the way we live. Misinformation and misperception
about fundamentalism exacerbate conflicts at home and abroad.
Yet policymakers, journalists, students, and others have
lacked any comprehensive resource on the explosive phenomenon
of fundamentalism. Now the Fundamentalism Project has
assembled an international team of scholars for a multivolume
assessment of the history, scope, sources, character, and
impact of fundamentalist movements within the world's major
religious traditions.

Fundamentalisms and Society shows how fundamentalist
movements have influenced human relations, education, women's
rights, and scientific research in over a dozen nations and
within the traditions of Islam, Judaism, Christianity,
Buddhism, and Hinduism. Drawn from the fields of
anthropology, sociology, history of religion, and history of
science, the contributors cover topics such as the
educational structures of Hindu revivalism, women in
fundamentalist Iran and Pakistan, and the creationist cosmos
of Protestant fundamentalism. In a concluding essay, William
H. McNeill situates contemporary fundamentalisms within a
world historical context.
The Fundamentalism Project, Volume 2

Martin E. Marty and R. Scott Appleby direct the
Fundamentalism Project. Marty, the Fairfax M. Cone
Distinguished Service Professor of the History of Modern
Christianity at the University of Chicago, is the senior
editor of the Christian Century and the author of
numerous books, including the multivolume Modern American
Religion, also published by the University of
Chicago Press. Appleby, a research associate at the
University of Chicago, is the author of “Church and
Age Unite!” The Modernist Impulse in American
Catholicism.
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Fundamentalisms and the State: Remaking Polities, Economies, and Militance
Edited by Martin E. Marty and R. Scott Appleby
University of Chicago Press, 1993

Do fundamentalisms tend toward political activism, and how
successful have they been in remaking political structures?
To answer this question, the contributors to this volume—
political scientists, historians of religion,
anthropologists, and sociologists—discuss the anti-
abortion movement, Operation Rescue in the United States, the
Islamic war of resistance in Afghanistan, Shi'ite
jurisprudence in Iran, and other issues. The volume
considers the effect that antisecular religious movements
have had over the past twenty-five years on national
economies, political parties, constitutional issues, and
international relations on five continents and within the
traditions of Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism,
Hinduism, and Sikhism. Marty and Appleby conclude with a
synthetic statement on the fundamentalist impact on polities,
economies, and state security.
The Fundamentalism Project, Volume 3

Martin E. Marty and R. Scott Appleby direct the
Fundamentalism Project. Marty, the Fairfax M. Cone
Distinguished Service Professor of the History of Modern
Christianity at the University of Chicago, is the senior
editor of the Christian Century and the author of
numerous books, including the multivolume Modern American
Religion, also published by the University of
Chicago Press. Appleby, a research associate at the
University of Chicago, is the author of “Church and
Age Unite!” The Modernist Impulse in American
Catholicism.
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Fundamentalisms Comprehended
Edited by Martin E. Marty and R. Scott Appleby
University of Chicago Press, 1995

In this fifth volume of the Fundamentalism Project, Fundamentalisms Comprehended, the distinguished contributors return to and test the endeavor's beginning premise: that fundamentalisms in all faiths share certain "family resemblances." Several of the essays reconsider the project's original definition of fundamentalism as a reactive, absolutist, and comprehensive mode of anti-secular religious activism. The book concludes with a capstone statement by R. Scott Appleby, Emmanuel Sivan, and Gabriel Almond that builds upon the entire Fundamentalism Project. Identifying different categories of fundamentalist movements, and delineating four distinct patterns of fundamentalist behavior toward outsiders, this statement provides an explanatory framework for understanding and comparing fundamentalisms around the world.
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Fundamentalisms Observed
Edited by Martin E. Marty and R. Scott Appleby
University of Chicago Press, 1991

This volume is an encyclopedic introduction to movements of religious reaction in the twentieth century. The fourteen chapters are thematically linked by a common set of concerns: the social, political, cultural, and religious contexts in which these movements were born; the particular world-views, systems of thought, and beliefs that govern each movement; the ways in which leaders and group members make sense of and respond to the challenges of the modern, postcolonial era in world history.

The contributors include sociologists, cultural anthropologists, and historians, some of whom have been participant-observers in the groups under consideration. As an analysis of the global resurgence of religion, Fundamentalisms Observed sheds new light on current religious movements and cultures from North America to the Far East.
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Global Perspectives on Science and Religion
Pranab Das
Templeton Press, 2009

Gathering thinkers from ten countries and from a variety of scientific and spiritual backgrounds, Global Perspectives on Science and Spirituality leads readers on a fascinating tour of distinctly non-Western approaches to topics in these two fields. These voices add fresh and invigorating input to a dialogue that has thus far been predominantly guided by scholars from the United States or Western Europe.

The award-winning researchers represented in this volume were selected from a pool of over one hundred and fifty applications, and they offer the very best scholarship from underrepresented regions around the globe. The essays cover a wide spectrum of scientific fields, spanning mathematical physics, robotics, biosemiotics and other new schools of theoretical biology, embryonic stem cells, cognitive science, and the concept of opening the human mind to broader ideas of reality. Hailing from some of the top research institutions in India, Japan, Russia, Korea, China, and a variety of Eastern European nations, contributors offer unique insights into the spiritual and philosophical traditions of their cultures. At the same time, they also deftly engage concepts from the ongoing Western dialogue in its own terms, delving deeply, at times, into schools of thought like phenomenology or process thought.

Scholars, students, researchers, and anyone seeking new ways of understanding the interplay of spirituality and science will discover in these truly interdisciplinary essays a multitude of windows into previously underexplored areas of research. Indeed, any one of these pieces could serve as the basis for entirely new programs of long-term study.

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Gods and Demons, Priests and Scholars: Critical Explorations in the History of Religions
Bruce Lincoln
University of Chicago Press, 2012

Bruce Lincoln is one of the most prominent advocates within religious studies for an uncompromisingly critical approach to the phenomenon of religion—historians of religions, he believes, should resist the preferred narratives and self-understanding of religions themselves, especially when their stories are endowed with sacred origins and authority. In Gods and Demons, Priests and Scholars, Lincoln assembles a collection of essays that both illustrates and reveals the benefits of his methodology, making a case for a critical religious studies that starts with skepticism but is neither cynical nor crude.

The book begins with Lincoln’s “Theses on Method” and ends with “The (Un)discipline of Religious Studies,” in which he unsparingly considers the failings of uncritical and nonhistorical approaches to the study of religions. In between, Lincoln presents new examinations of problems in ancient religions and relates these cases to larger comparative themes. While bringing to light important features of the formation of pantheons and the constructions of demons, chaos, and the dead, Lincoln demonstrates that historians of religions should take religious things—inspired scriptures, sacred centers, salvific rites, communities graced by divine favor—as the theories of interested humans that shape perception, community, and experiences. As he shows, it is for their terrestrial influence, and not their sacred origins, that religious phenomena merit consideration by the historian.
 
Tackling many questions central to religious study, Gods and Demons, Priests and Scholars will be a touchstone for the history of religions in the twenty-first century.
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Hasidism Incarnate: Hasidism, Christianity, and the Construction of Modern Judaism
Shaul Magid
Stanford University Press, 2015

Hasidism Incarnate contends that much of modern Judaism in the West developed in reaction to Christianity and in defense of Judaism as a unique tradition. Ironically enough, this occurred even as modern Judaism increasingly dovetailed with Christianity with regard to its ethos, aesthetics, and attitude toward ritual and faith. Shaul Magid argues that the Hasidic movement in Eastern Europe constitutes an alternative "modernity," one that opens a new window on Jewish theological history. Unlike Judaism in German lands, Hasidism did not develop under a "Christian gaze" and had no need to be apologetic of its positions. Unburdened by an apologetic agenda (at least toward Christianity), it offered a particular reading of medieval Jewish Kabbalah filtered through a focus on the charismatic leader that resulted in a religious worldview that has much in common with Christianity. It is not that Hasidic masters knew about Christianity; rather, the basic tenets of Christianity remained present, albeit often in veiled form, in much kabbalistic teaching that Hasidism took up in its portrayal of the charismatic figure of the zaddik, whom it often described in supernatural terms.
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History of Religious Ideas, Volume 1: From the Stone Age to the Eleusinian Mysteries
Mircea Eliade
University of Chicago Press, 1979

"No one has done so much as Mr. Eliade to inform literature students in the West about 'primitive' and Oriental religions. . . . Everyone who cares about the human adventure will find new information and new angles of vision."—Martin E. Marty, New York Times Book Review
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History of Religious Ideas, Volume 3: From Muhammad to the Age of Reforms
Mircea Eliade
University of Chicago Press, 1985

This volume completes the immensely learned three-volume A History of Religious Ideas. Eliade examines the movement of Jewish thought out of ancient Eurasia, the Christian transformation of the Mediterranean area and Europe, and the rise and diffusion of Islam from approximately the sixth through the seventeenth centuries. Eliade's vast knowledge of past and present scholarship provides a synthesis that is unparalleled. In addition to reviewing recent interpretations of the individual traditions, he explores the interactions of the three religions and shows their continuing mutual influence to be subtle but unmistakable.

As in his previous work, Eliade pays particular attention to heresies, folk beliefs, and cults of secret wisdom, such as alchemy and sorcery, and continues the discussion, begun in earlier volumes, of pre-Christian shamanistic practices in northern Europe and the syncretistic tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. These subcultures, he maintains, are as important as the better-known orthodoxies to a full understanding of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
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Holy Terrors, Second Edition: Thinking About Religion After September 11
Bruce Lincoln
University of Chicago Press, 2006

It is tempting to regard the perpetrators of the September 11th terrorist attacks as evil incarnate. But their motives, as Bruce Lincoln’s acclaimed Holy Terrors makes clear, were profoundly and intensely religious. Thus what we need after the events of 9/11, Lincoln argues, is greater clarity about what we take religion to be. 

Holy Terrors begins with a gripping dissection of the instruction manual given to each of the 9/11 hijackers. In their evocation of passages from the Quran, we learn how the terrorists justified acts of destruction and mass murder “in the name of God, the most merciful, the most compassionate.” Lincoln then offers a provocative comparison of President Bush’s October 7, 2001 speech announcing U.S. military action in Afghanistan alongside the videotaped speech released by Osama bin Laden just a few hours later. As Lincoln authoritatively demonstrates, a close analysis of the rhetoric used by leaders as different as George W. Bush and Osama bin Laden—as well as Mohamed Atta and even Jerry Falwell—betrays startling similarities. These commonalities have considerable implications for our understanding of religion and its interrelationships with politics and culture in a postcolonial world, implications that Lincoln draws out with skill and sensitivity. 

With a chapter new to this edition, “Theses on Religion and Violence,” Holy Terrors remains one of the essential books on September 11 and a classic study on the character of religion.

“Modernity has ended twice: in its Marxist form in 1989 Berlin, and in its liberal form on September 11, 2001. In order to understand such major historical changes we need both large-scale and focused analyses—a combination seldom to be found in one volume. But here Bruce Lincoln . . . has given us just such a mix of discrete and large-picture analysis.”—Stephen Healey, Christian Century

“From time to time there appears a work . . . that serves to focus the wide-ranging, often contentious discussion of religion’s significance within broader cultural dynamics. Bruce Lincoln’s Holy Terrors is one such text. . . . Anyone still struggling toward a more nuanced comprehension of 9/11 would do well to spend time with this book.”—Theodore Pulcini, Middle East Journal

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The Hungry God: Hindu Tales of Filicide and Devotion
David Shulman
University of Chicago Press, 1993

India's folklore and classical literature abound with stories of parents who sacrifice their children. In The Hungry God, David Shulman examines one set of such tales—Hindu texts that bear similarities to the biblical aqedah, the account of Abraham's near-sacrifice of Isaac. In all the stories that Shulman explores, the sacrifice proceeds from a divine command and has no utilitarian explanation or rationale.
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Idol Anxiety
Josh Ellenbogen
Stanford University Press, 2011

This interdisciplinary collection of essays addresses idolatry, a contested issue that has given rise to both religious accusations and heated scholarly disputes. Idol Anxiety brings together insightful new statements from scholars in religious studies, art history, philosophy, and musicology to show that idolatry is a concept that can be helpful in articulating the ways in which human beings interact with and conceive of the things around them. It includes both case studies that provide examples of how the concept of idolatry can be used to study material objects and more theoretical interventions. Among the book's highlights are a foundational treatment of the second commandment by Jan Assmann; an essay by W.J.T. Mitchell on Nicolas Poussin that will be a model for future discussions of art objects; a groundbreaking consideration of the Islamic ban on images by Mika Natif; and a lucid description by Jean-Luc Marion of his cutting-edge phenomenology of the visible.
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Idols in the East: European Representations of Islam and the Orient, 1100–1450
by Suzanne Conklin Akbari
Cornell University Press, 2009

Representations of Muslims have never been more common in the Western imagination than they are today. Building on Orientalist stereotypes constructed over centuries, the figure of the wily Arab has given rise, at the dawn of the twenty-first century, to the "Islamist" terrorist. In Idols in the East, Suzanne Conklin Akbari explores the premodern background of some of the Orientalist types still pervasive in present-day depictions of Muslims-the irascible and irrational Arab, the religiously deviant Islamist-and about how these stereotypes developed over time.

Idols in the East contributes to the recent surge of interest in European encounters with Islam and the Orient in the premodern world. Focusing on the medieval period, Akbari examines a broad range of texts including encyclopedias, maps, medical and astronomical treatises, chansons de geste, romances, and allegories to paint an unusually diverse portrait of medieval culture. Among the texts she considers are The Book of John Mandeville, The Song of Roland, Parzival, and Dante's Divine Comedy. From them she reveals how medieval writers and readers understood and explained the differences they saw between themselves and the Muslim other.

Looking forward, Akbari also comes to terms with how these medieval conceptions fit with modern discussions of Orientalism, thus providing an important theoretical link to postcolonial and postimperial scholarship on later periods. Far reaching in its implications and balanced in its judgments, Idols in the East will be of great interest to not only scholars and students of the Middle Ages but also anyone interested in the roots of Orientalism and its tangled relationship to modern racism and anti-Semitism.

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In Praise of Krishna: Songs from the Bengali
Edward C. Dimock Jr. and Denise Levertov
University of Chicago Press, 1981

Arising out of a devotional and enthusiastic religious movement that swept across most of northern and eastern India in the period from the fourteenth through the seventeenth centuries, the powerful and moving lyrics collected and elegantly translated here depict the love of Radha for the god Krishna—a love whose intensity and range of emotions trace the course of all true love between man and woman and between man and God. Intermingling physical and metaphysical imagery, the spiritual yearning for the divine is articulated in the passionate language of intense sensual desire for an irresistible but ultimately unpossessable lover, thus touching a resonant chord in our humanity.
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The Intellectual Adventure of Ancient Man: An Essay of Speculative Thought in the Ancient Near East
Henri Frankfort, H. A. Frankfort, John A. Wilson, Thorkild Jacobsen, and William A. Irwin
University of Chicago Press, 1977

The people in ancient times the phenomenal world was teeming with life; the thunderclap, the sudden shadow, the unknown and eerie clearing in the wood, all were living things. This unabridged edition traces the fascinating history of thought from the pre-scientific, personal concept of a "humanized" world to the achievement of detached intellectual reasoning.

The authors describe and analyze the spiritual life of three ancient civilizations: the Egyptians, whose thinking was profoundly influenced by the daily rebirth of the sun and the annual rebirth of the Nile; the Mesopotamians, who believed the stars, moon, and stones were all citizens of a cosmic state; and the Hebrews, who transcended prevailing mythopoeic thought with their cosmogony of the will of God. In the concluding chapter the Frankforts show that the Greeks, with their intellectual courage, were the first culture to discover a realm of speculative thought in which myth was overcome.
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Jews, Christians, and the Abode of Islam: Modern Scholarship, Medieval Realities
Jacob Lassner
University of Chicago Press, 2012

In Jews, Christians, and the Abode of Islam, Jacob Lassner examines the triangular relationship that during the Middle Ages defined—and continues to define today—the political and cultural interaction among the three Abrahamic faiths. Lassner looks closely at the debates occasioned by modern Western scholarship on Islam to throw new light on the social and political status of medieval Jews and Christians in various Islamic lands from the seventh to the thirteenth century. Utilizing a vast array of primary sources, Lassner balances the rhetoric of literary and legal texts from the Middle Ages with other, newly discovered medieval sources that describe life as it was actually lived among the three faith communities. Lassner shows just what medieval Muslims meant when they spoke of tolerance, and how that abstract concept played out at different times and places in the real world of Christian and Jewish communities under Islamic rule. Finally, he considers what a more informed picture of the relationship among the Abrahamic faiths in the medieval Islamic world might mean for modern scholarship on medieval Islamic civilization and, not the least, for the highly contentious global environment of today.
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Journal I, 1945-1955
Mircea Eliade
University of Chicago Press, 1990

Journal I is a story of revewal—of the new life that began for Mircea Eliade in the fall of 1945 when he became an expatriate. Eliade came to Paris virtually empty-handed, following the death of his first wife and the Soviet takeover of Romania, which made him a persona non grata there. He had left half a lifetime in Romania: his parents, whom he never saw again; his library; unpublished and unfinished manuscripts, including the journal notebooks prior to 1940; an academic career; and Zalmoxis, the journal of religious studies he founded.

During the lean years in Paris Eliade lived and worked in small, cold rooms; prepared meals on a Primus stove; pawned his valuables; and asked friends for loans. Eventually he secured a research stipend from the Bollingen Foundation. His ten years in Paris were among his most productive; the books he wrote during this period brought him worldwide acclaim as a historian of religions. He records his first meetings with Carl Jung, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Gershom Scholem, Georges Bataille, André Breton, Raffaele Pettazzoni, and many other scholars and writers.

Eliade also continued to write literary works. Numerous entries describe his five-year struggle with his novel The Forbidden Forest. Spanning the twelve fateful years from 1936 to 1948, it expresses within a fictional framework the central themes of Eliade's work on religions. Writing the novel was a Herculean task in which Eliade summarized and memorialized his old Romanian life.
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Journal II, 1957-1969
Mircea Eliade
University of Chicago Press, 1989

Mircea Eliade's journal of the years 1957-1969, originally published in English under the title No Souvenirs, is the testimony of a "wandering scholar" caught between three worlds: his native Romania, the France he fled to, and his last homeland, the United States. The journal is filled with his work, dreams, memories of his youth, stories of his travels, the reflections of each day.
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Journal III, 1970-1978
Mircea Eliade
University of Chicago Press, 1989

More an eloquent chronicle of the mind's life than a recital of daily routine, this volume of Mircea Eliade's journal offers a remarkably candid portrait of a renowned scholar and his work. The entries—full of marvelous ideas, outlines for works never written, responses to the works of others, and much more—reveal many rarely glimpsed sides of the private, as well as public, man. What did he really think of the students who came to him for instruction in black magic? What were his private reflections on feminism, student drug use, the sexual revolution, the nature of American scholars and scholarship? Who were his best friends, why did he enjoy their company, and why did he shun the company of others?

Quite apart from the personal, biographical interest the journal holds, it is a document of cultural and intellectual significance. Eliade remarks on such colleagues and friends as Jung, Dumézil, Ricoeur, Bellow, and Ionesco. Moreover, the period covered encompasses Eliade's most active years as a teacher, and the journal beautifully reflects his developing views on religion, history, and the nature of academic culture. Bits and pieces of Eliade's past life are juxtaposed with thoughts about ongoing projects and work yet to be undertaken as well as with anecdotes of his travels and comments on world events.

A genuine treat for Eliade readers and those interested in history of religions, Journal III provides new perspectives on many of Eliade's other works—the History of Religious Ideas, Ordeal by Labyrinth, the Autobiography. At the same time the journal is a mature scholar's record of the aftermath of the 1960s, a turbulent period that profoundly affected American university life. As such, these writings hold valuable insights into not only the life and work of one man but also the cultural history of an entire era.
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Journal IV, 1979-1985
Mircea Eliade
University of Chicago Press, 1989

Journal IV is the first publication, in a translation from the Romanian manuscript, of the journal that Mircea Eliade kept during the last seven years of his life. In this period, Eliade is ensconced as a famous scholar—his works are being translated into many languages and books about him arrive regularly in the mail. His encounters with scholars of like repute are recorded in the journal; after a party in Paris, Eliade shares a taxi with Claude Lévi-Strauss and inadvertently makes off with his raincoat.

Running like a fault line through the peak of his success, however, is Eliade's painful awareness of his physical decline—failing vision, arthritic hands, and continual fatigue. Again and again he repeats how little time he has to finish the projects he is working on—his autobiography, the third and fourth volumes of his History of Religious Ideas, and the duties associated with his editorship of the Encyclopedia of Religion. He poignantly recounts the sharpest blow: the disorganization and eventual destruction by fire of his personal library.

Within the scope of Journal IV Eliade and his world go to ruin. What does not decline is the vivid and persistent voice of Eliade the writer, an unbreaking voice that—with death only months away—plans a reply to critics, plots out an article, and ruminates on characters to people another novella.
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Kingship and Sacrifice: Ritual and Society in Ancient Hawaii
Valerio Valeri
University of Chicago Press, 1985

Valeri presents an overview of Hawaiian religious culture, in which hierarchies of social beings and their actions are mirrored by the cosmological hierarchy of the gods. As the sacrifice is performed, the worshipper is incorporated into the god of his class. Thus he draws on divine power to sustain the social order of which his action is a part, and in which his own place is determined by the degree of his resemblance to his god. The key to Hawaiian society—and a central focus for Valeri—is the complex and encompassing sacrificial ritual that is the responsibility of the king, for it displays in concrete actions all the concepts of pre-Western Hawaiian society. By interpreting and understanding this ritual cycle, Valeri contends, we can interpret all of Hawaiian religious culture.
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Life Cycles in Jewish and Christian Worship
Paul F. Bradshaw and Lawrence A. Hoffman
University of Notre Dame Press, 1996

Living Spirit, Living Practice: Poetics, Politics, Epistemology
Ruth Frankenberg
Duke University Press, 2004

In Living Spirit, Living Practice, the well-known cultural studies scholar Ruth Frankenberg turns her attention to the remarkably diverse nature of religious practice within the United States today. Frankenberg provides a nuanced consideration of the making and living of religious lives as well as the mystery and poetry of spiritual practice. She undertakes a subtle sociocultural analysis of compelling in-depth interviews with fifty women and men, diverse in race, ethnicity, national origin, class, age, and sexuality. Tracing the complex interweaving of sacred and secular languages in the way interviewees make sense of the everyday and the extraordinary, Frankenberg explores modes of communication with the Divine, the role of the body, the importance of geography, work for progressive social change, and the relation of sex to spirituality.

Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, and other practitioners come together here, speaking in terms both familiar and surprising. Whether discussing an Episcopalian deacon, a former Zen Buddhist who is now a rabbi, a Chicano monastic, an immigrant Muslim woman, a Japanese American Tibetan Buddhist, or a gay African American practicing in the Hindu tradition, Frankenberg illuminates the most intimate, local, and singular aspects of individual lives while situating them within the broad, dynamic canvas of the U.S. religious landscape.

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Manufacturing Confucianism: Chinese Traditions and Universal Civilization
Lionel M. Jensen
Duke University Press, 1998

Could it be that the familiar and beloved figure of Confucius was invented by Jesuit priests? In Manufacturing Confucianism, Lionel M. Jensen reveals this very fact, demonstrating how sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Western missionaries used translations of the ancient ru tradition to invent the presumably historical figure who has since been globally celebrated as philosopher, prophet, statesman, wise man, and saint.
Tracing the history of the Jesuits’ invention of Confucius and of themselves as native defenders of Confucius’s teaching, Jensen reconstructs the cultural consequences of the encounter between the West and China. For the West, a principal outcome of this encounter was the reconciliation of empirical investigation and theology on the eve of the scientific revolution. Jensen also explains how Chinese intellectuals in the early twentieth century fashioned a new cosmopolitan Chinese culture through reliance on the Jesuits’ Confucius and Confucianism. Challenging both previous scholarship and widespread belief, Jensen uses European letters and memoirs, Christian histories and catechisms written in Chinese, translations and commentaries on the Sishu, and a Latin summary of Chinese culture known as the Confucius Sinarum Philosophus to argue that the national self-consciousness of Europe and China was bred from a cultural ecumenism wherein both were equal contributors.
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Map is not Territory: Studies in the History of Religions
Jonathan Z. Smith
University of Chicago Press, 1992

In Map Is Not Territory, Jonathan Z. Smith engages previous interpretations of religious texts from late antiquity, critically evaluates the notion of sacred space and time as it is represented in the works of Mircea Eliade, and tackles important problems of methodology.


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Menstrual Purity: Rabbinic and Christian Reconstructions of Biblical Gender
Charlotte Elisheva Fonrobert
Stanford University Press, 2000

Perhaps more than any other aspect of rabbinic literature, the laws about and discussions of menstruation have polarized current discussions of gender relations in Jewish culture. Is the designated impurity of menstruation sexist? Or does ritual absence from sex during menstruation encourage a rhythmic reaffirmation of conjugal intimacy?

This book offers a new perspective on the extensive rabbinic discussions of menstrual impurity, female physiology, and anatomy, and on the social and religious institutions those discussions engendered. It analyzes the functions of these discussions within the larger textual world of rabbinic literature and in the context of Jewish and Christian culture in late antiquity.

How did gender work—how was it made to work—in rabbinic literature? How did that literature dictate the place of women in Jewish culture? In search of answers to these questions, the author analyzes the architectural metaphors deployed to describe female anatomy, arguing that this discursive construction operated culturally to associate women with the home and exclude them from rabbinic study halls.

The author shows that rabbinic discourse is not completely controlled by rabbinic ideology, however. She analyzes talmudic discussions that allow alternative gender perspectives to emerge, indicating that women and their bodies were not completely objectified. This suggests that the Babylonian Talmud does not present a completely homogeneous gender structure, but contains a number of different, sometimes contradictory, possibilities.

The book concludes with a study of early Christian texts that relate to the same biblical laws on menstrual impurity as rabbinic texts, focusing in particular on a Jewish-Christian text in which the anonymous author polemicizes against Jewish women converts who remain attached to the biblical laws. This text allows us to reconstruct women’s perspectives on the inscription of religious meaning onto their bodies and physiological processes.
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A Million and One Gods
Page duBois
Harvard University Press, 2014

As A Million and One Gods shows, polytheism is considered a scandalous presence in societies oriented to Jewish, Christian, and Muslim beliefs. Yet it persists, even in the West, perhaps because polytheism corresponds to unconscious needs and deeply held values of tolerance, diversity, and equality that are central to civilized societies.
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Modern American Religion, Volume 1: The Irony of It All, 1893-1919
Martin E. Marty
University of Chicago Press, 1986

Martin E. Marty argues that religion in twentieth-century America was essentially shaped by its encounter with modernity. In this first volume, he records and explores the diverse ways in which American religion embraced, rejected, or cautiously accepted the modern world.

"Marty writes with the highest standards of scholarship and with his customary stylistic grace. No series of books is likely to tell us as much about the religious condition of our own time as "Modern American Religion."—Robert L. Spaeth, Minneapolis Star Tribune

"The wealth of material and depth of insight are beyond reproach. This book will clearly stand as an important meteorological guide to the storm front of modernity as it swept Americans into the twentieth century."—Belden C. Lane, Review of Religions

"Whatever one thinks about Marty's theological or philosophical position as a historian, the charm of his friendly circumspective approach to American religious history is irresistible."—John E. Wilson, Theological Studies

"Marty attempts to impose historical order on the divergent ways a century of Americans have themselves tried to find order in their worlds. . . . [He] meets the challenge deftly. . . . It is a book relevant to our time. . . . Engages the heart and mind jointly."—Andy Solomon, Houston Post
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Modern American Religion, Volume 3: Under God, Indivisible, 1941-1960
Martin E. Marty
University of Chicago Press, 1996

In this third volume of his acclaimed chronicle of faith in twentieth-century America, Martin E. Marty presents the first authoritative account of American religious culture from the entry of the United States into World War II through the Eisenhower years.

Under God, Indivisible, 1941-1960 is the first book to systematically address religion and the roles it played in shaping the social and political life of mid-century America. A work of exceptional clarity and historical depth, it will interest general readers as well as historians of American and church history.

"The series will become a standard account of the nation's variegated religious culture during the current century. The four volumes, the fruition of decades of research, may rank as much honored Marty's most significant contribution to U.S. studies."—Richard N. Ostling, Time

"When America needs some advice or commentary on the state of modern theology, the person it turns to is Martin Marty."—Publishers Weekly
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Modern Occultism in Late Imperial Russia
Julia Mannherz
Northern Illinois University Press, 2012

Modern Occultism in Late Imperial Russia traces the history of occult thought and practice from its origins in private salons to its popularity in turn-of-the-century mass culture. In lucid prose, Julia Mannherz examines the ferocious public debates of the 1870s on higher dimensional mathematics and the workings of séance phenomena, discusses the world of cheap instruction manuals and popular occult journals, and looks at haunted houses, which brought together the rural settings and the urban masses that obsessed over them. In addition, Mannherz looks at reactions of Russian Orthodox theologians to the occult.


In spite of its prominence, the role of the occult in turn-of-the-century Russian culture has been largely ignored, if not actively written out of histories of the modern state. For specialists and students of Russian history, culture, and science, as well as those generally interested in the occult, Mannherz’s fascinating study remedies this gap and returns the occult to its rightful place in the popular imagination of late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Russian society.
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Modest Claims: Dialogues and Essays on Tolerance and Tradition
Adam B. Seligman
University of Notre Dame Press, 2004

"Seligman is an excellent scholar of profound depth and subtlety. He has gathered a number of interesting and important scholars to substantively discuss this critical and cutting edge topic." --Marc Gopin, Tufts University Many of the critical political issues of our time--from the 1992--1995 Balkan Wars to the continuing crisis in the Middle East to the role of Muslim immigrants in Western Europe--revolve around issues of religion and tolerance. The predominant approach to these concerns is to espouse the doctrines of liberal humanistic virtue. These doctrines, however, fail to resonate in communities that maintain more traditional religious definitions of self and society. Modest Claims, which features essays by Seligman and dialogues between scholars representing the three monotheistic faiths, provides the beginnings of a very different set of arguments on tolerance and tradition. In so doing it seeks to uncover the sources of toleration and pluralism that exist within the traditions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Most contemporary approaches leave these sources largely unexplored and often marginalize them in current public debates and social agendas. Seligman and his dialogue partners seek to engage traditional understandings to uncover internal components that make dialogue between different religions and cultures possible. Espousing the idea of translation as a metaphor for the tolerant act, Modest Claims takes difference seriously as an aspect of existence that can be neither trivialized nor ignored. It explores and develops specifically religious arguments for tolerance and acceptance of others, as well as new strategies for understanding difference that are not rooted in individualist worldviews. This important and timely book breathes new life into the search for peace and toleration in an increasingly fractured world. ADAM B. SELIGMAN is professor of religion at Boston University. Interlocutors: Nasr Abu Zayd, Peter Berger, Joan Estruch, Menachem Fisch, Shlomo Fischer, Nilufer Gole, Friedrich Wilhelm Graf, Sohail H.Hashmi, Rusmir Mahmutcehajic, Adam B. Seligman, Suzanne Last Stone, Dorothee C. von Tippelskirch, and Claire Wolfteich.
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Mythical Trickster Figures: Contours, Contexts, and Criticisms
Edited by William J. Hynes and William G. Doty
University of Alabama Press, 1997

Mythical Trickster Figures, is the first substantial collection of essays about the trickster to appear since Radin's 1955 The Trickster. Contributions by leading scholars treat a wide range of manifestations of this mischievous character, ranging from the Coyote of the American Southwest to such African figures as Eshu-Elegba and Ananse, the Japanese Susa-no-o, the Greek Hermes, Christian adaptations of Saint Peter, and examples found in contemporary American fiction and drama. The many humorous trickster stories included are fascinating in themselves, but Hynes and Doty also highlight the wide range of features of the trickster--the figure whose comic appearance often signifies that the most serious cultural values are being both challenged and enforced. William J. Hynes is Vice President for Academic Affairs and Professor of Religious Studies at Saint Mary's College of California. William G. Doty is Professor of Religious Studies at The University of Alabama and the author of Mythography: The Study of Myths and Rituals also published by The University of Alabama Press.
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Mythography: The Study of Myths and Rituals
William G. Doty
University of Alabama Press, 2000

This new edition of William Doty's critically acclaimed study provides a comprehensive guidebook to the many schools of interpretation in this burgeoning field. William Doty's popular text has been hailed as the most comprehensive work of its kind. Extensively rewritten and completely restructured, the new edition provides further depth and perspective and is even more accessible to students of myth. It includes expanded coverage of postmodern and poststructuralist perspectives, the Gernet Center, mythic iconography, neo-Jungian approaches, and cultural studies, and it summarizes what is new in the study of Greek myth, iconography, French classical scholarship, and ritual studies. It also features a comprehensive index of names and topics, a glossary, an up-to-date annotated bibliography, and a guide to myth on the Internet. Presenting all major myth theorists from antiquity to the present, Mythography is an encyclopedic work that offers a cross-disciplinary approach to the study of myth. By reflecting the dramatic increase in interest in myth among both scholars and general readers since publication of the first edition, it remains a key study of modern approaches to myth and an essential guide to the wealth of mythographic research available today. William G. Doty is Professor of Humanities and Religious Studies at The University of Alabama and editor of Mythosphere: A Journal for Image, Myth, and Symbol.
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Myths of the Dog-Man
David Gordon White
University of Chicago Press, 1991

"An impressive and important cross-cultural study that has vast implications for history, religion, anthropology, folklore, and other fields. . . . Remarkably wide-ranging and extremely well-documented, it covers (among much else) the following: medieval Christian legends such as the 14th-century Ethiopian Gadla Hawaryat (Contendings of the Apostles) that had their roots in Parthian Gnosticism and Manichaeism; dog-stars (especially Sirius), dog-days, and canine psychopomps in the ancient and Hellenistic world; the cynocephalic hordes of the ancient geographers; the legend of Prester John; Visvamitra and the Svapacas ("Dog-Cookers"); the Dog Rong ("warlike barbarians") during the Xia, Shang, and Zhou periods; the nochoy ghajar (Mongolian for "Dog Country") of the Khitans; the Panju myth of the Southern Man and Yao "barbarians" from chapter 116 of the History of the Latter Han and variants in a series of later texts; and the importance of dogs in ancient Chinese burial rites. . . . Extremely well-researched and highly significant."—Victor H. Mair, Asian Folklore Studies
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Nature Religion in America: From the Algonkian Indians to the New Age
Catherine L. Albanese
University of Chicago Press, 1990

This ground-breaking study reveals an unorganized and previously unacknowledged religion at the heart of American culture. Nature, Albanese argues, has provided a compelling religious center throughout American history.
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Occultism, Witchcraft, and Cultural Fashions: Essays in Comparative Religion
Mircea Eliade
University of Chicago Press, 1978

In the period domoninated by the triumphs of scientific rationalism, how do we account for the extraordinary success of such occult movements as astrology or the revival of witchcraft? From his perspective as a historian of religions, the eminent scholar Mircea Eliade shows that such popular trends develop from archaic roots and periodically resurface in certain myths, symbols, and rituals. In six lucid essays collected for this volume, Eliade reveals the profound religious significance that lies at the heart of many contemporary cultural vogues.

Since all of the essays except the last were originally delivered as lectures, their introductory character and lively oral style make them particularly accessible to the intelligent nonspecialist. Rather than a popularization, Occultism, Witchcraft, and Cultural Fashions is the fulfillment of Eliade's conviction that the history of religions should be read by the widest possible audience.
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On What Cannot Be Said: Apophatic Discourses in Philosophy, Religion, Literature, and the Arts: Volume 1: Classic Formulations
William Franke
University of Notre Dame Press, 2007

The Orthodox Church in the Arab World, 700 - 1700: An Anthology of Sources
Samuel Noble
Northern Illinois University Press, 2014

Arabic was among the first languages in which the Gospel was preached. The Book of Acts mentions Arabs as being present at the first Pentecost in Jerusalem, where they heard the Christian message in their native tongue. Christian literature in Arabic is at least 1,300 years old, the oldest surviving texts dating from the 8th century. Pre-modern Arab Christian literature embraces such diverse genres as Arabic translations of the Bible and the Church Fathers, biblical commentaries, lives of the saints, theological and polemical treatises, devotional poetry, philosophy, medicine, and history. Yet in the Western historiography of Christianity, the Arab Christian Middle East is treated only peripherally, if at all.

The first of its kind, this anthology makes accessible in English representative selections from major Arab Christian works written between the 8th and 18th centuries. The translations are idiomatic while preserving the character of the original. The popular assumption is that in the wake of the Islamic conquests, Christianity abandoned the Middle East to flourish elsewhere, leaving its original heartland devoid of an indigenous Christian presence. Until now, several of these important texts have remained unpublished or unavailable in English. Translated by leading scholars, these texts represent the major genres of Orthodox literature in Arabic. Noble and Treiger provide an introduction that helps form a comprehensive history of Christians within the Muslim world. The collection marks an important contribution to the history of medieval Christianity and the history of the medieval Near East.
 
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Prayer Has Spoiled Everything: Possession, Power, and Identity in an Islamic Town of Niger
Adeline Masquelier
Duke University Press, 2001

Bori, in the Mawri society of Niger, are mischievous and invisible beings that populate the bush. Bori is also the practice of taming these wild forces in the context of possession ceremonies. In Prayer Has Spoiled Everything Adeline Masquelier offers an account of how this phenomenon intervenes—sometimes subtly, sometimes dramatically—in human lives, providing a constantly renewed source of meaning for Mawri peasants confronted with cultural contradictions and socio-economic marginalization.
To explore the role of bori possession in local definitions of history, power, and identity, Masquelier spent a total of two years in Niger, focusing on the diverse ways in which spirit mediums share, transform, and contest a rapidly changing reality, threatened by Muslim hegemony and financial hardship. She explains how the spread of Islam has provoked irreversible change in the area and how prayer—a conspicuous element of daily life that has become virtually synonymous with Islamic practice in this region of west Africa—has thus become equated with the loss of tradition. By focusing on some of the creative and complex ways that bori at once competes with and borrows from Islam, Masquelier reveals how possession nonetheless remains deeply embedded in Mawri culture, representing more than simple resistance to Islam, patriarchy, or the state. Despite a widening gap between former ways of life and the contradictions of the present, it maintains its place as a feature of daily life in which villagers participate with varying degrees of enthusiasm and approval.
Specialists in African studies, in the anthropology of religion, and in the historical transformations of colonial and postcolonial societies will welcome this study.
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The Price of Monotheism
Jan Assmann Translated by Robert Savage
Stanford University Press, 2009

Nothing has so radically transformed the world as the distinction between true and false religion. In this nuanced consideration of his own controversial Moses the Egyptian, renowned Egyptologist Jan Assmann answers his critics, extending and building upon ideas from his previous book. Maintaining that it was indeed the Moses of the Hebrew Bible who introduced the true-false distinction in a permanent and revolutionary form, Assmann reiterates that the price of this monotheistic revolution has been the exclusion, as paganism and heresy, of everything deemed incompatible with the truth it proclaims. This exclusion has exploded time and again into violence and persecution, with no end in sight. Here, for the first time, Assmann traces the repeated attempts that have been made to do away with this distinction since the early modern period. He explores at length the notions of primary versus secondary religions, of "counter-religions," and of book religions versus cultic religions. He also deals with the entry of ethics into religion's very core. Informed by the debate his own work has generated, he presents a compelling lesson in the fluidity of cultural identity and beliefs.

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Primacy in the Church from Vatican I to Vatican II: An Orthodox Perspective
Maximos Vgenopoulos
Northern Illinois University Press, 2013

The primacy of the bishop of Rome, the pope, as it was finally shaped in the Middle Ages and later defined by Vatican I and II has been one of the thorniest issues in the history of the Western and Eastern Churches. This issue was a primary cause of the division between the two Churches and the events that followed the schism of 1054: the sack of Constantinople by the crusaders in 1204, the appointment by Pope Innocent III of a Latin patriarch of Constantinople, and the establishment of Uniatism as a method and model of union. Always a topic in ecumenical dialogue, the issue of primacy has appeared to be an insurmountable obstacle to the realization of full unity between Roman Catholicism and the Orthodox Christianity.
In this timely and comprehensive work, Maximos Vgenopoulos analyzes the response of major Orthodox thinkers to the Catholic understanding of the primary of the pope over the last two centuries, showing the strengths and weaknesses of these positions. Covering a broad range of primary and secondary sources and thinkers, Vgenopoulos approaches the issue of primacy with an open and ecumenical manner that looks forward to a way of resolving this most divisive issue between the two Churches. For the first time here the thought of Greek and Russian Orthodox theologians regarding primacy is brought together systematically and compared to demonstrate the emergence of a coherent view of primacy in accordance with the canonical principles of the Orthodox Church. In looking at crucial Greek-language sources Vgenopoulos makes a unique contribution by providing an account of the debate on primacy within the Greek Orthodox Church.
Primacy in the Church from Vatican I to Vatican II is an invaluable resource on the official dialogue taking place between the Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church today. This important book will be of broad interest to historians, theologians, seminarians, and all those interested in Orthodox-Catholic relations.
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The Promise of Salvation: A Theory of Religion
Martin Riesebrodt
University of Chicago Press, 2010

Why has religion persisted across the course of human history? Secularists have predicted the end of faith for a long time, but religions continue to attract followers. Meanwhile, scholars of religion have expanded their field to such an extent that we lack a basic framework for making sense of the chaos of religious phenomena. To remedy this state of affairs, Martin Riesebrodt here undertakes a task that is at once simple and monumental: to define, understand, and explain religion as a universal concept.

Instead of propounding abstract theories, Riesebrodt concentrates on the concrete realities of worship, examining religious holidays, conversion stories, prophetic visions, and life-cycle events. In analyzing these practices, his scope is appropriately broad, taking into consideration traditions in Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Daoism, and Shinto. Ultimately, Riesebrodt argues, all religions promise to avert misfortune, help their followers manage crises, and bring both temporary blessings and eternal salvation. And, as The Promise of Salvation makes clear through abundant empirical evidence, religion will not disappear as long as these promises continue to help people cope with life.

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Religion and Cultural Memory: Ten Studies
Jan Assmann, Translated by Rodney Livingstone
Stanford University Press, 2006

In ten brilliant essays, Jan Assmann explores the connections between religion, culture, and memory. Building on Maurice Halbwachs's idea that memory, like language, is a social phenomenon as well as an individual one, he argues that memory has a cultural dimension too. He develops a persuasive view of the life of the past in such surface phenomena as codes, religious rites and festivals, and canonical texts on the one hand, and in the Freudian psychodrama of repressing and resurrecting the past on the other. Whereas the current fad for oral history inevitably focuses on the actual memories of the last century or so, Assmann presents a commanding view of culture extending over five thousand years. He focuses on cultural memory from the Egyptians, Babylonians, and the Osage Indians down to recent controversies about memorializing the Holocaust in Germany and the role of memory in the current disputes between Israelis and Palestinians in the Middle East and between Protestants and Catholics in Northern Ireland.

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Religion at the Corner of Bliss and Nirvana: Politics, Identity, and Faith in New Migrant Communities
Lois Ann Lorentzen, Joaquin Jay Gonzalez III, Kevin M. Chun and Hien Duc Do, eds
Duke University Press, 2009

Based on ethnographic research by an interdisciplinary team of scholars and activists, Religion at the Corner of Bliss and Nirvana illuminates the role that religion plays in the civic and political experiences of new migrants in the United States. By bringing innovative questions and theoretical frameworks to bear on the experiences of Chinese, Filipino, Mexican, Salvadoran, and Vietnamese migrants, the contributors demonstrate how groups and individuals negotiate multiple religious, cultural, and national identities, and how religious faiths are transformed through migration. Taken together, their essays show that migrants’ religious lives are much more than replications of home in a new land. They reflect a process of adaptation to new physical and cultural environments, and an ongoing synthesis of cultural elements from the migrants’ countries of origin and the United States.

As they conducted research, the contributors not only visited churches and temples but also single-room-occupancy hotels, brothels, tattoo-removal clinics, and the streets of San Francisco, El Salvador, Mexico, and Vietnam. Their essays include an exploration of how faith-based organizations can help LGBT migrants surmount legal and social complexities, an examination of transgendered sex workers’ relationship with the unofficial saint Santisima Muerte, a comparison of how a Presbyterian mission and a Buddhist temple in San Francisco help Chinese immigrants to acculturate, and an analysis of the transformation of baptismal rites performed by Mayan migrants. The voices of gang members, Chinese and Vietnamese Buddhist nuns, members of Pentecostal churches, and many others animate this collection. In the process of giving voice to these communities, the contributors interrogate theories about acculturation, class, political and social capital, gender and sexuality, the sociology of religion, transnationalism, and globalization. The collection includes twenty-one photographs by Jerry Berndt.

Contributors. Luis Enrique Bazan, Kevin M. Chun, Hien Duc Do, Patricia Fortuny Loret de Mola, Joaquin Jay Gonzalez III, Sarah Horton, Cymene Howe, Mimi Khúc, Jonathan H. X. Lee, Lois Ann Lorentzen, Andrea Maison, Dennis Marzan, Rosalina Mira, Claudine del Rosario, Susanna Zaraysky

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The Religion of the Future
Roberto Mangabeira Unger
Harvard University Press, 2014

How can we live in such a way that we die only once? How can we organize a society that gives us a better chance to be fully alive? How can we reinvent religion so that it liberates us instead of consoling us? These questions stand at the center of The Religion of the Future--a book about religion and a religious work in its own right.
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Religions/Globalizations: Theories and Cases
Dwight N. Hopkins, Lois Ann Lorentzen, Eduardo Mendieta, and David Batstone, eds
Duke University Press, 2001

For the majority of cultures around the world, religion permeates and informs everyday rituals of survival and hope. But religion also has served as the foundation for national differences, racial conflicts, class exploitation, and gender discrimination. Indeed, religious spirituality, having been transformed by contemporary economic and political events, remains both empowering and controversial. Religions/Globalizations examines the extent to which globalization and religion are inseparable terms, bound up with each other in a number of critical and mutually revealing ways.
As the contributors to this work suggest, a crucial component of globalization—the breakdown of familiar boundaries and power balances—may open a space in which religion can be deployed to help refabricate new communities. Examples of such deployments can be found in the workings of liberation theology in Latin America. In other cases, however, the operations of globalization have provided a space for strident religious nationalism and identity disputes to flourish. Is there in fact a dialectical tension between religion and globalization, a codependence and codeterminism? While religion can be seen as a globalizing force, it has also been transformed and even victimized by globalization.
A provocative assessment of a contemporary phenomenon with both cultural and political dimensions, Religions/Globalizations will interest not only scholars in religious studies but also those studying Latin America, the Middle East, South Asia, and Africa.

Contributors. David Batstone, Berit Bretthauer, Enrique Dussel, Dwight N. Hopkins, Mark Juergensmeyer, Lois Ann Lorentzen, Eduardo Mendieta, Vijaya Rettakudi Nagarajan, Kathryn Poethig, Lamin Sanneh, Linda E. Thomas

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Religious Pluralism & Nigerian State: Mis Af#66
Simeon Olusegun Ilesanmi
Ohio University Press, 1996

In the case of Nigeria, scholarship on religious politics has not adequately taken into account the pluralistic context and the idealistic pretensions of the state that inhibit the possibility of forging an enduring civic amity among Nigeria’s diverse groups. Ilesanmi proposes a new philosophy or model of religio-political interaction, which he calls dialogic politics. Dialogic politics celebrates pluralism and suggests that religious institutions he construed as mediating structures functioning as buffers between individual citizens in search of existential meaning and cultural identity and the impersonal state, which tends to gravitate toward instrumental objectives. Ilesanmi’s study offers a fresh perspective on the complex relations between political attitudes and religious convictions.
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Religious Tolerance in World Religions
Jacob Neusner
Templeton Press, 2008

Today, and historically, religions often seem to be intolerant, narrow-minded, and zealous. But the record is not so one-sided. In Religious Tolerance in World Religions, numerous scholars offer perspectives on the "what" and "why" traditions of tolerance in world religions, beginning with the pre-Christian West, Greco-Roman paganism, and ancient Israelite Monotheism and moving into modern religions such as Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism. By tolerance the authors mean "the capacity to live with religious difference, and by toleration, the theory that permits a majority religion to accommodate the presence of a minority religion."

The volume is introduced with a summary of a recent survey that sought to identify the capacity of religions to tolerate one another in theory and in practice. Eleven religious communities in seven nations were polled on questions that ranged from equality of religious practitioners to consequences of disobedience. The essays frame the provocative analysis of how a religious system in its political statement produces categories of tolerance that can be explained in that system’s logical context. Past and present beliefs, practices, and definitions of social order are examined in terms of how they support tolerance for other religious groups as a matter of public policy.

Religious Tolerance in World Religions focuses attention on the attitude "that the ’infidel’ or non-believer may be accorded an honorable position within the social order defined by Islam or Christianity or Judaism or Buddhism or Hinduism, and so on." It is a timely reference for colleges and universities and for makers of public policy.

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Roads of Excess, Palaces of Wisdom: Eroticism and Reflexivity in the Study of Mysticism
Jeffrey J. Kripal
University of Chicago Press, 2001

William Blake once wrote that "The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom." Inspired by these poetic terms, Jeffrey J. Kripal reveals how the works of scholars of mysticism are often rooted in their own mystical experiences, "roads of excess," which can both lead to important insights into these scholars' works and point us to our own "palaces of wisdom."

In his new book, Kripal addresses the twentieth-century study of mysticism as a kind of mystical tradition in its own right, with its own unique histories, discourses, sociological dynamics, and rhetorics of secrecy. Fluidly combining autobiography and biography with scholarly exploration, Kripal takes us on a tour of comparative mystical thought by examining the lives and works of five major historians of mysticism—Evelyn Underhill, Louis Massignon, R. C. Zaehner, Agehananda Bharati, and Elliot Wolfson—as well as relating his own mystical experiences. The result, Kripal finds, is seven "palaces of wisdom": the religious power of excess, the necessity of distance in the study of mysticism, the relationship between the mystical and art, the dilemmas of male subjectivity and modern heterosexuality, a call for ethical criticism, the paradox of the insider-outsider problem in the study of religion, and the magical power of texts and their interpretation.

An original and penetrating analysis of modern scholarship and scholars of mysticism, Roads of Excess, Palaces of Wisdom is also a persuasive demonstration of the way this scholarly activity is itself a mystical phenomenon.
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The Social Life of Spirits
Edited by Ruy Blanes and Diana Espírito Santo
University of Chicago Press, 2013

Spirits can be haunters, informants, possessors, and transformers of the living, but more than anything anthropologists have understood them as representations of something else—symbols that articulate facets of human experience in much the same way works of art do. The Social Life of Spirits challenges this notion. By stripping symbolism from the way we think about the spirit world, the contributors of this book uncover a livelier, more diverse environment of entities—with their own histories, motivations, and social interactions—providing a new understanding of spirits not as symbols, but as agents.
 
The contributors tour the spiritual globe—the globe of nonthings—in essays on topics ranging from the Holy Ghost in southern Africa to spirits of the “people of the streets” in Rio de Janeiro to dragons and magic in Britain. Avoiding a reliance on religion and belief systems to explain the significance of spirits, they reimagine spirits in a rich network of social trajectories, ultimately arguing for a new ontological ground upon which to examine the intangible world and its interactions with the tangible one. 
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Spirited Things: The Work of "Possession" in Afro-Atlantic Religions
Edited by Paul Christopher Johnson
University of Chicago Press, 2014

The word “possession” is anything but transparent, especially as it developed in the context of the African Americas. There it referred variously to spirits, material goods, and people. It served as a watershed term marking both transactions in which people were made into things—via slavery—and ritual events by which the thingification of people was revised. In Spirited Things, Paul Christopher Johnson gathers together essays by leading anthropologists in the Americas that reopen the concept of possession on these two fronts in order to examine the relationship between African religions in the Atlantic and the economies that have historically shaped—and continue to shape—the cultures that practice them. Exploring the way spirit possessions were framed both by material things—including plantations, the Catholic church, the sea, and the phonograph—as well as by the legacy of slavery, they offer a powerful new way of understanding the Atlantic world. 
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Splitting the Difference: Gender and Myth in Ancient Greece and India
Wendy Doniger
University of Chicago Press, 1999

Hindu and Greek mythologies teem with stories of women and men who are doubled, who double themselves, who are seduced by gods doubling as mortals, whose bodies are split or divided. In Splitting the Difference, the renowned scholar of mythology Wendy Doniger recounts and compares a vast range of these tales from ancient Greece and India, with occasional recourse to more recent "double features" from Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde to Face/Off.

Myth, Doniger argues, responds to the complexities of the human condition by multiplying or splitting its characters into unequal parts, and these sloughed and cloven selves animate mythology's prodigious plots of sexuality and mortality. Doniger's comparisons show that ultimately differences in gender are more significant than differences in culture; Greek and Indian stories of doubled women resemble each other more than they do tales of doubled men in the same culture. In casting Hindu and Greek mythologies as shadows of each other, Doniger shows that culture is sometimes but the shadow of gender.

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SWEDENBORG AND ESOTERIC ISLAM
HENRY CORBIN
Swedenborg Foundation Publishers, 1995

This volume makes two essays by Henry Corbin, the eminent French scholar of Islam, available in English for the first time. Although his primary interest was the esoteric tradition of Islam, Corbin was also a lifelong student of the theological works of Emanuel Swedenborg. The first essay, "Mundus Imaginalis, or The Imaginary and the Imaginal," clarifies Corbin's use of the term he coined, mundus imaginalis, or "the imaginal world." This important concept appears in both Swedenborgian and esoteric Islamic spirituality. The second piece, "Comparative Spiritual Hermeneutics," compares the revelation of the internal sense of the sacred boks of two distinct religions, Christianity and Islam.

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SWEDENBORG: BUDDHA OF THE NORTH
D.T. SUZUKI
Swedenborg Foundation Publishers, 1996

"…important for anyone who is concerned with inter-religious dialogue and the meaning of… visionary mysticism."
--The Reader's Review

This first complete English translation of two works by Zen scholar D.T. Suzuki introduces Emanuel Swedenborg and compares Swedenborgian thought to Buddhism. The first work stresses Swedenborg's message that true spirituality demands an engagement in this world; the second compares Swedenborg's description of heaven to the paradise of Pure Land Buddhism.

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Tertullian's Aduersus Iudaeos: A Rhetorical Analysis (NAPS Patristic Monograph Series, Volume 19)
Geoffrey D. Dunn
Catholic University of America Press, 2008

Geoffrey D. Dunn is the first scholar to use classical rhetoric as the interpretative tool for analyzing the question of the authorship of Aduersus Iudaeos. He argues that Tertullian structured this work according to the rules of classical rhetoric and employed arguments familiar to anyone with training in oratory
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To Take Place: Toward Theory in Ritual
Jonathan Z. Smith
University of Chicago Press, 1987

In this broad-ranging inquiry into ritual and its relation to place, Jonathan Z. Smith prepares the way for a new approach to the comparative study of religion.

Smith stresses the importance of place—in particular, constructed ritual environments—to a proper understanding of the ways in which "empty" actions become rituals. He structures his argument around the territories of the Tjilpa aborigines in Australia and two sites in Jerusalem—the temple envisioned by Ezekiel and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. The first of these locales—the focus of one of the more important contemporary theories of religious ritual—allows Smith to raise questions concerning the enterprise of comparison. His close examination of Eliade's influential interpretation of the Tjilpa tradition leads to a powerful critique of the approach to religion, myth, and ritual that begins with cosmology and the category of "The Sacred."

In substance and in method, To Take Place represents a significant advance toward a theory of ritual. It is of great value not only to historians of religion and students of ritual, but to all, whether social scientists or humanists, who are concerned with the nature of place.

"This book is extraordinarily stimulating in prompting one to think about the ways in which space, or place, is perceived, marked, and utilized religiously. . . . A provocative example of the application of humanistic geography to our understanding of what takes place in religion."—Dale Goldsmith, Interpretation

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Tradition and Modernity: Christian and Muslim Perspectives
David Marshall
Georgetown University Press, 2012

Tradition and Modernity focuses on how Christians and Muslims connect their traditions to modernity, looking especially at understandings of history, changing patterns of authority, and approaches to freedom. The volume includes a selection of relevant texts from 19th- and 20th-century thinkers, from John Henry Newman to Tariq Ramadan, accompanied by illuminating commentaries.

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The Way That Lives in the Heart: Chinese Popular Religion and Spirit Mediums in Penang, Malaysia
Jean DeBernardi
Stanford University Press, 2006

The Way That Lives in the Heart is a richly detailed ethnographic analysis of the practice of Chinese religion in the modern, multicultural Southeast Asian city of Penang, Malaysia. The book conveys both an understanding of shared religious practices and orientations and a sense of how individual men and women imagine, represent, and transform popular religious practices within the time and space of their own lives.

This work is original in three ways. First, the author investigates Penang Chinese religious practice as a total field of religious practice, suggesting ways in which the religious culture, including spirit-mediumship, has been transformed in the conjuncture with modernity. Second, the book emphasizes the way in which socially marginal spirit mediums use a religious anti-language and unique religious rituals to set themselves apart from mainstream society. Third, the study investigates Penang Chinese religion as the product of a specific history, rather than presenting an overgeneralized overview that claims to represent a single "Chinese religion."

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The Way toward Wisdom: An Interdisciplinary and Intercultural Introduction to Metaphysics
Benedict M. Ashley, O.P.
University of Notre Dame Press, 2006

Working from a realist Thomistic epistemology, Ashley asserts that we must begin our search for wisdom in the natural sciences; only then, he believes, can we ensure that our claims about immaterial and invisible things are rooted in reliable experience of the material. Any attempt to share wisdom, he insists, must derive from a context that is both interdisciplinary and intercultural.

Ashley offers an ambitious analysis and synthesis of major historical contributions to the unification of knowledge, including non-Western traditions. Beginning with the question "Metaphysics: Nonsense or Wisdom?" Ashley moves from a critical examination of the foundations of modern science to quantum physics and the Big Bang; from Aristotle's theory of being and change, through Aquinas's five ways, to a critical analysis of modern and postmodern thought. Ashley is able to interweave the approaches of the great philosophers by demonstrating their contributions to philosophical thought in a concrete, specific manner. In the process, he accounts for a contemporary culture overwhelmed by the fragmentation of data and thirsting for an utterly transcendent yet personal God.

"This is an impressive, well-researched book, of great value. It offers the wider philosophical community a point of entrance, by a proponent of a certain type of Thomism, into a domain that all philosophers think they already understand. The result is the creation of a 'big picture' of human knowledge." -- Mark Johnson, Marquette University

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Working on the Railroad, Walking in Beauty: Navajos, Hozho, and Track Work
Jay Youngdahl
Utah State University Press, 2011

For over one hundred years, Navajos have gone to work in significant numbers on Southwestern railroads. As they took on the arduous work of laying and anchoring tracks, they turned to traditional religion to anchor their lives.

Jay Youngdahl, an attorney who has represented Navajo workers in claims with their railroad employers since 1992 and who more recently earned a master's in divinity from Harvard, has used oral history and archival research to write a cultural history of Navajos' work on the railroad and the roles their religious traditions play in their lives of hard labor away from home.

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Writing Religion: The Case for the Critical Study of Religions
Edited by Steven W. Ramey
University of Alabama Press

In 2002, the University of Alabama's Department of Religious Studies established the annual Aronov Lecture Series to showcase the works of nationally recognized scholars of religion capable of reflecting on issues of wide relevance to scholars from across the humanities and social sciences. Writing Religion: The Case for the Critical Study of Religions is an edited collection of essays that highlights critical contributions from the first ten Aronov lecturers.
 
Section one of the volume, “ Writing Discourses,” features essays by Jonathan Z. Smith, Bruce Lincoln, and Ann Pellegrini that illustrate how critical study enables the analysis of discourses in society and history. Section two, “ Riting Social Formations,” includes pieces by Arjun Appadurai, Judith Plaskow, and Nathan Katz that reference both the power of rites to construct society and the act of riting as a form of disciplining that both prescribes and proscribes. The writings of Tomoko Masuzawa, Amy-Jill Levine, Aaron W. Hughes, and Martin S. Jaffee appear in section three, “ Righting the Discipline.” They emphasize the correction of movements within the academic study of religion.
 
Steven W. Ramey frames the collection with a thoughtful introduction that explores the genesis, development, and diversity of critical analysis in the study of religion. An afterword by Russell McCutcheon reflects on the critical study of religion at the University of Alabama and rounds out this superb collection.
 
The mission of the Department of Religious Studies is to “ avoid every tendency toward confusing the study of religion with the practice of religion.” Instruction about— rather than in— religion is foundational to the department’ s larger goal of producing knowledge of the world and its many practices and systems of beliefs. Infused with this spirit, these fascinating essays, which read like good conversations with learned friends, offer significant examples of each scholar’ s work. Writing Religion will be of value to graduate students, advanced undergraduates, and scholars interested in the study of religion from a critical perspective.
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