Gods and Demons Priests and Scholars

Gods and Demons  Priests and Scholars
Author: Bruce Lincoln
Publsiher: University of Chicago Press
Total Pages: 258
Release: 2015-07-09
Genre: Religion
ISBN: 9780226035161

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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.

Death War and Sacrifice

Death  War  and Sacrifice
Author: Bruce Lincoln
Publsiher: University of Chicago Press
Total Pages: 320
Release: 1991-08-27
Genre: Family & Relationships
ISBN: 0226481999

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One of the world's leading specialists in Indo-European religion and society, Bruce Lincoln expresses in these essays his severe doubts about the existence of a much-hypothesized prototypical Indo-European religion. Written over fifteen years, the essays—six of them previously unpublished—fall into three parts. Part I deals with matters "Indo-European" in a relatively unproblematized way, exploring a set of haunting images that recur in descriptions of the Otherworld from many cultures. While Lincoln later rejects this methodology, these chapters remain the best available source of data for the topics they address. In Part II, Lincoln takes the data for each essay from a single culture area and shifts from the topic of dying to that of killing. Of particular interest are the chapters connecting sacrifice to physiology, a master discourse of antiquity that brought the cosmos, the human body, and human society into an ideologically charged correlation. Part III presents Lincoln's most controversial case against a hypothetical Indo-European protoculture. Reconsidering the work of the prominent Indo-Europeanist Georges Dumézil, Lincoln argues that Dumézil's writings were informed and inflected by covert political concerns characteristic of French fascism. This collection is an invaluable resource for students of myth, ritual, ancient societies, anthropology, and the history of religions. Bruce Lincoln is professor of humanities and religious studies at the University of Minnesota.

Irreverence and the Sacred

Irreverence and the Sacred
Author: Hugh Urban,Greg Johnson
Publsiher: Oxford University Press, USA
Total Pages: 353
Release: 2018-11-30
Genre: Religion
ISBN: 9780190911966

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Irreverence and the Sacred brings together some of the most cutting edge, interdisciplinary, and international scholars working today in order to debate key issues in the critical and comparative study of religion. The project is inspired in large part by the work of Bruce Lincoln, whose influential and wide-ranging scholarship has consistently posed challenging, provocative, and often-irreverent questions that have really pushed the boundaries of the field of religious studies in important, sometimes controversial ways. Retracing the history of the discipline of religious studies, Lincoln argues that the field has tended to champion a "validating, feel-good" approach to religion, rather than posing more critical questions about religious claims to authority and their role in history, politics, and social change. A critical approach to the history of religions, he suggests, would focus on the human, temporal, and material aspects of phenomena that are claimed to have a superhuman, eternal, or transcendent status. This volume takes up Lincoln's challenge to "do better," by engaging in critical analyses of four key themes in the study of religion: myth, ritual, gender, and politics. The book also interrogates the "politics of scholarship" itself, critically examining the relations of power and material interests at work in the study as well as the practice of religion. The scholars involved in this project include not only some of the most important figures in the American study of religion--such as Wendy Doniger, Russell McCutcheon, Ivan Strenski, and Lincoln himself--but also European scholars whose work is hugely influential overseas but not as well known in the U.S.--such as Stefan Arvidsson, Claude Calame, Nicolas Meylan, and others.

Force of Words A Cultural History of Christianity and Politics in Medieval Iceland 11th 13th Centuries

Force of Words  A Cultural History of Christianity and Politics in Medieval Iceland  11th  13th Centuries
Author: Haraldur Hreinsson
Publsiher: BRILL
Total Pages: 342
Release: 2021-03-29
Genre: History
ISBN: 9789004449572

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Haraldur Hreinsson examines the social and political significance of the Christian religion as the Roman Church was taking hold in medieval Iceland in the 11th, 12th, and 13th centuries.

Apocalyptic Thinking in Early Judaism

Apocalyptic Thinking in Early Judaism
Author: Cecilia Wassen,Sidnie White Crawford
Publsiher: BRILL
Total Pages: 236
Release: 2018-02-12
Genre: Religion
ISBN: 9789004358386

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In Apocalyptic Thinking leading experts critically engage with John Collins’ seminal study The Apocalyptic Imagination and advance the debate on ancient Jewish apocalyptic with articles on current topics with a special focus on the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Theorizing Myth

Theorizing Myth
Author: Bruce Lincoln
Publsiher: University of Chicago Press
Total Pages: 315
Release: 1999
Genre: Language Arts & Disciplines
ISBN: 9780226482026

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In Theorizing Myth, Bruce Lincoln traces the way scholars and others have used the category of "myth" to fetishize or deride certain kinds of stories, usually those told by others. He begins by showing that mythos yielded to logos not as part of a (mythic) "Greek miracle," but as part of struggles over political, linguistic, and epistemological authority occasioned by expanded use of writing and the practice of Athenian democracy. Lincoln then turns his attention to the period when myth was recuperated as a privileged type of narrative, a process he locates in the political and cultural ferment of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Here, he connects renewed enthusiasm for myth to the nexus of Romanticism, nationalism, and Aryan triumphalism, particularly the quest for a language and set of stories on which nation-states could be founded. In the final section of this wide-ranging book, Lincoln advocates a fresh approach to the study of myth, providing varied case studies to support his view of myth—and scholarship on myth—as ideology in narrative form.

Apples and Oranges

Apples and Oranges
Author: Bruce Lincoln
Publsiher: University of Chicago Press
Total Pages: 348
Release: 2018-08-23
Genre: Religion
ISBN: 9780226564074

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Comparison is an indispensable intellectual operation that plays a crucial role in the formation of knowledge. Yet comparison often leads us to forego attention to nuance, detail, and context, perhaps leaving us bereft of an ethical obligation to take things correspondingly as they are. Examining the practice of comparison across the study of history, language, religion, and culture, distinguished scholar of religion Bruce Lincoln argues in Apples and Oranges for a comparatism of a more modest sort. Lincoln presents critiques of recent attempts at grand comparison, and enlists numerous theoretical examples of how a more modest, cautious, and discriminating form of comparison might work and what it can accomplish. He does this through studies of shamans, werewolves, human sacrifices, apocalyptic prophecies, sacred kings, and surveys of materials as diverse and wide-ranging as Beowulf, Herodotus’s account of the Scythians, the Native American Ghost Dance, and the Spanish Civil War. Ultimately, Lincoln argues that concentrating one's focus on a relatively small number of items that the researcher can compare closely, offering equal attention to relations of similarity and difference, not only grants dignity to all parties considered, it yields more reliable and more interesting—if less grandiose—results. Giving equal attention to the social, historical, and political contexts and subtexts of religious and literary texts also allows scholars not just to assess their content, but also to understand the forces, problems, and circumstances that motivated and shaped them.

Demons in the Details

Demons in the Details
Author: Sara Ronis
Publsiher: Univ of California Press
Total Pages: 284
Release: 2022-08-09
Genre: History
ISBN: 9780520386174

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The Babylonian Talmud is full of stories of demonic encounters, and it also includes many laws that attempt to regulate such encounters. In this book, Sara Ronis takes the reader on a journey across the rabbinic canon, exploring how late antique rabbis imagined, feared, and controlled demons. Ronis contextualizes the Talmud's thought within the rich cultural matrix of Sasanian Babylonia, placing rabbinic thinking in conversation with Sumerian, Akkadian, Ugaritic, Syriac Christian, Zoroastrian, and Second Temple Jewish texts about demons to delve into the interactive communal context in which the rabbis created boundaries between the human and the supernatural, and between themselves and other religious communities. Demons in the Details explores the wide range of ways that the rabbis participated in broader discussions about beliefs and practices with their neighbors, out of which they created a profoundly Jewish demonology.