Religion is often denounced as a tool used by patriarchal societies to persuade women to accept subordinate roles. This does not explain, however, the existence of many religious groups in which women are both leaders and the majority of participants. How are these religions different from those dominated by men? What can we learn from them about the ways in which women experience their reality? In this first comparative study of women's religions, Starr Sered seeks answers to these compelling questions.
"Understanding Fundamentalism" provides an up-to-date picture of religious reactions against the modern secular world. Comparing Christian, Islamic, and Jewish movements, anthropologist Antoun shows how they share common characteristics such as seeking purity in an impure world, attempting to make the ancient past relevant to their contemporary situation, looking to move religion out of the worship center and into every aspect of life, and actively struggling against the aspects of the modern world they regard as evil.
Today atheism is presented as an invention of the European Enlightenment, but it actually originated far earlier. In "Battling the Gods," Whitmarsh journeys to the ancient Mediterranean to recover the stories of those who first refused the divinities. In this time of no centralized religious authority, there was a spectrum of perspectives on sacred matters, from the devotional to the atheos, or "godless." Whitmarsh explores this range, focusing on those who challenged the gods' existence.
This accessible guide outlines the development of Japan's indigenous religion from ancient times to the present day, tracing the individual shrines, myths, and rituals that developed and merged into modern Shinto. It also offers an introduction to kami worship and its role in Shinto's identity, examines key evolutionary moments such as the Meiji Revolution of 1868, and provides a history of the important Hie shrine. In addition, it challenges the stereotype of Shinto as the unchanging, all-defining core of Japanese culture.
This book presents a portrait of African religious history by looking at the traditional religions that provided the philosophical, religious, and ethical basis of African culture. While it focuses primarily on these religions and their related myths, rituals, authorities, ethics, and artwork, it also includes substantial treatment of nationalism and African Islam and Christianity.
Jesus was a skilled storyteller and perceptive teacher who used parables to effectively convey his message. But first-century Palestine was very different from our world today, and many traditional interpretations of Jesus' stories ignore this disparity. Many have also been colored by anti-Semitism and misogyny. In this book, Levine helps readers understand how the original Jewish audience understood these parables and then, with this revitalized understanding, interprets them for the contemporary reader.
This volume gathers multicultural and interdisciplinary perspectives on every book in the Hebrew Bible and Apocrypha. It opens a critical window onto the world of interpretation on the African continent and in the multiple diasporas of African peoples.
No book has been more pored over, has been the subject of more commentary and controversy, or had more influence on religion, culture, and language than the Bible. And certainly no book has been as widely read. But how did the Bible become the book we know it to be? In this history, Pelikan takes the reader through the good book's journey from oral tales to its modern existence in various iterations, translations, and languages.
This book draws on extensive ethnohistorical and ethnographical materials to offer an innovative study of the mythology of the Toltecs and the Aztecs, with broader Mesoamerican comparisons, including the Popol Vuh of the Quich e Maya. It finds recurring themes in origin stories of light and darkness, sacrifice, expulsion and wanderings, and arrival in a Promised Land. Its analysis also includes considerations of myth vs. history.
In "No God but God," Aslan explains Islam in all its complexity. Beginning with how the revelations Muhammad received became the foundation for a radical egalitarian community, Aslan then discusses the split between orthodox Islam and its two major sects. He examines how, under colonialism, Muslims developed conflicting strategies to reconcile their values with the modern world, and explores the emergence of the Islamic state in the twentieth century.
In "Religion in India," Clothey surveys the religions of India from prehistory through the modern period, examining the rituals, mythologies, arts, ethics and social and cultural contexts of religion as lived in the past and present on the subcontinent. Key topics include Hinduism's origins and development over time, minority religions such as Sikhism, Jainism, and Buddhism, the influences of colonialism, the spread of Indian religions in the rest of the world, and the practice of religion in everyday life.
This book offers a full and lucid account of Judaism and the Jewish people for Jews and non-Jews alike. It brings out the extraordinary richness and variety of Judaism, its historical depth, and the vigor and endurance of its traditions in the home, the synagogue, its literature, and individual and community life. This is a stimulating and comprehensive introduction to a major world culture.
"Introducing Buddhism" is the ideal resource for all those beginning the study of this religion. Prebish and Keown explain the key teachings of Buddhism and trace its historical development. They also devote a chapter to each major region where Buddhism has flourished--India, South East Asia, East Asia and Tibet--and discuss contemporary concerns.
Indigenous religions are the majority of the world's religions. This text shows how much they can contribute to a richer understanding of human identity, action, and relationships. In it, an international team of contributors discusses representative indigenous religions from all continents in three sections: Persons, Powers, and Gifts.
Long before the birth of Christ, there lived in Persia a prophet to whom we owe the ideas of a single god, the struggle between good and evil, and the Apocalypse. His name was Zarathustra, and his teachings held sway from the Indus to Britain. Kriwaczek uncovers his legacy in present-day Central Asia, medieval France, and the Roman Empire, ultimately bringing us face to face with the prophet himself, a teacher who shocked and challenged his age and has had an enduring effect on Western thought.
"Teaching Spirits" examines common themes in many Native American religious traditions--a sense of time as cyclical, a belief that landscapes are inhabited by spirits--illustrating each theme with in-depth explorations of specific cultures. It also explores how tribal members shape and adapt their traditions to meet contemporary needs, and suggests that Native American traditions demonstrate how the presence of the sacred can permeate all lifeways to such a degree that religion is integrated into all life activities.