Imagining Religion: From Babylon to Jonestown (Chicago Studies in the History of Judaism)

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9780226763606: Imagining Religion: From Babylon to Jonestown (Chicago Studies in the History of Judaism)
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With this influential book of essays, Jonathan Z. Smith has pointed the academic study of religion in a new theoretical direction, one neither theological nor willfully ideological.

Making use of examples as apparently diverse and exotic as the Maori cults in nineteenth-century New Zealand and the events of Jonestown, Smith shows that religion must be construed as conventional, anthropological, historical, and as an exercise of imagination. In his analyses, religion emerges as the product of historically and geographically situated human ingenuity, cognition, and curiosity—simply put, as the result of human labor, one of the decisive but wholly ordinary ways human beings create the worlds in which they live and make sense of them.

"These seven essays . . . display the critical intelligence, creativity, and sheer common sense that make Smith one of the most methodologically sophisticated and suggestive historians of religion writing today. . . . Smith scrutinizes the fundamental problems of taxonomy and comparison in religious studies, suggestively redescribes such basic categories as canon and ritual, and shows how frequently studied myths may more likely reflect situational incongruities than vaunted mimetic congruities. His final essay, on Jonestown, demonstrates the interpretive power of the historian of religion to render intelligible that in our own day which seems most bizarre."—Richard S. Sarason, Religious Studies Review

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Jonathan Z. Smith is the Robert O. Anderson Distinguished Service Professor of the Humanities at the University of Chicago where he is also a member of the Committee on the History of Culture. Among his numerous books are To Take Place, Drudgery Divine, and Map Is Note Territory, all published by the University of Chicago Press.

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Book Description The University of Chicago Press, United States, 1988. Paperback. Condition: New. New edition. Language: English . Brand New Book. With this influential book of essays, Jonathan Z. Smith has pointed the academic study of religion in a new theoretical direction, one neither theological nor willfully ideological. Making use of examples as apparently diverse and exotic as the Maori cults in nineteenth-century New Zealand and the events of Jonestown, Smith shows that religion must be construed as conventional, anthropological, historical, and as an exercise of imagination. In his analyses, religion emerges as the product of historically and geographically situated human ingenuity, cognition, and curiosity--simply put, as the result of human labor, one of the decisive but wholly ordinary ways human beings create the worlds in which they live and make sense of them. These seven essays . . . display the critical intelligence, creativity, and sheer common sense that make Smith one of the most methodologically sophisticated and suggestive historians of religion writing today. . . . Smith scrutinizes the fundamental problems of taxonomy and comparison in religious studies, suggestively redescribes such basic categories as canon and ritual, and shows how frequently studied myths may more likely reflect situational incongruities than vaunted mimetic congruities. His final essay, on Jonestown, demonstrates the interpretive power of the historian of religion to render intelligible that in our own day which seems most bizarre. --Richard S. Sarason, Religious Studies Review. Seller Inventory # AAH9780226763606

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Book Description The University of Chicago Press, United States, 1988. Paperback. Condition: New. New edition. Language: English . Brand New Book. With this influential book of essays, Jonathan Z. Smith has pointed the academic study of religion in a new theoretical direction, one neither theological nor willfully ideological. Making use of examples as apparently diverse and exotic as the Maori cults in nineteenth-century New Zealand and the events of Jonestown, Smith shows that religion must be construed as conventional, anthropological, historical, and as an exercise of imagination. In his analyses, religion emerges as the product of historically and geographically situated human ingenuity, cognition, and curiosity--simply put, as the result of human labor, one of the decisive but wholly ordinary ways human beings create the worlds in which they live and make sense of them. These seven essays . . . display the critical intelligence, creativity, and sheer common sense that make Smith one of the most methodologically sophisticated and suggestive historians of religion writing today. . . . Smith scrutinizes the fundamental problems of taxonomy and comparison in religious studies, suggestively redescribes such basic categories as canon and ritual, and shows how frequently studied myths may more likely reflect situational incongruities than vaunted mimetic congruities. His final essay, on Jonestown, demonstrates the interpretive power of the historian of religion to render intelligible that in our own day which seems most bizarre. --Richard S. Sarason, Religious Studies Review. Seller Inventory # AAH9780226763606

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Book Description The University of Chicago Press, United States, 1988. Paperback. Condition: New. New edition. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. With this influential book of essays, Jonathan Z. Smith has pointed the academic study of religion in a new theoretical direction, one neither theological nor willfully ideological. Making use of examples as apparently diverse and exotic as the Maori cults in nineteenth-century New Zealand and the events of Jonestown, Smith shows that religion must be construed as conventional, anthropological, historical, and as an exercise of imagination. In his analyses, religion emerges as the product of historically and geographically situated human ingenuity, cognition, and curiosity--simply put, as the result of human labor, one of the decisive but wholly ordinary ways human beings create the worlds in which they live and make sense of them. These seven essays . . . display the critical intelligence, creativity, and sheer common sense that make Smith one of the most methodologically sophisticated and suggestive historians of religion writing today. . . . Smith scrutinizes the fundamental problems of taxonomy and comparison in religious studies, suggestively redescribes such basic categories as canon and ritual, and shows how frequently studied myths may more likely reflect situational incongruities than vaunted mimetic congruities. His final essay, on Jonestown, demonstrates the interpretive power of the historian of religion to render intelligible that in our own day which seems most bizarre. --Richard S. Sarason, Religious Studies Review. Seller Inventory # BTE9780226763606

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