Between Heaven and Earth: The Religious Worlds People Make and the Scholars Who Study Them

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9780691127767: Between Heaven and Earth: The Religious Worlds People Make and the Scholars Who Study Them


Between Heaven and Earth explores the relationships men, women, and children have formed with the Virgin Mary and the saints in twentieth-century American Catholic history, and reflects, more broadly, on how people live in the company of sacred figures and how these relationships shape the ties between people on earth. In this boldly argued and beautifully written book, Robert Orsi also considers how scholars of religion occupy the ground in between belief and analysis, faith and scholarship.


Orsi infuses his analysis with an autobiographical voice steeped in his own Italian-American Catholic background--from the devotion of his uncle Sal, who had cerebral palsy, to a "crippled saint," Margaret of Castello; to the bond of his Tuscan grandmother with Saint Gemma Galgani.


Religion exists not as a medium of making meanings, Orsi maintains, but as a network of relationships between heaven and earth involving people of all ages as well as the many sacred figures they hold dear. Orsi argues that modern academic theorizing about religion has long sanctioned dubious distinctions between "good" or "real" religious expression on the one hand and "bad" or "bogus" religion on the other, which marginalize these everyday relationships with sacred figures.


This book is a brilliant critical inquiry into the lives that people make, for better or worse, between heaven and earth, and into the ways scholars of religion could better study of these worlds.

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"A hugely important, beautifully written book. Between Heaven and Earth is vintage Orsi, the work of our leading historian of twentieth-century American Catholicism at the top of his game."--Richard Wightman Fox, University of Southern California, author of Jesus in America: Personal Savior, Cultural Hero, National Obsession

"A stunning contribution to the field. Not only does this book creatively transcend the old maxim about religion being about the construction of meaning, but it also radically undercuts scholars who disparage the 'superstitious' worlds of their subjects. Moreover, in a dizzying, personal narrative Orsi takes us into the hidden places of his own and his family's soul and spirit--with surgical precision that excises pain to make it available for methodological scrutiny. What is so refreshing about reading Orsi's work is that it genuinely is literature: it is religious studies as an art form, highly disciplined, superbly executed, gripping in presentation. This is a book that holds the reader."--Catherine L. Albanese, University of California, Santa Barbara, author of America: Religions and Religion

"Robert Orsi's Between Heaven and Earth is yet another one of his masterful scholarly achievements in the study of the history of Catholicism in America. I cannot think of anyone writing in the area who has the depth, intellect, creativity, and knowledge of Orsi."--Gary M. Laderman, Emory University, author of Rest in Peace: A Cultural History of Death and the Funeral Home in Twentieth-Century America

"Orsi has not written a memoir, per se, but has rather found in his own family a rich archive, full of religious experiences that tell stories about the extraordinary meanings ordinary people create in their lives."--Publishers Weekly

"Religion is 'not benign,' Orsi warns, but is as richly ambiguous, as fraught with complexity, contradiction and tragedy as the lives of its adherents. By its very nature, religion deals with our deepest longings and most bitter frustrations, especially concerning our relationships with others. As a consequence, he argues, it cannot be studied in a merely 'scientific' or 'objective' way."--Paul Baumann, Chicago Tribune

About the Author:

Robert A. Orsi is Charles Warren Professor of the History of Religion in America, Harvard Divinity School. He is the author of The Madonna of 115th Street, winner of the John Gilmary Shea Prize of the American Catholic Historical Association; and of Thank You, St. Jude, winner of the 1998 Merle Curti Award in American Social History.

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Book Description Princeton University Press, United States, 2006. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Between Heaven and Earth explores the relationships men, women, and children have formed with the Virgin Mary and the saints in twentieth-century American Catholic history, and reflects, more broadly, on how people live in the company of sacred figures and how these relationships shape the ties between people on earth. In this boldly argued and beautifully written book, Robert Orsi also considers how scholars of religion occupy the ground in between belief and analysis, faith and scholarship. Orsi infuses his analysis with an autobiographical voice steeped in his own Italian-American Catholic background--from the devotion of his uncle Sal, who had cerebral palsy, to a crippled saint, Margaret of Castello; to the bond of his Tuscan grandmother with Saint Gemma Galgani. Religion exists not as a medium of making meanings, Orsi maintains, but as a network of relationships between heaven and earth involving people of all ages as well as the many sacred figures they hold dear. Orsi argues that modern academic theorizing about religion has long sanctioned dubious distinctions between good or real religious expression on the one hand and bad or bogus religion on the other, which marginalize these everyday relationships with sacred figures. This book is a brilliant critical inquiry into the lives that people make, for better or worse, between heaven and earth, and into the ways scholars of religion could better study of these worlds. Bookseller Inventory # AAZ9780691127767

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Book Description Princeton University Press, United States, 2006. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Between Heaven and Earth explores the relationships men, women, and children have formed with the Virgin Mary and the saints in twentieth-century American Catholic history, and reflects, more broadly, on how people live in the company of sacred figures and how these relationships shape the ties between people on earth. In this boldly argued and beautifully written book, Robert Orsi also considers how scholars of religion occupy the ground in between belief and analysis, faith and scholarship. Orsi infuses his analysis with an autobiographical voice steeped in his own Italian-American Catholic background--from the devotion of his uncle Sal, who had cerebral palsy, to a crippled saint, Margaret of Castello; to the bond of his Tuscan grandmother with Saint Gemma Galgani. Religion exists not as a medium of making meanings, Orsi maintains, but as a network of relationships between heaven and earth involving people of all ages as well as the many sacred figures they hold dear. Orsi argues that modern academic theorizing about religion has long sanctioned dubious distinctions between good or real religious expression on the one hand and bad or bogus religion on the other, which marginalize these everyday relationships with sacred figures. This book is a brilliant critical inquiry into the lives that people make, for better or worse, between heaven and earth, and into the ways scholars of religion could better study of these worlds. Bookseller Inventory # AAZ9780691127767

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Book Description Princeton University Press, 2006. Book Condition: New. 2006. Paperback. Explores the relationships men, women, and children have formed with the Virgin Mary and the saints in twentieth-century American Catholic history, and reflects on how people live in the company of sacred figures and how these relationships shape the ties between people on earth. Num Pages: 264 pages, 13 halftones. BIC Classification: 1KBB; HRAC; HRCC7; HRLM. Category: (P) Professional & Vocational; (U) Tertiary Education (US: College). Dimension: 232 x 156 x 16. Weight in Grams: 398. . . . . . . Bookseller Inventory # V9780691127767

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Book Description Princeton University Press. Book Condition: New. 2006. Paperback. Explores the relationships men, women, and children have formed with the Virgin Mary and the saints in twentieth-century American Catholic history, and reflects on how people live in the company of sacred figures and how these relationships shape the ties between people on earth. Num Pages: 264 pages, 13 halftones. BIC Classification: 1KBB; HRAC; HRCC7; HRLM. Category: (P) Professional & Vocational; (U) Tertiary Education (US: College). Dimension: 232 x 156 x 16. Weight in Grams: 398. . . . . . Books ship from the US and Ireland. Bookseller Inventory # V9780691127767

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