The Other Sides of Paradise: Explorations into the Religious Meanings of Domestic Space in Islam (Studies in Comparative Religion)

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9780872497382: The Other Sides of Paradise: Explorations into the Religious Meanings of Domestic Space in Islam (Studies in Comparative Religion)
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Contemporary houses are usually recognized as forms of shelter and property. However, recent research in religious studies and in anthropology has shown that houses in pre-modern cultures can embody as well as convey sacred meanings and dominant cultural norms. Bringing together evidence from a wide variety of sources - Islamic scriptures, historical texts, archaeology, and ethnographic research - this book explains the complex array of religious meanings associated with Islamic houses and traces the shifts these meanings have undergone in the Middle East from 7th century to modern times. Campo shows how images of houses expressed in the Koran and Hadith literature have helped shape Muslim ideas about faith and disbelief, Mecca and Medina, sacred history, eschatology and the cosmos. He links his discussion of house symbolism to the establishment of the first Muslim mosques in cities outside of Arabia and to the emergence of the imperial doctrine of the "House of Islam" in 9th century Iraq. Moving to the contemporary era, the author shows that while modernity has affected the meanings Muslims attribute to their houses, it has not effaced them.

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In the first half of this book, Campo (religious studies, Univ. of California at Santa Barbara) utilizes textual analysis of the Quran and Hadith literature to discuss the meanings associated with the references to the various Arabic terms for house. The contexts in which these references are found can be grouped into four basic symbolic religious categories: God's house, sacred history, rules of behavior, and the hereafter. The second half of the book gathers ethnographic data to discuss religious symbolism employed in modern Islamic Egyptian households. Campo demonstrates that the symbol of the house has been significant both in the historical development of Islamic doctrine and in the continued personal employment of sacred meaning within domestic space in modern Islamic society. Recommended for anthropology, Middle East, or religion collections.
- Paula I. Nielson, Loyola Marymount Univ. Lib., Los Angeles
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Juan Eduardo Campo
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