“Bruce Lincoln is a rara avis. His combination of precise technical analysis of ancient religious texts, allied to a grand, comparative vision of religion in society, past and present, informs a reflection, at once anxious and radical, anchored in the predicament of our own times. This combination produces a humanistic approach, devoid of grandiloquence, and this strikingly original book will be of great importance to all students of ancient religions and to historians of religions in general.”
– Guy Stroumsa, University of Oxford
Gods and Demons, Priests and Scholars
Critical Explorations in the History of Religions
|Publication Date: May 01, 2012 ||Cloth $27.50 • £18.00 |
|UK Publication Date: May 14, 2012 ||978-0-226-48187-6 (paper) |
In Gods and Demons, Priests and Scholars, Bruce Lincoln lays the groundwork for a critical approach to the study of religion that is rigorous and analytic, but neither cynical nor crude. The wide-ranging essays gathered here advance radical new perspectives on classic categories of religion, including gods and pantheons, demons and monsters, morality and power, and inspired and transcendent speech. Lincoln also reflects on issues of discipline and method, arguing that scholars need to resist the self-understanding of religious phenomena, treating them not as sacred realities, but as human constructs that claim sacred status and thus acquire the awesome capacity to reshape collective consciousness, historic experience, and the social order. Conceptually bold and resolutely unsentimental, Gods and Demons, Priests and Scholars will be a touchstone for the history of religions in the twenty-first century.
Bruce Lincoln is the Caroline E. Haskell Professor of the History of Religions, Middle Eastern Studies, and Medieval Studies at the University of Chicago, where he is also an associate in the Departments of Anthropology and Classics. He is the author of nine books, most recently Religion, Empire, and Torture: The Case of Achaemenian Persia, with a Postscript on Abu Ghraib, also published by the University of Chicago Press.
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