Cloth $45.00 ISBN: 9780226126821 Will Publish November 2017
E-book $45.00 Available for pre-order. ISBN: 9780226491486 Will Publish November 2017

Secret Body

Erotic and Esoteric Currents in the History of Religions

Jeffrey J. Kripal

Secret Body

Jeffrey J. Kripal

448 pages | 4 color plates | 6 x 9 | © 2017
Cloth $45.00 ISBN: 9780226126821 Will Publish November 2017
E-book $45.00 ISBN: 9780226491486 Will Publish November 2017
Over the course of his twenty-five-year career, Jeffrey J. Kripal’s study of religion has had two major areas of focus: the erotic expression of mystical experience and the rise of the paranormal in American culture. This book brings these two halves together in surprising ways through a blend of memoir, manifesto, and anthology, drawing new connections between these two realms of human experience and revealing Kripal’s body of work to be a dynamic whole that has the potential to renew and reshape the study of religion.
            Kripal tells his story, biographically, historically and politically contextualizing each of the six books of his Chicago corpus, from Kali’s Child to Mutants and Mystics, all the while answering his censors and critics and exploring new implications of his thought. In the process, he begins to sketch out a speculative “new comparativism” in twenty theses. The result is a new vision for the study of religion, one that takes in the best of the past, engages with outside critiques from the sciences and the humanities, and begins to blaze a new positive path forward. A major work decades in the making, Secret Body will become a landmark in the study of religion.
 
Contents
Opening: “You Should Write Fiction”

Corpus

1          In the Land of Oz: Childhood and Adolescence
Letter to the Editor: The Buyer’s Guide (1977)

2          “My Eros Has Been Crucified”: Puberty, Asceticism, and Neurosis
On the Fiction of a Straight Jesus (2008)

3          That Night: Wherein the Knowing Energies Zap Me
The Preface that I Did Not Publish (ca. 1994)

4          The Erotic Mystic: Kālī’s Child and the Backlash against It
Secret Talk: Sexual Identity and the Politics of Scholarship in the Study of Hindu Tantrism (2000)

5          The Transmoral Mystic: What Both the Moralists and the Devotees Get Wrong
Inside-Out, Outside-In: Existential Place and Academic Method in the Study of North American Guru Traditions (1999)

6          How They Really Came to Their Ideas: The Deeper Roots of Thought and Theory
The Visitation of the Stranger: On Some Mystical Dimensions of the History of Religions (1999)

7          The Gnostic Reversal: The Snake that Bites Its Own Tail
Gnosisssss: A Response to Wouter Hanegraaff (2008)

8          Wendy’s Student: Mythical Paradox and Political Censorship
Being Blake: Antinomian Thought, Counterculture, and the Art of the History of Religions (2010)

Mysticum

9          That Other Night: The Future of the Body and Evolutionary Esotericism
Esalen: America and the Religion of No Religion (2007)

10        The Filter Thesis: The Irreducible Nature of Mind and the Spirit of the Humanities
An Island in Mind: Aldous Huxley and the Neurotheologian (2013)

11        The Rise of the Paranormal: And Some Related X Factors in the Study of Religion
Authors of the Impossible: Reading the Paranormal Writing Us (2010–2014)

The Matter of Myth and the Myth of Matter (2011)

12        La Pensée Surhumaine: Paraphysics, the Super Story, and Invisible Colleges
Forbidden Science: A Late Night Chat with Jacques Vallée (January 24, 2012)

La Madonna dell’UFO (2015)

13        Comparing Religions in Public: Family, Evangelicals, and the Prophetic Function of the Humanities
The Chess Game (February 22, 2015)

14        The Super Natural: Biological Gods, the Traumatic Secret, and the Future (of) Race
Better Horrors: From Terror to Communion in Whitley Strieber’s Communion (2015)

Meum

15        The New Comparativism: What It Is and How to Do It
Transmigration and Cultural Transmission: Comparing Anew with Ian Stevenson (2017)

Closing: What the New Sacred Is (Not)

Airport Afterword
Appendix: The Gnomons
The Method of All Methods
Acknowledgments
Notes
Index
Review Quotes
T. M. Luhrmann, author of When God Talks Back
“This beautifully written and sharply observed book is simply put one of the most remarkable challenges to scholarship-as-usual that I have encountered. It will baffle or annoy many scholars, but those who take it seriously as an invitation to look differently at the way we think about religion and what should count as the subject of scholarship will find that it changes their sense of the possible.”
Charles M. Stang, Harvard Divinity School
Secret Body is Jeffrey Kripal at his most capacious, and most confessional. All the highways and byways of his tireless imagination converge here, in this magisterial but intimate effort of auto-interpretation. I have come to see Kripal in the grand tradition of Ludwig Feuerbach: showing us how we have projected our own superhuman potential into a world of gods and monsters, and pleading with us to recall that potential from exile. However, Kripal tops Feuerbach in at least one column: he has an infectious sense of humor about the whole charade.”
For more information, or to order this book, please visit http://www.press.uchicago.edu
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