Irreverence and the Sacred

Critical Studies in the History of Religions

by Hugh Urban, Greg Johnson

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ISBNs
  • 9780190911966
  • 9780190911973
  • 9780190911980
Irreverence and the Sacred brings together some of the most cutting edge, interdisciplinary, and international scholars working today in order to debate key issues in the critical and comparative study of religion. The project is inspired in large part by the work of Bruce Lincoln, whose influential and wide-ranging scholarship has consistently posed challenging, provocative, and often-irreverent questions that have really pushed the boundaries of the field of religious studies in important, sometimes controversial ways. Retracing the history of the discipline of religious studies, Lincoln argues that the field has tended to champion a "validating, feel-good" approach to religion, rather than posing more critical questions about religious claims to authority and their role in history, politics, and social change. A critical approach to the history of religions, he suggests, would focus on the human, temporal, and material aspects of phenomena that are claimed to have a superhuman, eternal, or transcendent status. This volume takes up Lincoln's challenge to "do better," by engaging in critical analyses of four key themes in the study of religion: myth, ritual, gender, and politics. The book also interrogates the "politics of scholarship" itself, critically examining the relations of power and material interests at work in the study as well as the practice of religion. The scholars involved in this project include not only some of the most important figures in the American study of religion--such as Wendy Doniger, Russell McCutcheon, Ivan Strenski, and Lincoln himself--but also European scholars whose work is hugely influential overseas but not as well known in the U.S.--such as Stefan Arvidsson, Claude Calame, Nicolas Meylan, and others.

  • Oxford University Press; November 2018
  • ISBN: 9780190911973
  • Read online, or download in secure PDF or secure ePub format
  • Title: Irreverence and the Sacred
  • Author: Hugh Urban (ed.); Greg Johnson (ed.)
  • Imprint: Oxford University Press
Subject categories
ISBNs
  • 9780190911966
  • 9780190911973
  • 9780190911980

In The Press

"Using Bruce Lincoln's work as a compass, the contributors to this volume eschew a feel-good approach to religious studies. Rather than focus on meaningless categories such as 'the sacred,' they encourage us to reflect on the mundane nature of religion. The results are challenging, provocative, and often irreverent. The editors are to be congratulated for continuing to push the boundaries of the field in important and controversial directions."--Aaron W. Hughes, Philip S. Bernstein Professor of Religion and Classics, University of Rochester
"While Bruce Lincoln's scholarship has established him as a leading figure in religious studies, the field remains in desperate need of scholars pressing and applying the kind of approach Lincoln advocates. His mode of and ideas on historiography provoke as much as they influence, and the field would be better if scholarseven in their critiquestook seriously the questions and issues thinkers like Lincoln continue to pose for our academic work. That is exactly what this collection delivers."--K. Merinda Simmons, Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies, Department of Religious Studies, University of Alabama
"Bruce Lincoln's voice is one of the most important on the critical end of the academic study of religion; no one I know of has done more than he to theorize and adapt neo-Marxist or Marxian approaches to the subject matter of our field. The volume does an excellent job of surveying his major works, extending Lincoln's work to a new data set, demonstrating its usefulness, or offering criticisms of his work, demonstrating how his approach might be modified so as to be more sophisticated than it already is."--Craig Martin, Associate Professor of Religious Studies, St. Thomas Aquinas College


About The Author

Hugh B. Urban is a professor of religious studies and South Asian studies in the Department of Comparative Studies at Ohio State University. He is the author of nine books, including The Church of Scientology: A History of a New Religion (2011) and Zorba the Buddha: Sex, Spirituality and Capitalism in the Global Osho Movement (2016).Greg Johnson is Associate Professor of Religious Studies and Director of the Center for Native American and Indigenous Studies at the University of Colorado, Boulder. He is the author of Sacred Claims: Repatriation and Living Tradition and co-editor of Handbook of Indigenous Religion(s) (2017).

Subject categories
ISBNs
  • 9780190911966
  • 9780190911973
  • 9780190911980