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The Age of the Gods
Christopher Dawson
Catholic University of America Press, 2012
When first published in 1928, The Age of the Gods was hailed as the best short account of what is known of pre-historic man and culture. In it, Christopher Dawson synthesized modern scholarship on human cultures in Europe and the East from the Stone Age to the beginnings of the Iron Age.
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Anthropomorphic Imagery in the Mesoamerican Highlands
Gods, Ancestors, and Human Beings
Brigitte Faugère
University Press of Colorado, 2019
In Anthropomorphic Imagery in the Mesoamerican Highlands, Latin American, North American, and European researchers explore the meanings and functions of two- and three-dimensional human representations in the Precolumbian communities of the Mexican highlands. Reading these anthropomorphic representations from an ontological perspective, the contributors demonstrate the rich potential of anthropomorphic imagery to elucidate personhood, conceptions of the body, and the relationship of human beings to other entities, nature, and the cosmos.
 
Using case studies covering a broad span of highlands prehistory—Classic Teotihuacan divine iconography, ceramic figures in Late Formative West Mexico, Epiclassic Puebla-Tlaxcala costumed figurines, earth sculptures in Prehispanic Oaxaca, Early Postclassic Tula symbolic burials, Late Postclassic representations of Aztec Kings, and more—contributors examine both Mesoamerican representations of the body in changing social, political, and economic conditions and the multivalent emic meanings of these representations. They explore the technology of artifact production, the body’s place in social structures and rituals, the language of the body as expressed in postures and gestures, hybrid and transformative combinations of human and animal bodies, bodily representations of social categories, body modification, and the significance of portable and fixed representations.
 
Anthropomorphic Imagery in the Mesoamerican Highlands provides a wide range of insights into Mesoamerican concepts of personhood and identity, the constitution of the human body, and human relationships with gods and ancestors. It will be of great value to students and scholars of the archaeology and art history of Mexico.
 
Contributors: Claire Billard, Danièle Dehouve, Cynthia Kristan-Graham, Melissa Logan, Sylvie Peperstraete, Patricia Plunket, Mari Carmen Serra Puche, Juliette Testard, Andrew Turner, Gabriela Uruñuela, Marcus Winter
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Chocolate
Pathway to the Gods
Meredith L. Dreiss and Sharon Edgar Greenhill
University of Arizona Press, 2008
Chocolate: Pathway to the Gods takes readers on a journey through 3,000 years of the history of chocolate. It is a trip filled with surprises. And it is a beautifully illustrated tour, featuring 132 vibrant color photographs and a captivating sixty-minute DVD documentary. Along the way, readers learn about the mystical allure of chocolate for the peoples of Mesoamerica, who were the first to make it and who still incorporate it into their lives and ceremonies today.

Although it didn’t receive its Western scientific name, Theobroma cacao—“food of the gods”—until the eighteenth century, the cacao tree has been at the center of Mesoamerican mythology for thousands of years. Not only did this “chocolate tree” produce the actual seeds from which chocolate was extracted but it was also symbolically endowed with cosmic powers that enabled a dialogue between humans and their gods. From the pre-Columbian images included in this sumptuous book, we are able to see for ourselves the importance of chocolate to the Maya, Aztecs, Olmecs, Mixtecs, and Zapotecs who grew, produced, traded, and fought over the prized substance.

Through archaeological and other ethnohistoric research, the authors of this fascinating book document the significance of chocolate—to gods, kings, and everyday people—over several millennia. The illustrations allow us to envision the many ancient uses of this magical elixir: in divination ceremonies, in human sacrifices, and even in ball games. And as mythological connections between cacao trees, primordial rainforests, and biodiversity are unveiled, our own quest for ecological balance is reignited. In demonstrating the extraordinary value of chocolate in Mesoamerica, the authors provide new reasons—if any are needed—to celebrate this wondrous concoction.
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Crossing the Gods
World Religions and Worldly Politics
Demerath, Jay
Rutgers University Press, 2003
Crossing the Gods examines the sometimes antagonistic and sometimes cozy but always difficult and dangerous relationship between religion and politics in countries around the globe.            

Eminent sociologist of religion Jay Demerath traveled to Brazil, China, Egypt, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Northern Ireland, Pakistan, Poland, Sweden, Turkey, and Thailand to explore the history and current relationship of religion, politics, and the state in each country. In the first part of this wide-ranging book, he asks, What are the basic fault lines along which current tensions and conflicts have formed? What are the trajectories of change from past to present, and how do they help predict the future?

In the book’s second part the author returns home to focus on the United States the only nation founded specifically on the principle of a separation between religion and state and examines the extent to which this principle actually holds and the consequences when it does not. Highlighting such issues as culture wars, violence, globalization, and the fluidity of individual religious identity, Demerath exposes the provincialism and fallacies underlying many of our views of religion and politics worldwide.

Finally, Demerath examines America’s status as the world’s most religious nation. He places that claim within a comparative context and argues that our country is not “more religious” but “differently religious.” He argues that it represents a unique combination of congregational religion, religious pluralism, and civil religion. But the United States also illustrates the universal tendency for the sacred to give way to the secular and for the secular to generate new forms of the sacred.

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The Dawn of Christianity
People and Gods in a Time of Magic and Miracles
Robert Knapp
Harvard University Press, 2017

Ordinary people of antiquity interacted with the supernatural through a mosaic of beliefs and rituals. Exploring everyday life from 200 BCE to the end of the first century CE, Robert Knapp shows that Jews and polytheists lived with the gods in very similar ways. Traditional interactions provided stability even in times of crisis, while changing a relationship risked catastrophe for the individual, his family, and his community. However, people in both traditions did at times leave behind their long-honored rites to try something new. The Dawn of Christianity reveals why some people in Judea and then in the Roman and Greek worlds embraced a new approach to the forces and powers in their daily lives.

Knapp traces the emergence of Christianity from its stirrings in the eastern Mediterranean, where Jewish monotheism coexisted with polytheism and prayer mixed with magic. In a time receptive to prophetic messages and supernatural interventions, Jesus of Nazareth convinced people to change their beliefs by showing, through miracles, his direct connection to god-like power. The miracle of the Resurrection solidified Jesus’s supernatural credentials. After his death, followers continued to use miracles and magic to spread Jesus’s message of reward for the righteous in this life and immortality in the next.

Many Jews and polytheists strongly opposed the budding movement but despite major setbacks Christianity proved resilient and adaptable. It survived long enough to be saved by a second miracle, the conversion of Emperor Constantine. Hand in hand with empire, Christianity began its long march through history.

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The Devourer of Gods
Viking Magic in the New World
Thomas Benjamin De Mayo
Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, 2000

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Drumming For The Gods
Maria Velez
Temple University Press, 2000
"I am Felipe Garcia Villamil" begins Drumming for the Gods, the life history of the Afro-Cuban artist whose music has survived both political and personal upheaval. "Balogun for thirty years. Oluana, of Matanzas, Cuba, for about forty years. Omoana for almost forty-five years. OluIyesa [he knows the secrets of the Iyesa drums]." A practitioner of sacred drumming for almost his entire life, Felipe practiced his trade in Cuba both before and after the Revolution and brought it with him to New York, where he continues to play for the gods.

This book focuses on three periods of Felipe's life, each marked by changes in his personal life and by important historical events. The first period covers his formative years during which he received his initial training. Through Felipe's story, we explore the legacy of slavery in Cuba, the nature of Afro-Cuban religions and their musical traditions, and the history of bata drums. The second period covers the critical years of the Cuban Revolution. Here we see the effect of social turmoil both n music and religious practice (santero, palero, and abakua). The third period covers Felipe's life in New York as a refugee/immigrant, and the role of music in rebuilding his identity. Felipe's story illuminates his cultural practices and beliefs as well as the ways in which an individual musician selects and  modifies the elements of his cultural heritage to create a voice that is personal and unique. Felipe not only lives through history but also makes history, shaping an identity that cannot be described as "Cuban immigrant," "Afro-Cuban," "religious drummer," or "santeria initiate," but is composed of all of them.

Through Felipe's experiences, Maria Teresa Velez reveals the interaction between social, political, economic, and cultural forces and an individual's own actions. The professionalization of musicians in Cuba following the Revolution and the plight of Afro-Cuban immigrants in New York are seen as large historical and social problems to which Felipe must personally respond. A noted ethnomusicologist, Velez provides the most insightful and comprehensive English-language study of an individual Cuban religious drummer available.

Drumming for the Gods is a must-read for those interested in ethnomusicology, Caribbean studies, and Afro-Cuban religions and culture.
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Eating of the Gods
Jan Kott
Northwestern University Press, 1973
In The Eating of the Gods the distinguished Polish critic Jan Kott reexamines Greek tragedy from the modern perspective. As in his earlier acclaimed Shakespeare Our Contemporary, Kott provides startling insights and intuitive leaps which link our world to that of the ancient Greeks. The title refers to the Bacchae of Euripides, that tragedy of lust, revenge, murder, and "the joy of eating raw flesh" which Kott finds paradigmatic in its violence and bloodshed.
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A Family of Gods
The Worship of the Imperial Family in the Latin West
Gwynaeth McIntyre
University of Michigan Press, 2016

Roman politics and religion were inherently linked as the Romans attempted to explain the world and their place within it. As Roman territory expanded and power became consolidated into the hands of one man, people throughout the empire sought to define their relationship with the emperor by granting honors to him. This collection of practices has been labeled “emperor worship” or “ruler cult,” but this tells only half the story: imperial family members also became an important part of this construction of power and almost half of the individuals deified in Rome were wives, sisters, children, and other family members of the emperor.

In A Family of Gods, Gwynaeth McIntyre expands current “ruler cult” discussions by including other deified individuals, and by looking at how communities in the period 44 BCE to 337 CE sought to connect themselves with the imperial power structure through establishing priesthoods and cult practices. This work focuses on the priests dedicated to the worship of the imperial family in order to contextualize their role in how imperial power was perceived in the provincial communities and the ways in which communities chose to employ religious practices. Special emphasis is given to the provinces in Gaul, Spain, and North Africa.

This book draws on epigraphic evidence but incorporates literary, numismatic, and archaeological evidence where applicable. It will be of interest to scholars of Roman imperial cult as well as Roman imperialism, and religious and political history. 
 


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Fighting for the King and the Gods
A Survey of Warfare in the Ancient Near East
Charlie Trimm
SBL Press, 2017

The most up-to-date sourcebook on warfare in the ancient Near East

Fighting for the King and the Gods provides an introduction to the topic of war and the variety of texts concerning many aspects of warfare in the ancient Near East. These texts illustrate various viewpoints of war and show how warfare was an integral part of life. Trimm examines not only the victors and the famous battles, but also the hardship that war brought to many. While several of these texts treated here are well known (i.e., Ramses II's battle against the Hittites at Qadesh), others are known only to specialists. This work will allow a broader audience to access and appreciate these important texts as they relate to the history and ideology of warfare.

Features

  • References to recent secondary literature for further study
  • Early Greek and Chinese illustrative texts for comparisons with other cultures
  • Indices to help guide the reader
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Florentine Codex
Book 1: Book 1: The Gods
Bernardino de Sahagun
University of Utah Press, 1981

Two of the world’s leading scholars of the Aztec language and culture have translated Sahagún’s monumental and encyclopedic study of native life in Mexico at the time of the Spanish Conquest. This immense undertaking is the first complete translation into any language of Sahagún’s Nahuatl text, and represents one of the most distinguished contributions in the fields of anthropology, ethnography, and linguistics.

Written between 1540 and 1585, the Florentine Codex (so named because the manuscript has been part of the Laurentian Library’s collections since at least 1791) is the most authoritative statement we have of the Aztecs’ lifeways and traditions—a rich and intimate yet panoramic view of a doomed people.

The Florentine Codex is divided by subject area into twelve books and includes over 2,000 illustrations drawn by Nahua artists in the sixteenth century.

Book One describes in detail the gods of the Aztec people, including Uitzilopochtli, Tlatoc, and Quetzalcoatl. This colorful and clear translation brings to life characteristics of each god, describing such items as clothing or adornment worn by individual gods, as well as specific personality traits.

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Florentine Codex
Book 3: Book 3: The Origin of the Gods
Bernardino de Sahagun
University of Utah Press, 1981

Two of the world’s leading scholars of the Aztec language and culture have translated Sahagún’s monumental and encyclopedic study of native life in Mexico at the time of the Spanish Conquest. This immense undertaking is the first complete translation into any language of Sahagún’s Nahuatl text, and represents one of the most distinguished contributions in the fields of anthropology, ethnography, and linguistics.

Written between 1540 and 1585, the Florentine Codex (so named because the manuscript has been part of the Laurentian Library’s collections since at least 1791) is the most authoritative statement we have of the Aztecs’ lifeways and traditions—a rich and intimate yet panoramic view of a doomed people.

The Florentine Codex is divided by subject area into twelve books and includes over 2,000 illustrations drawn by Nahua artists in the sixteenth century.

Book Three describes in detail the excitingand sometimes bloody—origin stories of Uitzilopochtli, Titlacauan, and Quetzalcoatl. The appendix discusses other significant religious aspects of the Aztec religion, such as how boys are raised to be high priests and what happens to Aztecs after death.

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Free as Gods
How the Jazz Age Reinvented Modernism
Charles A. Riley
University Press of New England, 2017
Among many art, music and literature lovers, particularly devotees of modernism, the expatriate community in France during the Jazz Age represents a remarkable convergence of genius in one place and period—one of the most glorious in history. Drawn by the presence of such avant-garde figures as Joyce and Picasso, artists and writers fled the Prohibition in the United States and revolution in Russia to head for the free-wheeling scene in Paris, where they made contact with rivals, collaborators, and a sophisticated audience of collectors and patrons. The outpouring of boundary-pushing novels, paintings, ballets, music, and design was so profuse that it belies the brevity of the era (1918–1929). Drawing on unpublished albums, drawings, paintings, and manuscripts, Charles A. Riley offers a fresh examination of both canonic and overlooked writers and artists and their works, by revealing them in conversation with one another. He illuminates social interconnections and artistic collaborations among the most famous—Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Gershwin, Diaghilev, and Picasso—and goes a step further, setting their work alongside that of African Americans such as Sidney Bechet, Archibald Motley Jr., and Langston Hughes, and women such as Gertrude Stein and Nancy Cunard. Riley’s biographical and interpretive celebration of the many masterpieces of this remarkable group shows how the creative community of postwar Paris supported astounding experiments in content and form that still resonate today.
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Gifts of the Gods
A History of Food in Greece
Andrew and Rachel Dalby
Reaktion Books, 2017
What do we think about when we think about Greek food? For many, it is the meze and the traditional plates of a Greek island taverna at the height of summer. In Gifts of the Gods, Andrew and Rachel Dalby take us into and beyond the taverna in our minds to offer us a unique and comprehensive history of the foods of Greece.

Greek food is brimming with thousands of years of history, lore, and culture. The country has one of the most varied landscapes of Europe, where steep mountains, low-lying plains, rocky islands, and crystal-blue seas jostle one another and produce food and wine of immense quality and distinctive taste. The book discusses how the land was settled, what was grown in different regions, and how certain fruits, herbs, and vegetables became a part of local cuisines. Moving through history—from classical to modern—the book explores the country’s regional food identities as well as the export of Greek food to communities all over the world. The book culminates with a look at one of the most distinctive features of Greece’s food tradition—the country’s world renown hospitality. Illustrated throughout and featuring traditional recipes that blend historical and modern flavors, Gifts of the Gods is a mouth-watering account of a rich and ancient cuisine.
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Gods and Demons, Priests and Scholars
Critical Explorations in the History of Religions
Bruce Lincoln
University of Chicago Press, 2012

Bruce Lincoln is one of the most prominent advocates within religious studies for an uncompromisingly critical approach to the phenomenon of religion—historians of religions, he believes, should resist the preferred narratives and self-understanding of religions themselves, especially when their stories are endowed with sacred origins and authority. In Gods and Demons, Priests and Scholars, Lincoln assembles a collection of essays that both illustrates and reveals the benefits of his methodology, making a case for a critical religious studies that starts with skepticism but is neither cynical nor crude.

The book begins with Lincoln’s “Theses on Method” and ends with “The (Un)discipline of Religious Studies,” in which he unsparingly considers the failings of uncritical and nonhistorical approaches to the study of religions. In between, Lincoln presents new examinations of problems in ancient religions and relates these cases to larger comparative themes. While bringing to light important features of the formation of pantheons and the constructions of demons, chaos, and the dead, Lincoln demonstrates that historians of religions should take religious things—inspired scriptures, sacred centers, salvific rites, communities graced by divine favor—as the theories of interested humans that shape perception, community, and experiences. As he shows, it is for their terrestrial influence, and not their sacred origins, that religious phenomena merit consideration by the historian.
 
Tackling many questions central to religious study, Gods and Demons, Priests and Scholars will be a touchstone for the history of religions in the twenty-first century.
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Gods and Goddesses in the Garden
Greco-Roman Mythology and the Scientific Names of Plants
Bernhardt, Peter
Rutgers University Press, 2008
 Zeus, Medusa, Hercules, Aphrodite. Did you know that these and other dynamic deities, heroes, and monsters of Greek and Roman mythology live on in the names of trees and flowers? Some grow in your local woodlands or right in your own backyard garden.
 
In this delightful book, botanist Peter Bernhardt reveals the rich history and mythology that underlie the origins of many scientific plant names. Unlike other books about botanical taxonomy that take the form of heavy and intimidating lexicons, Bernhardt's account comes together in a series of interlocking stories. Each chapter opens with a short version of a classical myth, then links the tale to plant names, showing how each plant "resembles" its mythological counterpart with regard to its history, anatomy, life cycle, and conservation. You will learn, for example, that as our garden acanthus wears nasty spines along its leaf margins, it is named for the nymph who scratched the face of Apollo. The shape-shifting god, Proteus, gives his name to a whole family of shrubs and trees that produce colorful flowering branches in an astonishing number of sizes and shapes.
 
Amateur and professional gardeners, high school teachers and professors of biology, botanists and conservationists alike will appreciate this book's entertaining and informative entry to the otherwise daunting field of botanical names. Engaging, witty, and memorable, Gods and Goddesses in the Garden transcends the genre of natural history and makes taxonomy a topic equally at home in the classroom and at cocktail parties.
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Gods and Heroes of the Greeks
The "Library" of Apollodorus
Michael Simpson
University of Massachusetts Press, 1976
We are currently updating our website and have not yet posted complete information for this title. Many of our books are in the Google preview program, which allows readers to view up to 20% of the book. If this title is active in the program, you will find the Google Preview button in the sidebar below.
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Gods and Vampires
Return to Chipaya
Nathan Wachtel
University of Chicago Press, 1994
When Nathan Wachtel, the distinguished historical anthropologist, returned to the village of Chipaya, the site of his extensive fieldwork in the Bolivian Andes, he learned a group of Uru Indians was being incarcerated and tortured for no apparent reason. Even more strangely, no one—not even his closest informant and friend—would speak about it.

Wachtel discovered that a series of recent deaths and misfortunes in Chipaya had been attributed to the evil powers of the Urus, a group usually regarded with suspicion by the other ethnic groups. Those incarcerated were believed to be the chief sorcerers and vampires whose paganistic practices had brought death to Chipaya by upsetting the social order. Wachtel's investigation, told in Gods and Vampires: Back to Chipaya, reveals much about relations between the Urus and the region's dominant ethnic groups and confronts some of the most trenchant issues in contemporary anthropology. His analysis shows that the Urus had become victims of the same set of ideals the Spanish had used, centuries before, to establish their hegemony in the region.

Presented as a personal detective story, Gods and Vampires is Wachtel's latest work in a series studying the ongoing impact of the Spanish conquest on the Andean consciousness and social system. Its insight into Bolivian society and the legacy of hegemony confronts some of the most trenchant issues in contemporary anthropologyand will be of great interest to scholars of anthropology, Latin American studies, and Native American studies.
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Gods, Demons, and Others
R. K. Narayan llustrated by R. K. Laxman
University of Chicago Press, 1993
Following in the footsteps of the storytellers of his native India, R. K. Narayan has produced his own versions of tales taken from the Ramayana and the Mahabarata. Carefully selecting those stories which include the strongest characters, and omitting the theological or social commentary that would have drawn out the telling, Narayan informs these fascinating myths with his urbane humor and graceful style.

"Mr. Narayan gives vitality and an original viewpoint to the most ancient of legends, lacing them with his own blend of satire, pertinent explanation and thoughtful commentary."—Santha Rama Rau, New York Times

"Narayan's narrative style is swift, firm, graceful, and lucid . . . thoroughly knowledgeable, skillful, entertaining. One could hardly hope for more."—Rosanne Klass, Times Literary Supplement

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Gods in Dwellings
Temples and Divine Presence in the Ancient Near East
Michael B. Hundley
SBL Press, 2013

In this book devoted exclusively to temples and perceptions of the divine presences that inhabit them, Michael B. Hundley focuses on the official religions of the ancient Near East and explores the interface between the human and the divine within temple environs.

Hundley identifies common ancient Near Eastern temple systems and examines issues that include what temple structures communicate, how temples were understood to function, temple ideology, the installation of divine presence in a temple, the connection between presence and physical representation, and human service to the deity.

Drawing on architectural and spatial theory, ritual theory, theories of language, art history, archaeology, sociocultural anthropology, and comparative studies, Hundley offers a single interpretive lens through which to view temple worship.

Features:

  • A close examination of temples in Egypt, Mesopotamia, Hittite Anatolia, and Syria-Palestine
  • An interdisciplinary treatment of architecture, language, ritual, and art
  • A dual focus on how a deity's divine presence connects to space and art and how human service to the deity maintains the deity's active presence
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Gods in the Bazaar
The Economies of Indian Calendar Art
Kajri Jain
Duke University Press, 2007
Gods in the Bazaar is a fascinating account of the printed images known in India as “calendar art” or “bazaar art,” the color-saturated, mass-produced pictures often used on calendars and in advertisements, featuring deities and other religious themes as well as nationalist leaders, alluring women, movie stars, chubby babies, and landscapes. Calendar art appears in all manner of contexts in India: in chic elite living rooms, middle-class kitchens, urban slums, village huts; hung on walls, stuck on scooters and computers, propped up on machines, affixed to dashboards, tucked into wallets and lockets. In this beautifully illustrated book, Kajri Jain examines the power that calendar art wields in Indian mass culture, arguing that its meanings derive as much from the production and circulation of the images as from their visual features.

Jain draws on interviews with artists, printers, publishers, and consumers as well as analyses of the prints themselves to trace the economies—of art, commerce, religion, and desire—within which calendar images and ideas about them are formulated. For Jain, an analysis of the bazaar, or vernacular commercial arena, is crucial to understanding not only the calendar art that circulates within the bazaar but also India’s postcolonial modernity and the ways that its mass culture has developed in close connection with a religiously inflected nationalism. The bazaar is characterized by the coexistence of seemingly incompatible elements: bourgeois-liberal and neoliberal modernism on the one hand, and vernacular discourses and practices on the other. Jain argues that from the colonial era to the present, capitalist expansion has depended on the maintenance of these multiple coexisting realms: the sacred, the commercial, and the artistic; the official and the vernacular.

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Gods in the Time of Democracy
Kajri Jain
Duke University Press, 2021
In 2018 India's prime minister, Narendra Modi, inaugurated the world's tallest statue: a 597-foot figure of nationalist leader Sardar Patel. Twice the height of the Statue of Liberty, it is but one of many massive statues built following India's economic reforms of the 1990s. In Gods in the Time of Democracy Kajri Jain examines how monumental icons emerged as a religious and political form in contemporary India, mobilizing the concept of emergence toward a radical treatment of art historical objects as dynamic assemblages. Drawing on a decade of fieldwork at giant statue sites in India and its diaspora and interviews with sculptors, patrons, and visitors, Jain masterfully describes how public icons materialize the intersections between new image technologies, neospiritual religious movements, Hindu nationalist politics, globalization, and Dalit-Bahujan verifications of equality and presence. Centering the ex-colony in rethinking key concepts of the image, Jain demonstrates how these new aesthetic forms entail a simultaneously religious and political retooling of the “infrastructures of the sensible.”
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The Gods of Revolution
Christopher Dawson
Catholic University of America Press, 2015
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Gods of the Blood
The Pagan Revival and White Separatism
Mattias Gardell
Duke University Press, 2003
Racist paganism is a thriving but understudied element of the American religious and cultural landscape. Gods of the Blood is the first in-depth survey of the people, ideologies, and practices that make up this fragmented yet increasingly radical and militant milieu. Over a five-year period during the 1990s Mattias Gardell observed and participated in pagan ceremonies and interviewed pagan activists across the United States. His unprecedented entree into this previously obscure realm is the basis for this firsthand account of the proliferating web of organizations and belief systems combining pre-Christian pagan mythologies with Aryan separatism. Gardell outlines the historical development of the different strands of racist paganism—including Wotanism, Odinism and Darkside Asatrú—and situates them on the spectrum of pagan belief ranging from Wicca and goddess worship to Satanism.

Gods of the Blood details the trends that have converged to fuel militant paganism in the United States: anti-government sentiments inflamed by such events as Ruby Ridge and Waco, the rise of the white power music industry (including whitenoise, dark ambient, and hatecore), the extraordinary reach of modern communications technologies, and feelings of economic and cultural marginalization in the face of globalization and increasing racial and ethnic diversity of the American population. Gardell elucidates how racist pagan beliefs are formed out of various combinations of conspiracy theories, anti-Semitism, warrior ideology, populism, beliefs in racial separatism, Klandom, skinhead culture, and tenets of national socialism. He shows how these convictions are further animated by an array of thought selectively derived from thinkers including Nietzche, historian Oswald Spengler, Carl Jung, and racist mystics. Scrupulously attentive to the complexities of racist paganism as it is lived and practiced, Gods of the Blood is a fascinating, disturbing, and important portrait of the virulent undercurrents of certain kinds of violence in America today.

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The Gods of the Greeks
Erika Simon, Translated by Jakob Zeyl, Edited by Alan Shapiro
University of Wisconsin Press, 2021
Originally published in Germany fifty years ago, The Gods of the Greeks has remained an enduring work. Influential scholar Erika Simon was one of the first to emphasize the importance of analyzing visual culture alongside literature to better understand how ancient Greeks perceived their gods. Giving due consideration to cult ritual and the phenomenon of genealogical relationships between mortals and immortals, this pioneering volume remains one of the few to approach the Greek gods from an archaeological perspective. From Zeus to Hermes, each of the major deities is considered in turn, with Simon’s insights on their nature and attributes guiding the reader to a fuller understanding of how their followers perceived and worshipped them in the ancient world.

This careful and fluid translation finally makes Simon’s landmark edition accessible to English-language readers. With an abundance of beautiful illustrations, the book examines portrayals of the thirteen major gods in art over the course of two millennia. Scholars who study the lives and practices of those living in ancient Greece will value this newest contribution.
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In the Province of the Gods
Kenny Fries
University of Wisconsin Press, 2021
Kenny Fries embarks on a journey of profound self-discovery as a disabled foreigner in Japan, a society historically hostile to difference. As he visits gardens, experiences Noh and butoh, and meets artists and scholars, he also discovers disabled gods, one-eyed samurai, blind chanting priests, and A-bomb survivors. When he is diagnosed as HIV positive, all his assumptions about Japan, the body, and mortality are shaken, and he must find a way to reenter life on new terms.
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James Whale
A New World Of Gods And Monsters
James Curtis
University of Minnesota Press, 2003

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Kingship and the Gods
A Study of Ancient Near Eastern Religion as the Integration of Society and Nature
Henri Frankfort
University of Chicago Press, 1948
This classic study clearly establishes a fundamental difference in viewpoint between the peoples of ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia. By examining the forms of kingship which evolved in the two countries, Frankfort discovered that beneath resemblances fostered by similar cultural growth and geographical location lay differences based partly upon the natural conditions under which each society developed. The river flood which annually renewed life in the Nile Valley gave Egyptians a cheerful confidence in the permanence of established things and faith in life after death. Their Mesopotamian contemporaries, however, viewed anxiously the harsh, hostile workings of nature.

Frank's superb work, first published in 1948 and now supplemented with a preface by Samuel Noah Kramer, demonstrates how the Egyptian and Mesopotamian attitudes toward nature related to their concept of kingship. In both countries the people regarded the king as their mediator with the gods, but in Mesopotamia the king was only the foremost citizen, while in Egypt the ruler was a divine descendant of the gods and the earthly representative of the God Horus.
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Legible Religion
Books, Gods, and Rituals in Roman Culture
Duncan MacRae
Harvard University Press, 2016

Scholars have long emphasized the importance of scripture in studying religion, tacitly separating a few privileged “religions of the Book” from faiths lacking sacred texts, including ancient Roman religion. Looking beyond this distinction, Duncan MacRae delves into Roman religious culture to grapple with a central question: what was the significance of books in a religion without scripture?

In the last two centuries BCE, Varro and other learned Roman authors wrote treatises on the nature of the Roman gods and the rituals devoted to them. Although these books were not sacred texts, they made Roman religion legible in ways analogous to scripture-based faiths such as Judaism and Christianity. Rather than reflect the astonishingly varied polytheistic practices of the regions under Roman sway, the contents of the books comprise Rome’s “civil theology”—not a description of an official state religion but one limited to the civic role of religion in Roman life. An extended comparison between Roman books and the Mishnah—an early Rabbinic compilation of Jewish practice and law—highlights the important role of nonscriptural texts in the demarcation of religious systems.

Tracing the subsequent influence of Roman religious texts from the late first century BCE to early fifth century CE, Legible Religion shows how two major developments—the establishment of the Roman imperial monarchy and the rise of the Christian Church—shaped the reception and interpretation of Roman civil theology.

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Mesopotamia
Writing, Reasoning, and the Gods
Jean Bottéro
University of Chicago Press, 1992
Our ancestors, the Mesopotamians, invented writing and with it a new way of looking at the world. In this collection of essays, the French scholar Jean Bottero attempts to go back to the moment which marks the very beginning of history.

To give the reader some sense of how Mesopotamian civilization has been mediated and interpreted in its transmission through time, Bottero begins with an account of Assyriology, the discipline devoted to the ancient culture. This transmission, compounded with countless discoveries, would not have been possible without the surprising decipherment of the cuneiform writing system. Bottero also focuses on divination in the ancient world, contending that certain modes of worship in Mesopotamia, in their application of causality and proof, prefigure the "scientific mind."
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The Neighborhood of Gods
The Sacred and the Visible at the Margins of Mumbai
William Elison
University of Chicago Press, 2018
There are many holy cities in India, but Mumbai is not usually considered one of them. More popular images of the city capture the world’s collective imagination—as a Bollywood fantasia or a slumland dystopia. Yet for many, if not most, people who live in the city, the neighborhood streets are indeed shared with local gods and guardian spirits. In The Neighborhood of Gods, William Elison examines the link between territory and divinity in India’s most self-consciously modern city. In this densely settled environment, space is scarce, and anxiety about housing is pervasive. Consecrating space—first with impromptu displays and then, eventually, with full-blown temples and official recognition—is one way of staking a claim. But how can a marginalized community make its gods visible, and therefore powerful, in the eyes of others?
 
The Neighborhood of Gods explores this question, bringing an ethnographic lens to a range of visual and spatial practices: from the shrine construction that encroaches on downtown streets, to the “tribal art” practices of an indigenous group facing displacement, to the work of image production at two Bollywood film studios. A pioneering ethnography, this book offers a creative intervention in debates on postcolonial citizenship, urban geography, and visuality in the religions of India.
 
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Of God and Gods
Egypt, Israel, and the Rise of Monotheism
Jan Assmann
University of Wisconsin Press, 2008

For thousands of years, our world has been shaped by biblical monotheism. But its hallmark—a distinction between one true God and many false gods—was once a new and radical idea. Of God and Gods explores the revolutionary newness of biblical theology against a background of the polytheism that was once so commonplace.
    Jan Assmann, one of the most distinguished scholars of ancient Egypt working today, traces the concept of a true religion back to its earliest beginnings in Egypt and describes how this new idea took shape in the context of the older polytheistic world that it rejected. He offers readers a deepened understanding of Egyptian polytheism and elaborates on his concept of the “Mosaic distinction,” which conceives an exclusive and emphatic Truth that sets religion apart from beliefs shunned as superstition, paganism, or heresy.
    Without a theory of polytheism, Assmann contends, any adequate understanding of monotheism is impossible.

Best Books for General Audiences, selected by the American Association of School Librarians, and Best Books for Special Interests, selected by the Public Library Association

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Of Gods & Strangers
Tina Chang
Four Way Books, 2011
A meditation on history and the imagination that bears witness to acts of genocide and to natural disasters in Ethiopia, Haiti, and Sri Lanka, Of Gods & Strangers interweaves lyrical, arresting accounts of our contemporary world with stories of “Empress Dowager” Tzu Hsi, last empress of China (1861-1908). An urgent reminder that poetry can offer us a social consciousness—“in my locked mouth an urge”—Of Gods & Strangers deftly traces the human dimensions of the “great modern machine,” looking to recover the present and its people through the past’s “faulty memory.”
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"Photos of the Gods"
The Printed Image and Political Struggle in India
Christopher Pinney
Reaktion Books, 2004
Mass-produced images have long been produced and used in India by religious and nationalist movements – the emergence of Indian-run chromolithograph presses in the late 1870s initiated a vast outpouring that have come to dominate many of India’s public and domestic spaces.

Drawing on years of archival research, interviews with artists and publishers, and the ethnographic study of their rural consumers, Christopher Pinney traces the intimate connections between the production and consumption of these images and the struggle against colonial rule. The detailed output of individual presses and artists is set against the intensification of the nationalist struggle, the constraints imposed by colonial state censorship, and fifty years of Indian independence. The reader is introduced to artists who trained within colonial art schools, others whose skills reflect their membership of traditional painting castes, and yet others who are self-taught former sign painters.

Photos of the Gods is the first comprehensive history of India’s popular visual culture. Combining anthropology, political and cultural history, and the study of aesthetic systems, and using many intriguing and unfamiliar images, the book shows that the current predicament of India cannot be understood without taking into account this complex, fascinating, and until now virtually unseen, visual history.
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Rearranging the Landscape of the Gods
The Politics of a Pilgrimage Site in Japan, 1573-1912
Sarah Thal
University of Chicago Press, 2005
When people create new societies, economies, and nations—both now and in the past—they create gods, rituals, and miracles to support them. Even what seem to be some of the most timeless and sacred sites in the world have been shaped, reshaped, and reinterpreted by countless people to produce oases of peace and nature today.

Using miracle tales, votive plaques, diaries, and newspapers, Sarah Thal traces such changes at one of the most popular Japanese pilgrimage sites of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries: the shrine of Konpira on the island of Shikoku. This rich and fascinating history explores how people from all walks of life gave shape to the gods, shrines, and rituals so often attributed to ancient, indigenous Japan. Thal shows how worshippers and priests, rulers and entrepreneurs, repeatedly rebuilt and reinterpreted Konpira to reflect their needs and aspirations in a changing world—and how, in doing so, they helped shape the structures of the modern state, economy, and society in turn.

Rearranging the Landscape of the Gods will be welcomed by all scholars of Japanese history and by students of religion interested in the construction of modernity.
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The Scent of the Gods
Fiona Cheong
University of Illinois Press, 2010
The Scent of the Gods tells the enchanting, haunting story of a young girl's coming of age in Singapore during the tumultuous years of its formation as a nation. Eleven-year-old Su Yen bears witness to the secretive lives of "grown-ups" in her diasporic Chinese family and to the veiled threats in Southeast Asia during the Cold War years. From a child's limited perspective, the novel depicts the emerging awareness of sexuality in both its beauty and its consequences, especially for women. In the context of postcolonial politics, Fiona Cheong skillfully parallels the uncertainties of adolescence with the growing paranoia of a population kept on alert to communist infiltration. In luminous prose, the novel raises timely questions about safety, protection, and democracy--and what one has to give up to achieve them.
 
Ideal for students and scholars of Asian American and transnational literature, postcolonial history, women's studies, and many other interconnected disciplines, this special edition of The Scent of the Gods includes a contextualizing introduction, a chronology of historical events covered in the novel, and explanatory notes.
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The Smoke of the Gods
A Social History of Tobacco
Eric Burns
Temple University Press, 2006
"Fox News Watch" host Eric Burns, who chronicled the social history of alcohol in The Spirits of America turns to tobacco in The Smoke of the Gods. Ranging from ancient times to the present day, The Smoke of the Gods is a lively history of tobacco, especially in the United States. Although tobacco use is controversial in the U.S. today, Burns reminds us that this was not always the case. For centuries tobacco was generally thought to have medicinal and even spiritual value. Most of the signers of the Declaration of Independence were tobacco users or growers, or both. According to Burns, tobacco changed the very course of U.S. history, because its discovery caused the British to support Jamestown, its struggling New World colony. An entertaining and informative look at a subject that makes daily news headlines, The Smoke of the Gods is a history that is, well, quite addictive.
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Socrates and the Gods
How to Read Plato's Euthyphro, Apology, and Crito
Nalin Ranasinghe
St. Augustine's Press, 2012

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St. Austin Review, Of Gods And Men
The Pagan Path to Christ, July/August 2015, Vol. 15, No. 4
Joseph Pearce
St. Augustine's Press, 2015

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Tempting All the Gods
Joseph P. Kennedy, Ambassador to Great Britain, 1938–1940
Jane Karoline Vieth
Michigan State University Press, 2021
Tempting All the Gods is a detailed study of Joseph P. Kennedy’s diplomatic career in London. It examines Kennedy’s role as ambassador to the Court of St. James’s from 1938–1940, a crucial time in world history. It describes his attitudes toward American foreign policy before the outbreak of war and after the war began, explains why he held those views, and assesses their impact on Anglo-American relations. It also looks at the diplomatic background against which he worked, at the political philosophies and personalities of the statesmen with whom he dealt, and at his relations with them, particularly President Franklin Roosevelt and British Prime Ministers Neville Chamberlain and Winston Churchill. Here the reader will find a meticulously researched account of Kennedy’s career based on the latest evidence available, providing a current and balanced historical reassessment. Scholars will be able to study Kennedy’s diplomatic career within the broader context of international relations and also to gain a fuller understanding of his view of his own motives and policies, including an understanding of why the ambassadorship was the greatest achievement—with the poorest outcome—in the varied life of an intensely ambitious man who was dedicated foremost to family, friends, and fortune. This book will prove significant to students of Anglo-American relations and of World War II, and to the general public, with its enduring fascination with the Kennedy family.
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Theatre Symposium, Vol. 20
Gods and Groundlings: Historical Theatrical Audiences
Edward Bert Wallace
University of Alabama Press, 2012
The audience is an integral part of performance and is in fact what separates a rehearsal from a performance. The relationship, however, between performers and the audience has evolved over time, which is one of the subjects addressed, along with the changing disposition of the audience itself and a number of other topics, in Gods and Groundlings, volume 20 of the annual journal Theatre Symposium. The essays in this volume discuss spectatorship in historical context, the role of the audience in the digital age, the early modern English
transvestite theatre, Annie Oakley and the disruption of Victorian audiences, and historical attempts to create ideal audiences. Edited by E. Bert Wallace, this latest publication from the largest regional theatre organization in the United States collects the most current scholarship on theatre history and theory.

Contributors To Volume 20
Susan Bennett / Jane Barnette / Becky Becker / Lisa Bernd / Evan
Bridenstine / Michael Jaros / Robert I. Lublin / Paulette Marty

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