Convenient Myths: The Axial Age, Dark Green Religion, and the World that Never Was

Overview


The contemporary world has been shaped by two important and potent myths. Karl Jaspers' construct of the "axial age" envisions the common past (800-200 BC), the time when Western society was born and world religions spontaneously and independently appeared out of a seemingly shared value set. Conversely, the myth of the "dark green golden age" as narrated by David Suzuki and others asserts that the axial age, and the otherworldliness that accompanied the emergence of organized religion, ripped society from a ...
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Convenient Myths: The Axial Age, Dark Green Religion, and the World That Never Was

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Overview


The contemporary world has been shaped by two important and potent myths. Karl Jaspers' construct of the "axial age" envisions the common past (800-200 BC), the time when Western society was born and world religions spontaneously and independently appeared out of a seemingly shared value set. Conversely, the myth of the "dark green golden age" as narrated by David Suzuki and others asserts that the axial age, and the otherworldliness that accompanied the emergence of organized religion, ripped society from a previously deep communion with nature. Both myths contend that to maintain balance we must return to the idealized past. In Convenient Myths, Iain Provan illuminates the influence of these two deeply entrenched and questionable myths, warns of their potential dangers, and forebodingly maps the implications of a world founded on such myths.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Humankind has often been held captive by pictures and stories concerning its own remote past. By revealing the misunderstandings and misrepresentations of 'religion' perpetuated by two such modern stories, this important book both liberates us from unhealthy and potentially damaging assumptions and opens the way for a fresh evaluation of the phenomena of religious faith and practice as we encounter them. Groundbreaking."
-- Trevor Hart, Professor of Divinity, St. Mary's College, University of St. Andrews

"In Convenient Myths Iain Provan not only challenges deep (and deeply mistaken) myths, but destroys them on the rocks of rugged history."

--Scot McKnight, Professor of New Testament, Northern Seminary

"Iain Provan has a long track record of reliable insightful interpretation. Now he brings his acute critical eye to consider familiar mantras that have served for popular religious interpretation. As Provan knows (and shows), these mantras have done a lot of damage through distortion and generalizing misrepresentation. Provan makes clear that we cannot do our interpretive work by reliance upon such generalizations, but must go deeply into the particularity of religious traditions. His book is a summons to critical work that resists much of the facile interpretation now so widespread among us."
--Walter Brueggemann, Professor Emeritus, Columbia Theological Seminary

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781602589964
  • Publisher: Baylor University Press
  • Publication date: 10/1/2013
  • Pages: 171
  • Sales rank: 1,303,501
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author


Iain Provan is the Marshall Sheppard Professor of Biblical Studies, Regent College. He lives in the Vancouver, Canada area.
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Table of Contents


Preface

Acknowledgments

Introduction

1 The Turning Point of History

The Axial Age

2 Serious People, Bad Ideas

An Inquisition on the Axial Age

3 Procrustes and His Bed

Mutilating the Facts to Fit a Theory

4 Happy Hunting (and Gathering)

The Dark Green Golden Age

5 Hard Times in the Paleolithic

Constant Battles and Unequal Rights

6 Ecologically Noble Ancestors?

Why Spiritual People Don't Necessarily Look after Their Living Space

7 You Can't Always Get What You Want

Desire (and Need) and the Past

8 The Past Reloaded

A Brief History of Ancient Time

9 On Loving Your Dead Neighbor

Violence, Knowledge, and History

10 On Truth and Consequences

Why Myths about the Past Matter

Notes

Bibliography

Index

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