Experiences of Place / Edition 1

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Place and orientation are important aspects of human experience. Place evokes geography and culture and conjures up history and myth. Place is not only a particular physical location but an idea, a mental construction that captures and directs the human relationship to the world.

The distinguished contributors to this volume invite us to reflect on the significance of places, real and imagined, in the religious traditions they study and on how places are known, imagined, remembered, and struggled for. Whether looking at the ways myth and ritual reinforce the Yoruba's bond to the land or at Australian Aboriginal engagements with the origins of the created world, exploring Hildegard of Bingen's experience of heaven or myths of the underworld in contemporary American millennialism, listening to oral narratives of divine politics and deserted places of Rajasthan or investigating literal and literary images of the Promised Land, these essays underscore that place is constructed in the intersection of material conditions, political realities, narrative, and ritual performance.

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Editorial Reviews

Kim Knott
The meaning, activity and experience of place offer far more to the study of religions than has yet been realized. In their timely discussion of present, material locations, the fantasized places of heaven and the conspiratorial underworld, the sites of oral and textual traditions, and the places of dreaming and promise, this book's contributors indicate some of the varied directions we might take in exploring the physical, social and cultural dimensions of place and their intersection with the religious.
Philip P. Arnold
Experiences of Place is a multidisciplinary, cross–cultural exploration of a common human phenomenon. This book takes a bold and important step in filling, in MacDonald's words, ‘an underdeveloped concept of religious studies.’ This is an exciting book, full of possibilities, a most important work on the subject of place in the human imagination.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780945454380
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 3/1/2003
  • Series: Religions of the World Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 200
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Mary N. MacDonald is Professor of History of Religions, Le Moyne College.

Michael Barkun is Professor of Political Science in the Maxwell School at Syracuse University.

Mary Gerhart is Professor of Religious Studies at Hobart and William Smith Colleges.

Ann Grodzins Gold is Professor of Religion and Anthropology at Syracuse University.

Deborah Bird Rose is Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Resource and Environmental Studies, The Australian National University.

Nili Wazana is Lecturer at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

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Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction: Place and the Study of Religions
    Mary N. MacDonald
  • Owl Dune Tales: Divine Politics and Deserted Places in Rajasthan
    Ann Grodzins Gold
  • From Dan to Beer-sheba and from the Wilderness to the Sea: Literal and Literary Images of the Promised Land in the Bible
    Nili Wazana
  • A Sense of Place: The Meaning of Homeland in Sacred Yorùbá Cosmology
    Jacob K. Olúpònà
  • Who Is Hildegard? Where Is She – On Heaven?
    Mary Gerhart
  • Myths of the Underworld in Contemporary American Millennialism Michael Barkun
  • Dance of the Ephemeral: Australian Aboriginal Religion of Place Deborah Bird Rose
  • Notes on Contributors

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