Genealogies of Religion: Discipline and Reasons of Power in Christianity and Islam / Edition 1

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Overview

In Geneologies of Religion, Talal Asad explores how religion as a historical category emerged in the West and has come to be applied as a universal concept.

The idea that religion has undergone a radical change since the Christian Reformation—from totalitarian and socially repressive to private and relatively benign—is a familiar part of the story of secularization. It is often invokved to explain and justify the liberal politics and world view of modernity. And it leads to the view that "politicized religions" threaten both reason and liberty. Asad's essays explore and question all these assumptions. He argues that "religion" is a construction of European modernity, a construction that authorizes—for Westerners and non-Westerners alike—particular forms of "history making."

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Editorial Reviews

Religious Studies Review - Ralph M. Coury

This eloquent, lucid, and complex work is the product of remarkable intelligence and erudition; it is a profound contribution to the understanding of the cultural hegemony of the West.

Contemporary Sociology - James R. Wood

All articles are extremely well written, exhibit impressive scholarship, and are thoughtful and are thoughtful and stimulating. Asad's criticisms are neither judgmental nor self-righteous but are generally driven by the will to understand.

Religious Studies Review
This eloquent, lucid, and complex work is the product of remarkable intelligence and erudition; it is a profound contribution to the understanding of the cultural hegemony of the West.

— Ralph M. Coury

Contemporary Sociology
All articles are extremely well written, exhibit impressive scholarship, and are thoughtful and are thoughtful and stimulating. Asad's criticisms are neither judgmental nor self-righteous but are generally driven by the will to understand.

— James R. Wood

Booknews
In eight essays, all but one previously published, Asad (anthropology, New School for Social Research) argues that religion as a historical and political category was created in modern Europe, and challenges some deeply held assumptions about the evolution and character of Christianity and Islam. He also applies his ideas to the current wave of Islamic fundamentalism. Paper edition (unseen), $15.95. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801846328
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
  • Publication date: 9/19/1993
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 348
  • Sales rank: 1,053,626
  • Product dimensions: 9.00 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 0.78 (d)

Meet the Author

Talal Asad is a professor of anthropology at the Johns Hopkins University.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1
Genealogies
1 The Construction of Religion as an Anthropological Category 27
2 Toward a Genealogy of the Concept of Ritual 55
Archaisms
3 Pain and Truth in Medieval Christian Ritual 83
4 On Discipline and Humility in Medieval Christian Monasticism 125
Translations
5 The Concept of Cultural Translation in British Social Anthropology 171
6 The Limits of Religious Criticism in the Middle East: Notes on Islamic Public Argument 200
Polemics
7 Multiculturalism and British Identity in the Wake of the Rushdie Affair 239
8 Ethnography, Literature, and Politics: Some Readings and Uses of Salman Rushdie's Satanic Verses 269
References 307
Acknowledgments 325
Index 327
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