An entertaining and highly accessible look at how myths reveal what is common to all humanity.
The Implied Spider Updated with a New Prefaceby Wendy Doniger
Wendy Doniger's foundational study is both modern in its engagement with a diverse range of religions and refreshingly classic in its transhistorical, cross-cultural approach. By responsibly analyzing patterns and themes across context, Doniger reinvigorates the comparative reading of religion, tapping into a wealth of narrative traditions, from the instructive tales… See more details below
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Wendy Doniger's foundational study is both modern in its engagement with a diverse range of religions and refreshingly classic in its transhistorical, cross-cultural approach. By responsibly analyzing patterns and themes across context, Doniger reinvigorates the comparative reading of religion, tapping into a wealth of narrative traditions, from the instructive tales of Judaism and Christianity to the moral lessons of the Bhagavad Gita. She extracts political meaning from a variety of texts while respecting the original ideas of each. A new preface confronts the difficulty of contextualizing the comparison of religions as well as controversies over choosing subjects and positioning arguments, and the text itself is expanded and updated throughout.
A racy, enjoyable book.... Wendy Doniger brings to her study a wealth of story and folklore from many different traditions, exploring creatively the enduring role of myth through time and across cultures.
A timely meditation on what comparative studies might mean... a cross-cultural comparison of different stories from different areas of the world, different tribes, different languages.
A book that is particularly worthy of the attention of readers in religious studies beyond the history of religions. Since it is Wendy Doniger's most methodological book, The Implied Spider is important, not for its analysis of myths, but for the arguments that it makes in support of the comparative study of myths.
Sparkling with erudite and often entertaining intertextual references, The Implied Spider is an impressive web delicately constructed of deft analysis together with a sustained argument about the myth's ability to convey and conjure the theological and the political. With its challenges to literary theorists, historians, and ethnographers, it takes various bulls by their respective horns. It will doubtless delight and surely provoke readers, whatever their ilk.
- Columbia University Press
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