The Invention of Sacred Traditionby James R. Lewis
Pub. Date: 10/31/2007
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
The dictionary definition of tradition refers to beliefs and practices that have been transmitted from generation to generation, however, 'tradition' can rest simply on the claim that certain cultural elements are rooted in the past. Claim and documented historical reality need not overlap. In the domain of religion, historically verifiable traditions coexist with… See more details below
The dictionary definition of tradition refers to beliefs and practices that have been transmitted from generation to generation, however, 'tradition' can rest simply on the claim that certain cultural elements are rooted in the past. Claim and documented historical reality need not overlap. In the domain of religion, historically verifiable traditions coexist with recent innovations whose origins are spuriously projected back into time. This book examines the phenomenon of 'invented traditions' in religions ranging in time from Zoroastrianism to Scientology, and geographically from Tibet to North America and Europe. The various contributions, together with an introduction that surveys the field, use individual case studies to address questions such as the rationale for creating historical tradition for one's doctrines and rituals; the mechanisms by which hitherto unknown texts can enter an existing corpus; and issues of acceptance and scepticism in the reception of dubious texts.
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Table of ContentsIntroduction Olav Hammer and James R. Lewis; 1. Scientology, scripture and sacred tradition Mikael Rothstein; 2. 'He may be lying but what he says is true': the sacred tradition of Don Juan as reported by Carlos Castaneda, anthropologist, trickster, guru, allegorist Charlotte E. Hardman; 3. Invention of sacred tradition: Mormonism Douglas J. Davies; 4. Antisemitism, conspiracy culture, Christianity, and Islam; the history and contemporary religious significance of the 'Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion' Christopher Partridge and Ron Geaves; 5. The invention of a counter-tradition: the case of the North American anti-cult movement David G. Bromley and Douglas E. Cowan; 6. 'Heavenly deception'? Sun Myung Moon and 'Divine Principle' George D. Chryssides; 7. 'Forgery' in the New Testament Einar Thomassen; 8. Three phases of inventing Rosicrucian tradition in the seventeenth century Susanna Åkerman; 9. A name for all and no one: Zoroaster as a figure of authorization and a screen of ascription Michael Stausberg; 10. The peculiar sleep: receiving the URANTIA book Sarah Lewis; 11. Ontology of the past and its materialization in Tibetan treasures Holly Gayley; 12. Pseudo-Dionysius: the mediation of sacred traditions Kevin Corrigan and Michael Harrington; 13. Spurious attribution of the Hebrew Bible Philip R. Davies; 14. Inventing paganisms: making nature Graham Harvey.
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