Religion And Its Monsters

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Religion's great and powerful mystery fascinates us, but it also terrifies. So too the monsters that haunt the stories of the Judeo-Christian mythos and earlier traditions: Leviathan, Behemoth, dragons, and other beasts. In this unusual and provocative book, Timothy K. Beal writes about the monsters that lurk in our religious texts, and about how monsters and religion are deeply entwined. Horror and faith are inextricable. Ans as monsters are part of religious texts and traditions, so religion lurks in the modern horror genre, from its birth in Dante's Inferno to the contemporary spookiness of H.P. Lovecraft and the Hellraiser films. Religion and Its Monsters is essential reading for students of religion and popular culture, as well as any readers with an interest in horror.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
This brilliant, twisted, imaginative book explores religion's dark side, from the predictable monsters of sacred texts (Leviathan, Behemoth, Tiamat and Rama's monkeys) to more startling choices from popular culture: one section applies religion's laws of ritual purity and danger to the novel Dracula, for example. Beal sees religion everywhere; Frankenstein, he asserts, is "a profoundly theological horror" about creator-figures playing God, while contemporary teen Goths inhabit "a counterculture infused with a mix of monstrosity and pre-modern Christian religious iconography and architecture." When Beal concludes the book by explaining that "our monsters are ourselves," it comes not as a cultural indictment from a self-satisfied pundit but an astute observation by a witty and wise fellow traveler. (Nov. 15)n Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
According to Beal (biblical literature, Case Western Reserve Univ.; The Book of Hiding), "monsters bring on a limit experience that is akin in many respects to religious experience, an experience of being on the edge of certainty." Here he dissects the interface of popular culture and religion, which meet in the personification of evil, that is, monsters. Characters like Tiamat, Leviathan, Dracula, and Oz's Winged Monkeys, as well as horror writers like Lovejoy, Stephen King, and Bram Stoker all fit into Beal's two-pronged approach: religion as horror and horror as religion. He finds that the combination of the Gothic and the theological reveals deep insecurities in our faith in ourselves "the unplumbed abyss of unknowing" inside us. Thus, he argues, these frightening specters of chaos and disorientation within order and security are psychic markers of our endangered sense of self and stability. An informal, chatty style makes this more accessible than academic, although it is well researched. Recommended for religion and popular culture collections. Sandra Collins, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary Lib. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780415925884
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 12/6/2001
  • Pages: 248
  • Sales rank: 913,155
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.52 (d)

Meet the Author

Timothy K. Beal holds the Harkness Chair of Biblical Literature at Case Western Reserve University. He is author of The Book of Hiding and co-editor of Reading Bibles, Writing Bodies, both published by Routledge.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1
Pt. 1 Religion and Its Monsters
1 Chaos Gods 13
2 The Bible and Horror 23
3 The Sleep of Wisdom 35
4 From the Whirlwind 47
5 Dinner and a Show 57
6 To the Devil 71
Pt. 2 Monsters and Their Religion
7 New Monsters in Old Skins 89
8 Other Gods 103
9 The Blood Is the Life 123
10 Screening Monsters 141
11 Ecomonster 159
12 Our Monsters, Ourselves 173
Conclusion 193
Notes 197
Index 229
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Customer Reviews

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