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Self and Self-Transformations in the History of Religions

Overview


This book brings together scholars of a variety of the world's major civilizations to focus on the universal theme of inner transformation. The idea of the "self" is a cultural formation like any other, and models and conceptions of the inner world of the person vary widely from one civilization to another. Nonetheless, all the world's great religions insist on the need to transform this inner world, however it is understood, in highly expressive and specific ways. Such transformations, often ritually enacted, ...
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Overview


This book brings together scholars of a variety of the world's major civilizations to focus on the universal theme of inner transformation. The idea of the "self" is a cultural formation like any other, and models and conceptions of the inner world of the person vary widely from one civilization to another. Nonetheless, all the world's great religions insist on the need to transform this inner world, however it is understood, in highly expressive and specific ways. Such transformations, often ritually enacted, reveal the primary intuitions, drives, and conflicts active within the culture. The individual essays--by such distinguished scholars as Wai-yee Li, Janet Gyatso, Wendy Doniger, Christiano Grottanelli, Charles Malamoud, Margalit Finkelberg, and Moshe Idel--study dramatic examples of these processes in a wide range of cultures, including China, India, Tibet, Greece and Rome, Late Antiquity, Islam, Judaism, and medieval and early-modern Christian Europe.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195144505
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 4/28/2002
  • Pages: 288
  • Lexile: 1460L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Table of Contents

Contributors
1 Introduction: Persons, Passages, and Shifting Cultural Space 3
2 A Body Made of Words and Poetic Meters 19
3 On Becoming a Fish: Paradoxes of Immortality and Enlightenment in Chinese Literature 29
4 Transformations of Subjectivity and Memory in the Mahabharata and the Ramayana 57
5 Madness and Divinization in Early Christian Monasticism 73
6 Possessed Transsexuals in Antiquity: A Double Transformation 91
7 Madness and Suffering in the Myths of Hercules 106
8 Healing as an Act of Transformation 121
9 Tirukkovaiydr: Downstream into God 131
10 Spirit Possession as Self-Transformative Experience in Late Medieval Catholic Europe 150
11 Religion and Biography in Sophocles' Oedipus at Colonus 173
12 The Ins and Outs of Self-Transformation: Personal and Social Sides of Visionary Practice in Tibetan Buddhism 183
13 The Self and Its Transformation in Sufism: With Special Reference to Early Literature 195
14 From Platonic to Hasidic Eros: Transformations of an Idle Man's Story 216
15 Postlude: The Interior Sociality of Self-transformation 236
Index 255
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