The Implied Spider: Politics and Theology in Myth

The Implied Spider: Politics and Theology in Myth

by Wendy Doniger

Paperback(Updated with a new Preface)

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The Implied Spider: Politics and Theology in Myth by 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 while 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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780231156424
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Publication date: 12/15/2010
Series: American Lectures on the History of Religions Series
Edition description: Updated with a new Preface
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 923,117
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Wendy Doniger is Mircea Eliade Distinguished Service Professor of the History of Religions at the University of Chicago and a member of the Committee on Social Thought. Her books include Dreams, Illusions, and Other Realities; Other Peoples' Myths; The Cave of Echoes; and the English-language edition of Yves Bonnefoy's Mythologies. Her translations of such sacred texts as The Rig Veda are widely considered definitive.

Table of Contents

Preface to the Updated Edition: Context and History ix

Acknowledgments xvii

Introduction: Myth and Metaphor 1

Chapter 1 Microscopes and Telescopes 6

Myths as Textual Lenses 6

Scholarly Lenses on Myths 9

Myths as Theological Lenses in Job and the Bhagavata Purana 11

Myths as Political Lenses 20

Myths as Human Lenses 26

Chapter 2 Dark Cats, Barking Dogs, Chariots, and Knives 29

The Difference of Dark Cats 29

The Dog That Doesn't Bark 36

The Same Old Story 45

The Context 46

The Whole and the Parts: Chariots and Knives 52

Chapter 3 Implied Spiders and the Politics of Individualism 58

Universalist Problems 58

Cross-Cultural Solutions 65

The Implied Spider 67

The Postcolonial and Postmodern Critique of Comparison 71

The Art and Science of Mythology 84

Chapter 4 Micromyths, Macromyths, and Multivocality 87

The Myth with No Point of View 87

Many Voices 94

Micromyths and Macromyths 99

The Myth with Points of View 107

Inverted Political Versions 113

Inverted Political Readings of Contemporary Mythic Texts 118

Chapter 5 Mother Goose and the Voices of Women 122

Old Wives' Tales 122

Women's Points of View 129

Men's Voices in Women's Texts 136

Women's Voices in Men's Texts 138

Androgynous Language 142

Salvaging Women's Voices 146

Chapter 6 Textual Pluralism and Academic Pluralism 154

The Archetype 154

Diffusion and Survival 156

The Foul Rag and Bones Shop of the Heart 163

Jumping off the Bricolage Bus 166

The Greening of Claude Lévi-Strauss 170

Seventy Different Interpretations 171

The Multiversity 173

Walking the Tightrope 175

Notes 179

Bibliography 201

Index 219

What People are Saying About This

Wendy Doniger

Of all things made with words, myths span the widest of human concerns. -- From The Implied Spider

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