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Bruce Lincoln is Caroline E. Haskell Distinguished Service Professor of the History of Religions in the Divinity School and in the Center for Middle Eastern Studies and Committee on Medieval Studies, and is Associate Faculty in the Departments of Anthropology and Classics at the University of mostra'n més Chicago. His most recent publications include Gods and Demons, Priests and Scholars: Critical Explorations in the History of Religions (2012), "Happiness for Mankind". Achaemenian Religion and the Imperial Project (2012), and Comparer en histoire des religions antiques, coedited with Claude Calame (2012). mostra'n menys
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Interesting study of the religious similarities between Nilotic cattle tribes and the Indo-Iranians, with an emphasis on the development of separate religious cycles for priests and warriors. Lincoln does a convincing job of laying out the similarities between the two groups, though he does sometimes stretch somewhat to fit evidence into his thesis (particularly when dealing with the more distant Indo-European groups, like the Romans or Celts). I buy that many of the structural similarities he notes can be traced back to the importance of cattle, sacrifice, and raising in both cultural groups, although it always feels as though Lincoln stops just short of the most interesting claims. More than anything he explicitly mentions, I came out of this book with a deep appreciation for the difficulty of transition from a nomadic hunter-gatherer lifestyle to a pastoralist one, and from there to settled agriculture. Many of the most interesting features that Lincoln notes seem (to me) to be necessities involved in maintaining group cohesion after growth beyond the tribe, by splitting the upper classes into separate bands of specialists necessary for practical and political reasons. Also, despite the power of Lincoln's claim that ecology shapes religion, I was left almost more impressed by how much historical contingency caused huge differences in the cultures of groups with similar lifestyles, particularly in the case of the Nuer and Dinka. Of course, at the time when Lincoln was writing, the pendulum was probably on the opposite side of its swing to environmental determinism than it is today, so an emphasis on that aspect is understandable.… (més)
Roeghmann | Dec 8, 2019 |
Lincoln has devoted much time to discussing Religion and Conflict. This book is an exploration and explanation of the religious rhetoric which drives much conflict in society. It is an interesting book but one wonders if his paradigms are too reductionistic (but this is usually expected when someone tries to explain an amorpheus subject such as religion). His discussion on the dilemma created by the nation-state is one worth reading and considering.
ronjawdi | Hi ha 1 ressenya més | Oct 7, 2012 |
Lincoln's Holy Terrors is an excellent piece of theorizing about the nature and potentials of religion in the 21st century. It was written in 2003 (although it incorporates texts composed earlier), and takes the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon as a point of departure.

In the first of six chapters, Lincoln succeeds in providing a longish but successfully comprehensive definition of religion that does not presuppose or depend on concepts of God, spirits, souls, the supernatural, belief, or faith. The definition covers "four domains--discourse, practice, community, and institution," (7) which he later admits are derived from the topics addressed by Kant's treatises which "brought the campaign launched by the Enlightenment to a compromise conclusion." (58) He also proposes a spectrum from maximalist to minimalist religious influence in social conduct, using these as rough synonyms for fundamentalist and liberal religion respectively.

The second and third chapters of Holy Terrors maintain the focus on September 11 and public responses to it. In both cases, Lincoln undertakes some careful rhetorical analysis: first to compare the statements of US President G.W. Bush and Osama bin Laden (viewing them as representing societies predicated on minimalist and maximalist religious positions, although complicated by circumstance), and second to anatomize the efforts of American televangelists to use public reaction to the events as fuel for their own religious enterprises. These discussions are buttressed with primary documents appended to the main text.

The fourth chapter is rather brief and quite theoretical, although littered with examples and anecdotes, in an effort to examine the consequences of the different interactions of religion and culture under pre-Enlightenment maximalist conditions and post-Enlightenment minimalist ones. Chapter five goes on to chart a variety of possible processes by which these tensions can be activated and play out in a postcolonial environment.

The final chapter posits the inadequacy of previous social theories of religion, in that they uniformly take religion to be a conservative force favoring the status quo. History provides plenty of counterexamples which Lincoln does not hesitate to list, and he advances three categories beyond "status quo religion" to complete the picture: religions of resistance, religions of revolution, and religions of counter-revolution.

The whole book is only about a hundred pages, and it is well worth serious reflection by those who consider themselves proponents or critics of religion, as well as those concerned with the parameters of political and social change in our time when religious ambitions and conflicts seem to be so inflamed.
… (més)
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paradoxosalpha | Hi ha 1 ressenya més | Sep 11, 2010 |



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