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Religion, Empire, and Torture: The Case of Achaemenian Persia, with a Postscript on Abu Ghraib Hardcover – July 1, 2007


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Religion, Empire, and Torture: The Case of Achaemenian Persia, with a Postscript on Abu Ghraib + The Persian Empire: A Corpus of Sources from the Achaemenid Period + Ancient Persia
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: University Of Chicago Press (July 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226481964
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226481968
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,362,557 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“Bruce Lincoln gives us not only what is specific to the Achaemenids, imperfectly grasped by their contemporaries and rarely recognized by moderns, but also what is common to many empires, including the hopeful illusions of benign purpose and the pitfalls of success in the historical world. Within this work of literary and historical analysis, made possible by erudite mastery of many streams of knowledge from the past, Lincoln sets a moral lesson made necessary by knowledge of the present.”

(Matthew Stolper, The Oriental Institute, University of Chicago)

"An absorbing interpretation of the Achaemenid ideology. The system of Persian beliefs and concepts, as presented by the author, constructs an incredibly coherent and clear vision. The book constitutes a revealing guide to understanding religious aspects of royal Achaemenid inscriptions. Thus it explores in a very erudite and thorough way an area rarely investigated . . . the relation between empire and religion.  . . . His book is not only a source of reliable knowledge and understanding of ancient culture, but also a stimulus for reflection."
(Tytus K. Mikolajczak Bryn Mawr Classical Review)

"Lincoln has written a compelling and readable account of Achaemenid imperial ideology and a book that can be profitably read by historians, classicists, and Iranists alike."
(Prods Oktor Skjærvø American Historical Review)

"Lincoln has done a masterful job of reconstructing the religious and political ideology of the Achaemenian empire, bringing to the task his own sharp sense of the power of religious ideas to motivate and justify historical agents. . . . A solid contribution to our understanding of the tightly interwoven religious beliefs and political values of the first Persian empire."
(Steven W. Hirsch International History Review)

About the Author

Bruce Lincoln is the Caroline E. Haskell Professor of Divinity at the University of Chicago, where he is an associate at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies and sits on the Committees on the History of Culture and the Ancient Mediterranean World. He is the author of nine books, including Theorizing Myth: Narrative, Ideology, and Scholarship and Holy Terrors: Thinking about Religion after September 11, both published by the University of Chicago Press.

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Customer Reviews

2.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

By hadi Qurraie on November 1, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Excellent work shedding light into the dark corners of history and less commonly studied issues.
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Dorna on April 6, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This book shows how kings, here Achaemenid kings, saw themselves divine and based on it manipulated their own people and others. In Pahlavi era , for construction of the Iranians identity, the ancient kings were introduced just, powerful and perfect. But it was a project for provoking the people to make their present based on a glorious past and venerate the Pahlavi monarchy. But this past was selected and the negative part of it was eliminated for special reasons. Through this book we can better understand the past and the system of monarchy in Iran.
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2 of 6 people found the following review helpful By H. Shafeian on April 6, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This ridiculous books by University of Chicago presents Achaemenids as savage imperialists who like US and her AbuGhoraib used sophisticated techniques to torture people for they thought they are "chosen people"!!!!
Unbelievable.

He doesnt know about current research on the topic and sadly the irony is that his own university is the place that holds Achaemenid Persepolis Tablets that helped alot to revise our storytypes on the Achaemenids. Its not all of that, he was supported by Stopler's student

[...]

Interestingly Touraj Daryaee uses this book as course material!!

click on Reading& Schedule!!!
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2 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Khosrow A. on April 6, 2012
Format: Hardcover
The main thesis of Lincoln is that there was a decadence in the Persian empire after Xerexes which is the outdated idea and now is generally rejected by the researchers in the field. There are some wrong information on the Lincoln account of the empire for example the Bhistun carving and the binary cosmology of thought he wants to depict for the King of the Kings which is again not true and anyone can see that some rebels are even closer than Darius to the Ahuramazda/Farvahar. He is preoccupied with these binary view and therefore draw similarities between two wars one in modern time and the other in ancient time.
The other problem is that he sometimes takes Cyrus the Great as Persian and sometimes introduces him as non-Persian.
There are much to be learned from Achaemenids even to this day.
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