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The Implied Spider Paperback – November 5, 1999

3.7 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

The Mircea Eliade Distinguished Service Professor of the History of Religions at the University of Chicago, Doniger here offers an introduction to comparative mythology. By analyzing the political, theological, and psychological structures of the sacred stories of various cultures through time, from the Hebrew Bible to Star Trek, Doniger shows how myths create a shared interdisciplinary narrative of all human cultures. She also argues that sorting out the feminine voice in this male-dominated art supplements our fragmented understanding of myths. Ultimately, Doniger shows that myths are a means of transcending daily life. Ranging widely, she offers a detailed, scholarly account that may not be easy reading for genreral audiences, however intriguing her premise. Recommended for academic collections.ALeo Vincent Kriz, West Des Moines Lib., IA
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

A timely meditation on what comparative studies might mean.... The Implied Spider wrestles with the problems of carrying out the kind of study represented by Splitting the Difference―a cross-cultural comparison of different stories from different areas of the world, different tribes, different languages.

(Margaret Anne Doody London Review of Books)

This is a racy, enjoyable book.... Deriving from Plato an understanding of myth as both truth and lie, Wendy Doniger brings to her study a wealth of story and folklore from many different traditions, exploring creatively the enduring role of myth through time and across cultures.

(Alwyn Marriage Theological Book Review)

An entertaining and highly accessible look at how myths reveal what is common to all humanity.

(Parabola)

In these creative, often dazzling displays of erudition and insight, Wendy Doniger gives a ceaselessly engaged and always subject-filled view of myth. Another gem in the string of gems that mark Doniger's scholarly productivity.

(Bruce Lawrence, Duke University)

A book that is particularly worthy of the attention of readers in religious studies beyond the history of religions. Since it is Doniger's most methodological book, The Implied Spider is important, not for its analysis of myths, but for the arguments that it makes in support of the comparative study of myths.

(Religious Studies Review)
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Product Details

  • Series: Lectures on the History of Religions (Book 16)
  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press; New Ed edition (October 15, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0231111711
  • ISBN-13: 978-0231111713
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,332,883 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I love this book! It moves us past the out-dated notion of universality of myths (which always, always lost the detail of the specifics of people's narratives) and gives us a real way of approaching cross-cultural myths through a *bottom up* rather than a *top down* approach. Certainly in a time when people around the world are vocally resentful of an attempt to globalize culture, it is important to have an approach to cross-cultural myths that recognize their distinctions as well as their universalities. Doniger does a great job in balancing both.
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Format: Paperback
If you are hoping a book re-telling myths with the readability of Joseph Campell, well, this isn't the book for you. Doniger's work is about comparative theories of myth, so she doesn't delve into individual myths very deeply. Since Doniger is treating on rather new territory, she bases her paradigm upon the firmness of academic language.

For someone like me, who came across this book while writing a thesis on mythology and theology, it was a great fit. Doniger graduauted from the University of Chicago, where she studied under the theologian David Tracy, who was himself influenced by the philosopher Paul Ricouer. Doniger is not quite "postmodern," but she is very centered on the idea of "text," reader-response, and the consequences of myths. In order to avoid oppression and sexism, it is vital to step back and reconsider our cultural myths. We can accomplish this perspective by looking at how other myths operate in other cultures, and see if our myths operate in a similar manner in our own culture.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a brilliant book, even for non-academics. Its a fascinating read and analysis on how mythology works, and I especially loved Wendy Doniger's formulation of the telescope/microscope, a great way to look at the effectiveness of storytelling.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is not fiction, so most of the above questions do not apply. Wendy Doniger is one of best mythology experts on the planet. Her writing is never less that superb!!
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