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Gods and Demons, Priests and Scholars: Critical Explorations in the History of Religions Paperback – April 17, 2012

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Editorial Reviews


“Bruce Lincoln is a rara avis. His combination of precise technical analysis of ancient religious texts, allied to a grand, comparative vision of religion in society, past and present, informs a reflection, at once anxious and radical, anchored in the predicament of our own times. This combination produces a humanistic approach, devoid of grandiloquence, and this strikingly original book will be of great importance to all students of ancient religions and to historians of religion in general.”

(Guy Stroumsa, University of Oxford)

“Bruce Lincoln has a gift for selecting persuasive examples, engaging them with creativity, and linking them to broader themes and scholarly debates. His cogent and provocative arguments in this book range across the scope of religious history, from the ancient world to twentieth-century Latin America, and engage with a number of significant topics, including religious violence, nationalism, definitions of religion, and religious innovation. Eminently teachable, Gods and Demons, Priests and Scholars is a book that invites critical analysis and reflection and will be a valuable addition to discussions about theory and method in the study of the history of religions.”

(Randall Styers, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill)

“A consistently critical and thoughtful assessment of the history of religions.”
(Catholic Sentinel)

“Resulting from his masterly language skills, the main area of interest in Gods and Demons, Priests and Scholars is unsurprisingly what Lincoln since many years avoids to label Indo-European religion. These chapters on ancient religions profoundly deepen our understanding of the mythologies and symbolic worlds of Persia, Vedic India, the Old Norse and the ancient world in general.”
(Method and Theory in the Study of Religions)

“Patrols with insightful expertise the ancient/medieval worlds of Old Norse gods and heroes, Zoroastrian cosmology and demonology, Hesiod’s Theogony, and indeed Vedic culture . . . not to mention politicised socioreligious conflicts in 20th-century Guatemala. . . . Lincoln writes in crisp, balanced and nuanced prose, which is a joy to read. . . . [This] is a book whose careful perusal teaches us how to read texts and, indeed, what proper research is all about.”

“Bruce Lincoln, like his teachers, has become one of the ‘giants’ in the discipline of religious studies, and the essays collected in Gods and Demons, Priests and Scholars are a fine example of the methodological approach known in the field as the ‘history of religions,’ practiced by perhaps its most spirited and able exponent. This would be an excellent addition to any upper-level undergraduate or graduate syllabus considering current approaches to the academic study of religion.”
(Reviews in Religion and Theology)

“This new collection of essays from Lincoln is a model for history of religions theorizing in the early twenty-first century. . . . These twelve diverse essays are united by Lincoln’s penetrating and radical analysis.”
(Religious Studies Review)

About the Author

Bruce Lincoln is the Caroline E. Haskell Professor of the History of Religions, Middle Eastern Studies, and Medieval Studies at the University of Chicago, where he is also an associate in the Departments of Anthropology and Classics. He is the author of nine books, most recently of Religion, Empire, and Torture: The Case of Achaemenian Persia, also published by the University of Chicago Press.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: University Of Chicago Press (April 17, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226481875
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226481876
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #800,777 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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