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Toying with God: The World of Religious Games and Dolls Paperback – January 15, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
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Toying With God is filled with academic research but written in a down-to-earth humorous style, meant to engage all readers--religious or not--at the contemporary intersection of spiritual and popular cultures. --Erica Noonan, The Boston Globe (December 24, 2009)
For Bado-Fralick and Sachs Norris... religious games and dolls are charged with "the magic of childhood combined with the mystery of religion." The authors brilliantly use their subject to reveal a complex interplay between worship and the workings of popular culture.... In this readable and fresh look at religious culture, the authors are critical and respectful. --Publisher's Weekly (1/11/10)
Noting how Religion has become a commodity in Western society, Norris and Bado-Fralick here analyze the world of religious games and toys and the efforts by religions to market their own values within a competitive consumer culture. There is really nothing like this very thoroughly researched work. --John Lyden, Professor of Religion, Dana College, and author of Film as Religion: Myths, Morals, and Rituals
Top Customer Reviews
One theme provides a recurring touchstone throughout the text: Both religion and play entail embodied expressions of perceptions or realities that stand outside rational categorization (183-84); as a result, the human experiences of play and of the sacred overlap with one another. The border between ritual and play is "permeable, porous, and mutually interpenetrating" (167). By mingling the corporeal realm with that which cannot be confined to words or matter, both religion and play serve to break down "dualistic ways of perceiving the world" (184).Read more ›
As the authors indicate, the history of religiously themed games and dolls goes back almost to the origins of religion itself. Games were carved into the walls and roofs of Egyptian temples as far back as the fourteenth century BCE and ancient game boards have been found in both Jordon and Egypt dating back to 3500-4000 BCE. Moreover, ancient divinatory practices going back to at least 3000 BCE, that were designed to determine whom the gods favored, are directly related to today's dice games in which Lady Luck instead of the deity is called upon for assistance.
Today's 7 billion dollar plus market for religious toys and games presents the consumer with products ranging from board games representing all of the major religions, to a variety of religious dolls. Christianity is well represented by such games as City of Bondage and Journeys of Paul, Judaism by Kosherland and Islam by Mecca to Medina and Race to the Kabah.Read more ›