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Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Other editions. Enlarge cover. Error rating book. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Preview — Imagining Religion by Jonathan Z. With this influential book of essays, Jonathan Z. Smith has pointed the academic study of religion in a new theoretical direction, one neither theological nor willfully ideological.
Making use of examples as apparently diverse and exotic as the Maori cults in nineteenth-century New Zealand and the events of Jonestown, Smith shows that religion must be construed as conventi With this influential book of essays, Jonathan Z. Making use of examples as apparently diverse and exotic as the Maori cults in nineteenth-century New Zealand and the events of Jonestown, Smith shows that religion must be construed as conventional, anthropological, historical, and as an exercise of imagination.
In his analyses, religion emerges as the product of historically and geographically situated human ingenuity, cognition, and curiosity—simply put, as the result of human labor, one of the decisive but wholly ordinary ways human beings create the worlds in which they live and make sense of them.
Smith scrutinizes the fundamental problems of taxonomy and comparison in religious studies, suggestively redescribes such basic categories as canon and ritual, and shows how frequently studied myths may more likely reflect situational incongruities than vaunted mimetic congruities. His final essay, on Jonestown, demonstrates the interpretive power of the historian of religion to render intelligible that in our own day which seems most bizarre.
Sarason, Religious Studies Review Get A Copy. Paperback , Reprint , pages. Published May 15th by University of Chicago Press first published More Details Original Title.
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Jul 28, Roger Green rated it really liked it. This eclectic collection of essays remains inspiring today. Smith's breadth of knowledge and ability to perform interdisciplinary analyses over widely varying moments in the history of religion is coupled with a sincere attempt to question what religious studies should be about. Aug 26, Stephen Bedard rated it really liked it. Jonathan Z. Smith is one of my favourite scholars in the area of Religious Studies.
This book is a series of essays on various aspects of religion, the first section related to Judaism and the rest more general reflections. It is quite good. Oct 10, Rob Vanhoff rated it it was amazing. Each chapter stands on its own as an independent essay tackling the problem of the category "religion" from different angles.
Crucial reading for those wanting to explore the contrast between primary sources and the "spin" created by the scholarly, academic endeavor. Dec 18, Yang rated it really liked it. Like he says in the early chapters in the book, that scholars of religions should not attempt toward unification, integration, and systemization, this book as a whole also remains a bit disconnected and unfocused.
Smith is highly self-conscious as a historian of religion of Judaism and reflects on what does the exercise of this profession implicates.
He begins with the problem of classification, and stresses again and again the structuralist insight of how things only obtain significance by Like he says in the early chapters in the book, that scholars of religions should not attempt toward unification, integration, and systemization, this book as a whole also remains a bit disconnected and unfocused.
He begins with the problem of classification, and stresses again and again the structuralist insight of how things only obtain significance by being placed in relation to a bunch of other things but in more concrete historical contexts.
The ritual chapter is especially written with clarity and could stand well in other contexts. Dec 18, Miller Sherling rated it it was amazing. Smith is wonderful at tweaking readers' perspectives. Great stuff. Apr 27, Dan Gorman rated it it was amazing Shelves: religion , world-history. In , I struggled with this book and gave it only 3 stars.
Five years later, I have gone to graduate school and read a lot more nonfiction, so I better appreciated it. Smith calls for the study of religion as a secular discipline, not a theological one.
No topic is off limits, in Smith's formulation. Ask the hard questions about religion. This might mean struggling between universal and particular, relative and absolute concepts, but the struggle is worth it. The chapter on Jonestown is fasci In , I struggled with this book and gave it only 3 stars.
The chapter on Jonestown is fascinating. Allison rated it it was amazing Jul 12, Jameson Rivera rated it it was amazing Dec 07, Gitai Ben-ammi rated it really liked it Jul 03, Chrissy Anderson rated it liked it Aug 14, Melanie rated it really liked it Oct 01, Nate rated it really liked it Jul 22, Jenn rated it it was amazing Feb 24, Joe Gurba rated it it was amazing Jul 05, Rachel rated it it was amazing Dec 16, Joe rated it it was ok Jun 20, Heather Meyer rated it really liked it Aug 15, Sisyphus rated it it was amazing Mar 06, Zachary rated it it was amazing Nov 02, Aug 15, Richard rated it it was amazing.
Decievingly obscure, but enlightening on second read- very dense material. Martino rated it it was amazing Apr 12, Allison rated it liked it Jul 23, Ian Caveny rated it it was amazing Mar 15, Tim rated it it was amazing Mar 15, Caleb rated it really liked it Dec 22, Lupe Ojeda rated it liked it Oct 05, Nathan rated it really liked it Jun 29, Sara rated it liked it Aug 29, Michael Laminack rated it really liked it Apr 01, Harold rated it really liked it Mar 29, There are no discussion topics on this book yet.
Readers also enjoyed. About Jonathan Z. Smith is the Robert O. Books by Jonathan Z. As dedicated readers already know, some of the best and most innovative stories on the shelves come from the constantly evolving realm of young ad Read more Trivia About Imagining Religio
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Imagining Religion: From Babylon to Jonestown