Place and orientation are important aspects of human experience. Place evokes geography and culture and conjures up history and myth. Place is not only a particular physical location but an idea, a mental construction that captures and directs the human relationship to the world.
The distinguished contributors to this volume invite us to reflect on the significance of places, real and imagined, in the religious traditions they study and on how places are known, imagined, remembered, and struggled for. Whether looking at the ways myth and ritual reinforce the Yoruba’s bond to the land or at Australian Aboriginal engagements with the origins of the created world, exploring Hildegard of Bingen’s experience of heaven or myths of the underworld in contemporary American millennialism, listening to oral narratives of divine politics and deserted places of Rajasthan or investigating literal and literary images of the Promised Land, these essays underscore that place is constructed in the intersection of material conditions, political realities, narrative, and ritual performance.