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.
The meaning, activity and experience of place offer far more to the study of religions than has yet been realized. In their timely discussion of present, material locations, the fantasized places of heaven and the conspiratorial underworld, the sites of oral and textual traditions, and the places of dreaming and promise, this book's contributors indicate some of the varied directions we might take in exploring the physical, social and cultural dimensions of place and their intersection with the religious.
Experiences of Place is a multidisciplinary, cross–cultural exploration of a common human phenomenon. This book takes a bold and important step in filling, in MacDonald's words, ‘an underdeveloped concept of religious studies.’ This is an exciting book, full of possibilities, a most important work on the subject of place in the human imagination.
- 200 pages
- Center for the Study of World Religions
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