The Invention of Sacred Tradition

Front Cover
James R. Lewis, Olav Hammer
Cambridge University Press, Nov 29, 2007 - Literary Criticism - 306 pages
2 Reviews
The dictionary definition of tradition refers to beliefs and practices that have been transmitted from generation to generation, however, 'tradition' can rest simply on the claim that certain cultural elements are rooted in the past. Claim and documented historical reality need not overlap. In the domain of religion, historically verifiable traditions coexist with recent innovations whose origins are spuriously projected back into time. This book examines the phenomenon of 'invented traditions' in religions ranging in time from Zoroastrianism to Scientology, and geographically from Tibet to North America and Europe. The various contributions, together with an introduction that surveys the field, use individual case studies to address questions such as the rationale for creating historical tradition for one's doctrines and rituals; the mechanisms by which hitherto unknown texts can enter an existing corpus; and issues of acceptance and scepticism in the reception of dubious texts.
 

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Contents

Scientology scripture and sacred tradition
18
the sacred tradition of don Juan as reported by Carlos Castaneda anthropologist trickster guru allegorist
38
Mormonism
56
the history and contemporary religious significance of the Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion
75
the case of the North American anticult movement
96
Heavenly deception? Sun Myung Moon and Divine Principle
118
Forgery in the New Testament
141
Three phases of inventing Rosicrucian tradition in the seventeenth century
158
Zoroaster as a figure of authorization and a screen of ascription
177
receiving The Urantia Book
199
Ontology of the past and its materialization in Tibetan treasures
213
the mediation of sacred traditions
241
Spurious attribution in the Hebrew Bible
258
making nature
277
Index
291
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