Religion and the Body

Front Cover
Sarah Coakley
Cambridge University Press, Jul 15, 2000 - Religion - 312 pages
This book aims to highlight the distinctive and unfamiliar ways in which diverse religious traditions understand the 'body', and also, in doing this, to raise to greater consciousness some of the assumptions and problems of contemporary attitudes to it. It brings together essays by established experts in the history of religion, the social sciences, and philosophy. Part I is devoted to an analysis of current secularized discourses on the 'body', and to exposing both their anti-religious and their covertly religious content. Parts II and III provide essays on traditional 'Western' and 'Eastern' religious attitudes to the 'body'. Each contributor focuses on some (especially characteristic) devotional practices or relevant texts; each carefully outlines the total context in which a distinctive religious attitude to 'bodiliness' occurs. The result is a rich source for comparative studies of the 'body', and of its relation to society and to the divine.
 

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Contents

Introduction religion and the body
1
The body in Western society social theory and its perspectives
15
Remarks on the anthropology of the body
42
The souls successors ph1losophy and the body
53
The body in Jewish worship three rituals examined
71
My helper and my enemy the body in Greek Christianity
90
The body in Western Catholic Christianity
111
The image of the body in the formative phases of the Protestant Reformation
131
Medical and mythical constructions of the body in Hindu texts
167
The body in Theravada Buddhist monasticism
185
Some Mahay ana Buddhist perspectives on the body
205
The Taoist body and cosmic prayer
231
Perceptions of the body in Japanese religion
248
I take off the dress of the body Eros in Sufi literature and life
262
The body in Sikh tradition
289
Index
306

Zeroastrianism and the body
155

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