Unearthly Powers -

Unearthly Powers

Religious and Political Change in World History

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Why was religion so important for rulers in the pre-modern world? And how did the world come to be dominated by just a handful of religious traditions, especially Christianity, Islam, and Buddhism? Drawing on sociology and anthropology, as well as a huge range of historical literature from all regions and periods of world history, Alan Strathern sets out a new way of thinking about transformations in the fundamental nature of religion and its interaction with political authority. His analysis distinguishes between two quite different forms of religiosity - immanentism, which focused on worldly assistance, and transcendentalism, which centred on salvation from the human condition - and shows how their interaction shaped the course of history. Taking examples drawn from Ancient Rome to the Incas or nineteenth-century Tahiti, a host of phenomena, including sacred kingship, millenarianism, state-church struggles, reformations, iconoclasm, and, above all, conversion are revealed in a new light.

Product code: 9781108701952

ISBN 9781108701952
No. Of Pages 404
Dimensions (HxWxD in mm) H228xW153xS20
Publisher Cambridge University Press
Using examples from Rome to Tahiti, Strathern sets out a new way of thinking about religion and its changing relationship with political authority throughout history. Exploring phenomena including sacred kingship, conversion, and the rise of the world religions, this is a major intervention in our understanding of the pre-modern world.