LiveZilla Live Chat Software
Register/Login Login Contact UsContacts BlogBlog
Cart Items : 0 | Cart Total : R0
Books > History > Ancient Civilizations > 030015416X
  1. Before Religion: A History of a Modern Concept
    Before Religion: A History of a Modern Concept
    Before Religion: A History of a Modern Concept
    Image(s) provided for illustrative purposes and may differ from the actual product
  2. Before Religion: A History of a Modern Concept

    Delivery: 10-20 Working Days
    Customer Ratings (9 reviews)
    Price R689.00

Additional Information

For much of the past two centuries, religion has been understood as a universal phenomenon, a part of the “natural” human experience that is essentially the same across cultures and throughout history. Individual religions may vary through time and geographically, but there is an element, religion, that is to be found in all cultures during all time periods. Taking apart this assumption, Brent Nongbri shows that the idea of religion as a sphere of life distinct from politics, economics, or science is a recent development in European history—a development that has been projected outward in space and backward in time with the result that religion now appears to be a natural and necessary part of our world.

Examining a wide array of ancient writings, Nongbri demonstrates that in antiquity, there was no conceptual arena that could be designated as “religious” as opposed to “secular.” Surveying representative episodes from a two-thousand-year period, while constantly attending to the concrete social, political, and colonial contexts that shaped relevant works of philosophers, legal theorists, missionaries, and others, Nongbri offers a concise and readable account of the emergence of the concept of religion.

Similar Products

The Invention of World Religions: Or, How European Universalism Was Preserved in the Language of PluralismDestroyer of the gods: Early Christian Distinctiveness in the Roman WorldCritical Terms for Religious StudiesThe Shipwrecked Mind: On Political ReactionDevoted to Death: Santa Muerte, the Skeleton SaintDid the Greeks Believe in Their Myths?: An Essay on the Constitutive ImaginationReligious Experience Reconsidered: A Building-Block Approach to the Study of Religion and Other Special ThingsWhat Is Islam?: The Importance of Being IslamicWhen God Talks Back: Understanding the American Evangelical Relationship with God

Brent Nongbri
Brand: Yale University Press
Used Book in Good Condition
Yale University Press
Yale University Press
Yale University Press
Yale University Press
Most Helpful Customer Reviews

This text documents the history of the concept we call "religion" today. It has been well known among historians that in the ancient and medieval worlds, there was no such thing that resembled "religion". There was no packaged concept of religion, nor was there a language available, in most cultures, to express such ideas the way we do. Though the term "religion" comes from the Latin term "religio", which was used in the ancient and medieval times, the book shows how diversely "religio" was used in those periods (for other ancient examples of diverse usages not found in the book see comment #1). Anyways, it was in the 16th and 17th century that the concept of "religion" as we know it, was invented and since then it has created numerous continuous problems such as the popular depiction of "religion" as a reified, abstract, monolithic, uniform, timeless, and universal "thing" that is found across time, cultures, and... Read more
This book is on the short list of those that shifted my world perspective fundamentally, then left me feeling like a fool for not reaching its conclusion on my own. I cannot recommend it highly enough to readers with any interest whatsoever in "religion," both the word itself and its many referents. Religion is contested vehemently these days: some insist that religion motivates or even causes the world's greatest evils, while others insist that people cannot get by in dignity without religion. If you hope to make sense of our world, and these disputes, without making a mess of your mind or fool of yourself, then pick up and read. Nongbri writes succinctly, persuasively, and engagingly. And the best part, if you like books that are doorways to other books, is that the endnotes, bibliography, and index comprise more than a third of the book.
Before Religion is an extremely important book with the potential of a Copernican revolution in how Westerners understand the workings of world societies and cultures. Nongbri demonstrates that the understanding of the phenomenon commonly known as religion, and its distinction from the secular, is a new one and unique to the West. The West currently understands religion to be an optional and private subset of human culture. That is not what the word meant up to the Protestant Reformation and the Enlightenment. Its most ancient meanings referred to duties and obligations not only to the gods but also to people. In light of Nongbri's work one sees that before the Enlightenment people's relationships with their ultimate concerns, their gods, their final goals were not separated from everyday lives but an integral part of them. This is still the case in all non-Western cultures insofar as they are not influenced by the West's understanding of religion. Westerners could access major... Read more
Please Note

The authorised South African distributor of this product is under no obligation to honour the manufacture's guarantees/warranties or to provide after-sales service.

Please note that this item is imported from the USA, and is designed to be used in the USA. In addition, if the unit is powered it will come with a US plug and an adapter/transformer may be required. Please click here for more information on power requirements, or check with us if you are unsure or need any assistance!

Please also note that certain items cannot be imported, these include Alcohol, Animals, Batteries, Flammable Materials, Currency, Food, Furs, Chemicals, Explosives, Medications, Plants, Seeds, Supplements, Pressurized Cans, Tactical Equipment, Vitamins, Weaponry and Weaponry Accessories. In these cases, the item and information is displayed for reference purposes only. If you are not sure if we are permitted to bring an item, please send us an e-mail with a link to the item to confirm.

Please also ensure that you are ordering the correct item for your particular application as returns to the USA are costly. Product reviews are also provided for most of our items, which can give you a good idea for possible things to look out for and the quality of the item. By clicking Add to Cart, you are confirming that the item is correct and you accept the conditions listed here.