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Religion and Its Monsters - Timothy K. Beal

Religion and Its Monsters

Paperback Published: 6th December 2001
ISBN: 9780415925884
Number Of Pages: 235

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Religion's great and powerful mystery fascinates us, but it also terrifies. So too the monsters that haunt the stories of Jewish and Christian scriptures and earlier traditions: Leviathan, Behemoth, dragons, and other beasts. In this unusual and provocative book, Timothy K. Beal writes about the monsters that lurk in our religious texts, and reveals how monsters and religion are irrevocably entwined. Most of us do not go to monster movies or read Gothic tales in search of religion, at least not consciously. Nor do we go to religious services in search of monsters. Yet, horror and faith, it seems, are inextricable. According to Beal, we can learn something about religion by getting to know its monsters, and we can learn something about monsters by investigating their religious roots. As Timothy Beal follows monsters throughout religious texts and traditions, he also discovers religion lurking in the modern horror genre, from classics likeFrankensteinandDraculato thecontemporary spookiness of H.P. Lovecraft's short stories and theHellraiserfilms. Drawing upon a broad range of ancient texts and popular culture, from rabbinic lore to Goth counterculture, he explores the fascinating and often disturbing ways in which monsters haunt religion and religion haunts the monstrous. Learned and witty,Religion and Its Monstersis a captivating look at how we imagine good and evil--and what lies beyond.

Industry Reviews

"Imaginatively written, entertaining, and well researched, this work of creative scholarship is a fascinating read.." -"CHOICE, R.L. Massanari, Alma College ..."well researched. Recommended for religion and popular culture collections.." -"Library Journal, December 2001 ..."this is a fine, readable and often intriguing book." -"The Plain Dealer "This brilliant, twisted, imaginative book explores religion's dark side, from the predictable monsters of sacred texts to more startling choices from popular culture....When Beal concludes the book by explaining that 'our monsters are ourselves, ' it comes not as a cultural indictment from a self-satisfied pundit but an astute observation by a witty and wise fellow traveler." -Publishers Weekly "This is scholarship in cultural analysis at its best: well-documented, thought-provoking, and funny. Its crisp writing almost fools you into thinking it's simple. But it does what it says: it raises profound questions that survive their answers. Critical of the devastating prejudices that underlie the religious imagination, it stops short of moralizing. A bravura piece of what binds the cultural disciplines together." - Mieke Bal, author of "Quoting Caravaggio: Contemporary Art, Preposterous History

Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Introductionp. 1
Genesis 1, Take Two
Religion and Its Monsters, Monsters and Their Religion
Paradox of the Monstrous
Demonizing and Deifying
Monstrum Tremendum, Mysterium Tremendum
Religion and Its Monsters
Chaos Godsp. 13
Fragments from the Ancient Near East
To Order and Back
Chaos Mother
The Cloudrider and the Warrior Goddess
No Rest
The Bible and Horrorp. 23
Biblical Monsters and Mad Professors
Water Play or Water Fight
Disorientation and Theological Horror
Monstrous Enemies
The Sleep of Wisdomp. 35
Job and the Abyss of Suffering
Absence of All Refuge
Desiring Chaos
Lyricism of Terror
From the Whirlwindp. 47
Rousing God Rousing Leviathan
Diapered Monster
Behold Behemoth
Drawing Out Leviathan
Wholly Other
Divine Abyss
Dinner and a Showp. 57
Watching and Eating Monsters in Rabbinic Tradition
Seafaring Tales of the Rabbis
Fresh, Frozen or Salt-cured
Is This Monster Kosher?
Jonah's Undersea Adventure
To the Devilp. 71
It's the Edge of the World as We Know It
Diabolical Dragon
The Monster-maker's Bible's Bible
From Beowulf to Dracula to Harry Potter
Monsters and Their Religion
New Monsters in Old Skinsp. 89
Modern Chaos Battles
Hobbes' Mortall God
But Why Leviathan?
Awe and Order
Other Godsp. 103
Orientalism and Its Monsters
The Witch's Monkeys
Rama's Monkeys
Horrid Chambers of Imagery
Diabolical Monsters
Sublime Monsters
Disoriental Monsters
The Blood Is the Lifep. 123
Ritual Purity and Danger in Dracula
The Count's Religion
Laws Pertaining to Blood
Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood
Rituals of Resacralization
One Wedding and a Funeral
Last Battle
Screening Monstersp. 141
Movie Time, Sacred Time
Monstrous Revelations (Nosferatu and Shadow of the Vampire)
Stage Rite (Dracula)
Exorcism (Metropolis)
Ecomonsterp. 159
I Am Become Death
Ecohorror on Screen
Demythologizing the Monster
Shooting the Monster
These Are Ourselves
Our Monsters, Ourselvesp. 173
Island of the Misfit Boys
Bela's Hideous Progeny
Cthulhu Mythos
Lovecraft's Hideous Progeny
From Scholars to the Campus Crusade for Cthulhu
Conclusionp. 193
Here Be Monsters
Notesp. 197
Indexp. 229
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780415925884
ISBN-10: 0415925886
Audience: Tertiary; University or College
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 235
Published: 6th December 2001
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 22.23 x 14.61  x 1.27
Weight (kg): 0.35
Edition Number: 1