Explaining, Interpreting, and Theorizing Religion and Myth

Contributions in Honor of Robert A. Segal


In Explaining, Interpreting, and Theorizing Religion and Myth: Contributions in Honor of Robert A. Segal, nineteen renowned scholars offer a collection of essays addressing the persisting question of how to approach religion and myth as academic categories. Taking their cue from the work of Robert A. Segal, they discuss how to theorize about religion and myth from a variety of disciplinary perspectives. With cases from ancient Greece and Mesopotamia to East Asia and the modern world by and large, and engaging with diverse disciplines such as psychology, philosophy, anthropology, history, film, theology, and religious studies among others, the volume establishes a synthesis that demonstrates the pervasiveness as well as the pitfalls of the categories “religion” and “myth” in the world.

Contributors are: Douglas Allen, Fiona Bowie, Dexter E. Callender, Jr., Laura Feldt, José Manuel Losada, William Hansen, Raya A. Jones, Roderick Main, Jon Mills, Henry Munson, Angus Nicholls, Daniel L. Pals, Lukas Pokorny, Bryan S. Rennie, Ivan Strenski, Steven F. Walker, Eric Ziolkowski, Nickolas P. Roubekas, Thomas Ryba.

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Editors’ Acknowledgments
Notes on Contributors
Introduction: Toward a Segalian Religiology Thomas Ryba

Debating Religion

1 Reductionism in Retrospect: Assessing Robert Segal’s “In Defense of Reductionism” (1983) Almost Four Decades On Daniel L. Pals
2 Understanding Religion: Interpretation and Explanation Douglas Allen
3 Robert Segal: Philosopher of Religion, or: Ye’ll huvtae furgi’e oor Robert. He disnae ken his ane strength Bryan S. Rennie

History, Theory, and Religion

4 Presocratic Theories of Religion Nickolas P. Roubekas
5 An Episode in the History of the “Science of Religion”: C. P. Tiele’s Indecisive Scientific Practice Ivan Strenski
6 Many-Titled One; Elephant and Blind Men; Hand and Fingers: Classic Metaphors of Religious Pluralism Eric Ziolkowski

Reapproaching Religion

7 Re-visioning Religious Archetypes: Cognitive Schemas and Material Anchors in Biblical Criticism Dexter E. Callender, Jr.
8 The Permeable Boundary between Christian Anti-Judaism and Secular Antisemitism Henry L. Munson, Jr.
9 Experience and Ontology in the Study of Religion Fiona Bowie

Debating Myth

10 Theory of Myth versus Meta-Theory of Myth: on the Political Implications of a Late Twentieth-Century Distinction Angus Nicholls
11 Deconstructing Myth Jon Mills
12 Myth, Synchronicity, and the Physical World Roderick Main

Interrogating Myth

13 Mythic Aetiologies of Loss William Hansen
14 Fictioning Myths and Mythic Fictions: the Standard-Babylonian Gilgameš Epic and Questions of Heroism, Myth, and Fiction Laura Feldt
15 The Millenarian Myth Ethnocentrized: the Case of East Asian New Religious Movements Lukas Pokorny

Myth Revisited

16 Métaphysique noire: the Dybbuk Myth and the Book of Job as Mythological Subtexts in the Coen Brothers’ Film A Serious Man Steven F. Walker
17 Jung’s “Very Twentieth-Century” View of Mind: Implications for Theorizing about Myth Raya A. Jones
18 Cultural Mythcriticism and Today’s Challenges to Myth José Manuel Losada
Annex: Bibliography of Robert A. Segal, 1976–2019
All interested in method and theory in and academic approaches to the study of religion and myth, as well as religion, history, and the social sciences from antiquity to the present.
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