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Religion and Material Culture: Studying Religion and Religious Elements on the Basis of Objects, Architecture, and Space
Proceedings of an international Conference held at the Centre for Bible and Cultural Memory (BiCuM), University of Copenhagen and the National Museum of Denmark, Copenhagen, May 6-8, 2011

L. Bredholt, J. Tae Jensen (eds.)
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378 p., 59 b/w ill., 2 b/w tables, 156 x 234 mm, 2017
ISBN: 978-2-503-56900-0
Languages: English
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Religion and material culture - the interaction between objects and mind

Whereas until recently the history of religions began with the Sumerians and the first texts, the material turn in the humanities has opened up the possibility for tracing the history of religions back to before the invention of writing.

The book gathers specialists from a variety of fields to explore the possibilities of the material perspective in the study of religion. Within a diachronic perspective, archaeologists, scholars of religion, theologians, and ancient historians focus on how the gradual invention of various forms of material culture - graves, images, objects - has made it possible for certain religious expressions to be constructed, arise, and enfold. Also, the volume investigates what types of material culture characterizes religion and what these “mean”.

The volume represents a joint, cross-disciplinary effort to investigate religion and its various aspects with a point of departure in material culture. This means rethinking basic assumptions about religion and how to study it. Integrating material culture approaches with textual approaches, the contributions discuss the foundations for a history of religion which is not limited to a textual perspective but which is both broader and wider, both reaching back in prehistory and out to other spheres.

Table of Contents

Lisbeth Bredholt Christensen and Jesper Tae Jensen


Lisbeth Bredholt Christensen and Jesper Tae Jensen



Lisbeth Bredholt Christensen

Between Mental and Material: Looking for the Origins of Religion in Archaeological Material

Morten Warmind

What is a God?

David A. Warburton

The Importance of the Origins of Abstraction and Discourse


Emmanuel Anati

Prehistoric Art and Religion

Marion Benz

Making the Invisible Visible: Steps Towards a Ritualized Corporate Identity

Bo Dahl Hermansen

Death, Feasting, and Memory Culture at Early Neolithic Shkārat Msaied, Southern Jordan

Flemming Kaul

The Shape of the Divine Powers in Nordic Bronze Age Mythology

Mads Kähler Holst

At the Scene of Cosmology Construction: The Religious Effects of Barrow Building in the Nordic Bronze Age

Klavs Randsborg

Kivig – Kivik: A Bronze Age Collage


Izaak J. de Hulster

Religion, Pictoriality and Materiality: A Hebrew Bible Perspective

Trine Bjørnung Hasselbalch

Matter and Meaning in the Dead Sea Scrolls: Reading The Genesis Apocryphon as a Palimpsest

Lars Östman

Language and Materiality: Stolpersteine in Light of Roman Archaic Religion

Interest Classification:
Social Sciences
Classics, Ancient History, Oriental Studies
Ancient history & archaeology: Europe

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