Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Religious Studies, Politics, Theology

In discussing the myth-ritual system of medieval Christianity in his book Myth and the Christian Nation, (2008) Burton Mack notes the following:
It was interested only in the church taking its place as the dominant religion in Christian empires and kingdoms. And so, left out of the picture and its applications is the entire range of current human interests in the natural world, the natural sciences, the human sciences, the social sciences, and the issues of social well-being taken up by social philosophers, cultural historians, economists, politicians, and other intellectuals. (246)
Part of Mack’s goal in this book is to bring together a social theory of religion in conversation with the history of the study of religions. (7) He argues that by focusing on how people in various times and places have drawn upon myths and rituals to justify things like public policies or to overturn those policies in light of changing social situations, historians can help us to better understand the ways in which our own situation, which for Mack means the contemporary United States, can still be guided by medieval forms of thinking.
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