2nd Edition

Religion and Its Monsters

By Timothy Beal Copyright 2023
    220 Pages 29 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    220 Pages 29 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Religious encounters with mystery can be fascinating, but also terrifying. So too when it comes to encounters with the monsters that haunt Jewish and Christian traditions. Religion has a lot to do with horror, and horror has a lot to do with religion. Religion has its monsters, and monsters have their religion. In this unusual and provocative book, Timothy Beal explores how religion, horror, and the monstrous are deeply intertwined. 

    This new edition has been thoughtfully updated, reflecting on developments in the field over the past two decades and highlighting its contributions to emerging conversations. It also features a new chapter, "Gods, Monsters, and Machines," which engages cultural fascinations and anxieties about technologies of artificial intelligence and machine learning as they relate to religion and the monstrous at the dawn of the Anthropocene.

    Religion and Its Monsters is essential reading for students and scholars of religion and popular culture, as well as for any readers with an interest in horror theory or monster theory.

    Introduction to the Second Edition

    Introduction to the First Edition: Religion and Its Monsters, Monsters and Their Religion

    Part One: Religion and Its Monsters

    1. Chaos Gods: Cosmic Horrors from the Ancient Near East

    2. The Bible and Horror: Making and Unmaking the World

    3. The Sleep of Wisdom: Job and the Abyss of Suffering

    4. From the Whirlwind: Where God Outmonsters Job

    5. Dinner and a Show: Watching and Eating Monsters with the Rabbis

    6. To the Devil: John’s Great Red Dragon

    Part Two: Monsters and Their Religion

    7. New Monsters in Old Skins: Modern Awe and Order

    8. Other Gods: Colonialism and Its Monsters

    9. The Blood Is the Life: Ritual Purity and Danger in Dracula

    10. Screening Monsters: Movie Time, Sacred Time

    11. Ecomonsters: The Return of the Ecologically Repressed

    12. Our Monsters, Ourselves: Sacred Horror Culture

    13. Gods, Monsters, and Machines: Artificial Intelligence in the Anthropocene

    Conclusion: Here Be Monsters.




    Timothy Beal is Distinguished University Professor, Florence Harkness Professor of Religion, and Director of h.lab at Case Western Reserve University. He has published essays on religion and culture for the New York Times, Chronicle of Higher Education, Wall Street Journal, CNN.com, and Washington Post and is the author of several books, including The Rise and Fall of the Bible and When Time Is Short: Finding Our Way in the Anthropocene.