The ambiguity concerning the interpretation of the ‘physical body’ in religious thought is not peculiar to any given religion, but is discernible in the scriptures, practices, and disciplines in most of the world’s major religious traditions. This book seeks to address the nuances of difference within and between religious traditions in the treatment and understanding of what constitutes the body as a carrier of religious meaning and/or vindication of doctrine.
Bringing together an international team of contributors from different disciplines, this collection addresses the intersection of religion, gender, corporeality and/or sexuality in various Western and Eastern cultures. The book analyses instances when religious meaning is attributed to the human body’s physicality and its mechanics in contrast to imagined or metaphorical bodies. In other cases, it is shown that the body may function either as a vehicle or a hindrance for mystical knowledge. The chapters are arranged chronologically and across religious orientations, to offer a differentiated view on the body from a global perspective.
This collection is an exciting exploration of religion and the human body. As such, it will be of great interest to scholars in religious studies, theology, Islamic studies, South Asian studies, history of religions and gender studies.
Introduction: From Reflections to Membranes: Transcripts on the Body in Religious Discourse
Georgios T. Halkias
1 Semper Aliquid Haeret! The Accusation of Fornication and of Sexualized Cults as a Means of Demarcation in the Hebrew Bible
2 Some Daoist Theories on Sexual Body Alteration
3 The Female Body In The Practice Of Minority Muslim Communities In Medieval Iberia
4 Strong Men and Sensual Women in Sinhala Buddhist Poetry
Stephen C. Berkwitz
5 The Dangers of the Body in Early Jewish Mysticism
6 Hoc est Corpus meum – Body Talk in ‘Orthodox’ Lutheran Protestantism in the Eighteenth Century
Knut Martin Stünkel
7 Fishing for Cod: The Image of the Penis in European Imperial Expansion
8 Body, Senses and Gender-related Questions as Gates to the Transcendent: A New Reading of the Masāʾil ʿAbdallāh ibn Salām
9 Ambivalent Models of Manliness in Medieval Islamic Hagiography
Linda G. Jones
10 Coming Together in the Air: Mysticism and the Queering of Jesus in the Toledot Yeshu
11 Embodying the Diamond Sow: Tantric Pilgrims in the Secret Lotus Land
12 Monasticism, the Body, and Sexual Desire in Mongolian Pastoral Culture
Vesna A. Wallace