Jul 19 2015

New(ish) publication: The Scientification of Religion: An Historical Study of Discursive Change, 1800-2000, by Kocku von Stuckrad


In The Scientification of Religion: An Historical Study of Discursive Change, 1800-2000 (De Gruyter, 2014), Kocku von Stuckrad describes “the discursive constructions of  ’religion’ and ‘science’ through the disciplines of astrology, astronomy, psychology, alchemy, chemistry, and scientific experimentation more generally. The second half of the book explores the power of academic legitimization of knowledge in emerging European modernities.” (Source: Review by Kristian Petersen, accessible here.)

The table of contents for this volume may be found here.

An interview with von Stuckrad on a wide range of topics, including Theosophy, marginalized knowledge, Earth-based spirituality, Jewish mysticism, Paganism, and contemporary science, is also available at the above link at the bottom of the page. This is one of the best interviews I’ve listened to in a while.

I have yet to read this volume, but look forward to doing so. I also welcome scholarly guest reviewers in the broadly overlapping areas of astronomy and religion. If you have read this book (or plan to) or other volumes spanning astronomy (and/or space) and religion, and wish to post a review here, please e-mail me at a_lobel@live.concordia.ca.


Oct 31 2014

Book review: Ancient Jewish Sciences and the History of Knowledge in Second Temple Literature


As promised, my review of the 2013 publication Ancient Jewish Sciences and the History of Knowledge in Second Temple Literature, edited by Jonathan Ben-Dov and Seth L. Sanders. New York: NYU Press.

Sep 15 2013

Recent Book: Living the Lunar Calendar


Recent Publication:

Living the Lunar Calendar
Edited by Jonathan Ben-Dov, Wayne Horowitz, and John M Steele

This 2012 publication is a rich collection of papers by the editors, as well as Lawrence Schiffman, Sacha Stern, Robert Hannah, and others on the topic of lunar calandars in cultures including the ancient Near East, Christianity, Judaism, China, Japan, ancient Greece, America, and Russia. These papers engage topics including the variability of the lunar calendar, and the effects of this variability and the changing beginning of the month upon religious holiday planning, record keeping, etc. The table of contents of this excellent volume may be found here.

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Mar 06 2009

Behind the curtain. . .

Just a quick peek behind the workings of this blog. I’m currently spending much of my time reading materials in preparation for my comprehensive exams. (a.k.a. qualifying exams) For now, as has been the case for a few months, until these exams are completed, I only have a limited amount of time to devote to Chaldea (i.e., I’ll post whenever I can). I thought I’d bring a notable source I’m working with to the attention of others in similar fields.

For those interested in cultural perceptions of the heavens in ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, ancient Israel, Persia, Greco-Roman cultures, as well as early Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, I highly recommend The Early History of Heaven, by J. Edward Wright. (2000, Oxford University Press)

I first took it out of the library in 2003, but soon found it indispensable, so I bought a copy. It’s a very thorough overview of the important writings and beliefs about heaven and/or the heavens (including heavenly cosmography) in these cultures, and it incorporates archaeological findings as well as textual sources. It is difficult to distinguish between astronomy proper and astral beliefs in many ancient civilizations; this book provides the reader with a solid awareness of the background views of the cosmos in these cultures, thereby setting the stage for later evolutions in cultural astronomy.

Have a good weekend, all!