Varieties of Religious Invention: Founders and Their Functions in History by Patrick GrayVarieties of Religious Invention: Founders and Their Functions in History by Patrick Gray

Varieties of Religious Invention: Founders and Their Functions in History

EditorPatrick Gray

Paperback | October 15, 2015

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At the origins of the major religious traditions one typically finds a seminal figure. Names such as Jesus, Muhammad, Confucius, and Moses are well known, yet their status as "founders" has not gone uncontested. Does Paul deserve the credit for founding Christianity? Is Laozi the father ofDaoism, or should that title belong to Zhuangzi? What is at stake, if anything, in debates about the historical Buddha? What assumptions are implicit in the claim that Hinduism is a religion without a founder? The essays in Varieties of Religious Invention do not attempt to settle these perennialarguments. Rather, they consider the subtexts of such debates as an exercise in comparative religion: Who engages in them? To whom do they matter, and when? To what extent are origins thought to define the essence of a religion? When is development in a religious tradition perceived as deviationfrom its roots? In what ways do arguments about founders serve as proxies for broader cultural, theological, political, or ideological questions? What do they reveal about the ways in which the past is remembered and authority negotiated? Surveying the landscape shaped by these questions within each tradition, the authors provide insights and novel perspectives about the individual religions, and about the study of world religions more generally.
Patrick Gray is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee. He has published five books on the Bible, the history of biblical interpretation, and Hellenistic philosophy, including Opening Paul's Letters: A Reader's Guide to Genre and Interpretation.
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Title:Varieties of Religious Invention: Founders and Their Functions in HistoryFormat:PaperbackDimensions:224 pages, 9.09 × 6.1 × 0.79 inPublished:October 15, 2015Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199359725

ISBN - 13:9780199359721

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Table of Contents

ContributorsAbbreviationsPatrick Gray: Introduction1. Mark Leuchter: Finding Judaism's Founders2. Nathan McGovern: The Buddha: Historicizing Myth, Mythologizing History3. Cai Liang: When the Founder is Not a Creator: Confucius and Confucianism Reconsidered4. Gil Raz: What is Daoism and Who is Its Founder?5. Patrick Gray: Jesus, Paul, and the Birth of Christianity6. R. Kevin Jaques: Muhammad's Mission and the Din of Ibrahim according to Ibn Ishaq7. Mens Broo: Hinduism and the Question of Founders8. Mark Muesse: Crossing Boundaries: When Founders of Faith Appear in Other TraditionsIndex

Editorial Reviews

"By examining the 'founders' of various religious traditions, this book helps us to better understand both those individual traditions and the connections between them. It is an especially useful resource for those who are interested in comparative theology." --Amir Hussain, Professor of Theological Studies, Loyola Marymount University