Religion among People

Essays on Religions and Politics

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Kees Bolle
  • Eugene, OR: 
    Wipf & Stock Publishers
    , October
     272 pages.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.


“At the deepest level religious traditions determine what goes on between one human being and another, between one community and another, and between human beings and whoever holds power over them.”

Kees Bolle’s original, passionate scholarship veered away from things handed down and standard in our thought about religions. In this his final book, he explores how religious paradigms have given rise to particular structures of power, and how religious myths compel particular human actions: the possibility of interpretation, the necessity for recognizing religious forms where they appear, the relationship of secularization and sacredness.

And at every turn, Bolle examines the notion that Western intellectuals are nonreligious. He confronts the responsibility “mere” scholarship bears for events—sometimes terrible events—in the real world. We move from David and Nathan to Antigone, from Brahmanism and Buddhism to the familial struggle between Christianity and Islam. The book concludes with Bolle’s striking reflections on how “modern man” has become inherently religious in concurrence with modern manifestations of power.

Bolle is a fascinating figure. He loved the immediacy of lessons found in Hasidic stories, and his own thought may be said to approach the wholeness, the immediacy, of religion.

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

Kees W. Bolle (1927–2012), a native of the Netherlands, studied at the University of Leiden and the University of Chicago. He taught at Brown University, UCLA, Reed College, and the University of New England. He is the author of The Persistence of Religion (1965), The Freedom of Man in Myth (1968; Wipf & Stock, 2010), and The Enticement of Religion (2002).

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