Cover image for About religion : economies of faith in virtual culture
About religion : economies of faith in virtual culture
Taylor, Mark C., 1945-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Chicago, Ill. : University of Chicago Press, [1999]

Physical Description:
292 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
BL51 .T394 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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"Religion," Mark C. Taylor maintains, "is most interesting where it is least obvious." From global financial networks to the casinos of Las Vegas, from images flickering on computer terminals to steel sculpture, material culture bears unexpected traces of the divine. In a world where the economies of faith are obscure, yet pervasive, Taylor shows that approaching religion directly is less instructive than thinking about it.

Traveling from high culture to pop culture and back again, About Religion approaches cyberspace and Las Vegas through Hegel and Kant and reads Melville's The Confidence-Man through the film Wall Street. As astonishing juxtapositions and associations proliferate, formerly uncharted territories of virtual culture disclose theological vestiges, showing that faith in contemporary culture is as unavoidable as it is elusive.

The most accessible presentation of Taylor's revolutionary ideas to date, About Religion gives us a dazzling and disturbing vision of life at the end of the old and beginning of the new millennium.

Author Notes

Mark C. Taylor is professor of religion and chair of the Department of Religion at Columbia University. His most recent book is After God , also published by the University of Chicago Press.

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

What is religion about in the late 20th century? In a virtual world where surface images provide the depth of reality, what role does religion play? These are only two of the many questions that Taylor (Hiding) explores in his inimitably playful way. He begins by asking how can we engage in speculation about the existence of God after God's death and he argues that Melville's ("the most important writer America has yet produced") The Confidence-Man: His Masquerade provides the best portrait of the bankruptcy of faith. In other essays, Taylor investigates the relationship between psychosocial theory and religion as well as the relationship between evolutionary biology and religion. In addition, he explores the similarities between ancient alchemy and the virtual Postmodern culture. "Today's alchemists," he notes, "sublimate base matter into immaterialities on fiber-optic networks where everything is light." Where is religion in the late modern age? Taylor concludes: "The religion that today calls for reflection does not answer questions or provide meaning but abandons us....[It is] forever turning toward what is always slipping away; we can never be certain what religion is about." As comfortable talking about Karl Marx as about contemporary sculptors Fred Sandback and Richard Serra, Taylor courses through the history of ideas and the images of pop culture to demonstrate that religion, art and literature are cultural constructs inextricably bound together. No one who wants to understand religion and contemporary culture should avoid reading Taylor. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Table of Contents

About About
1 Discrediting God
2 Denegating God
3 Politics of Theory
4 Minding the Brain
5 Terminal Condition
6 Christianity and the Capitalism of Spirit
7 The Virtual Kingdom
8 Apprehension
9 Learning Curves
10 Indifference
References for Illustrations