Cover image for Living with the Gods : On Beliefs and Peoples
Living with the Gods : On Beliefs and Peoples
MacGregor, Neil, 1946- author.
First United States edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Alfred A. Knopf, [2018]

Physical Description:
xxiii, 488 pages : color illustrations ; 24 cm
"One of the central facts of human existence is that every known society shares a set of beliefs and assumptions--a faith, an ideology, a religion--that goes far beyond the life of the individual. These beliefs are an essential part of a shared identity. They have a unique power to define--and to divide--us and are a driving force in the politics of much of the world today. Throughout history they have most often been, in the widest sense, religious. Yet this book is not a history of religion nor an argument in favor of faith. It is about the stories that give shape to our lives, and the different ways in which societies imagine their place in the world. Looking across history and around the globe, [this book] interrogates objects, places, and human activities to try to understand what shared beliefs can mean in the public life of a community or a nation, how they shape the relationship between the individual and the state, and how they help give us our sense of who we are. In deciding how we live with our gods, we also decide how to live with one another."--Dust jacket.
General Note:
"This is a Borzoi Book published by Alfred A. Knopf."

"Originally published in Great Britain by Allen Lane, and imprint of Penguin Books, London."
Introduction: Believing and belonging -- Part one: Our place in the pattern. The beginnings of belief ; Fire and state ; Water of life and death ; The return of the light ; Harvest and homage -- Part two: Believing together. Living with the dead ; Birth and the body ; A place in tradition ; Let us pray ; The power of song -- Part three: Theatres of faith. The house of God ; Gifts to the gods ; Holy killing ; To be a pilgrim ; Festival time -- Part four: The power of images. The protectoresses ; The work of art in times of spiritual reproduction ; The accretion of meaning ; Change your life ; Rejecting the image, revering the word -- Part five: One god or many. The blessings of many gods ; The power of one ; Spirits of place ; If God be with us ; Tolerating and not tolerating -- Part six: Powers earthly and divine. The mandate of Heaven ; Thy kingdom come ; Turning the screw ; "There is no God!" ; Living with each other.
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