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Religion in the Emergence of Civilization
Çatalhöyük as a Case Study


  • Editor: Ian Hodder, Stanford University, California
Ian Hodder, Lynn Meskell, LeRon Shults, Harvey Whitehouse, Maurice Bloch, Peter Pels, Webb Keane, Paul Wason, Carolyn Nakamura
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  • Date Published: October 2010
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521150194

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About the Authors
  • This book presents an interdisciplinary study of the role of spirituality and religious ritual in the emergence of complex societies. Involving an eminent group of natural scientists, archaeologists, anthropologists, philosophers, and theologians, this volume examines Çatalhöyük as a case study. A nine-thousand-year old town in central Turkey, Çatalhöyük was first excavated in the 1960s and has since become integral to understanding the symbolic and ritual worlds of the early farmers and village-dwellers in the Middle East. It is thus an ideal location for exploring theories about the role of religion in early settled life. This book provides a unique overview of current debates concerning religion and its historical variations. Through exploration of themes including the integration of the spiritual and the material, the role of belief in religion, the cognitive bases for religion, and religion's social roles, this book situates the results from Çatalhöyük within a broader understanding of the Neolithic in the Middle East.

    • Uses the spectacular world-renowned site Çatalhöyük as a case study
    • Deals with fundamental questions about the role of religion in human development
    • Results from a unique collaboration of eminent scholars from anthropology, religious studies and philosophy at an archaeological dig
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    Product details

    • Date Published: October 2010
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521150194
    • length: 374 pages
    • dimensions: 254 x 178 x 20 mm
    • weight: 0.65kg
    • contains: 43 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Probing religion at Çatalhöyük: an interdisciplinary experiment Ian Hodder
    2. The symbolism of Çatalhöyük in its regional context Ian Hodder and Lynn Meskell
    3. Spiritual entanglement: transforming religious symbols at Çatalhöyük LeRon Shults
    4. Coding the non-visible: epistemic limitations and understanding symbolic behavior at Çatalhöyük Wentzel van Huyssteen
    5. Modes of religiosity at Çatalhöyük Harvey Whitehouse and Ian Hodder
    6. Is there religion at Çatalhöyük … or just houses? Maurice Bloch
    7. History houses: a new interpretation of architectural elaboration at Çatalhöyük Ian Hodder and Peter Pels
    8. Marked, absent, habitual: approaches to Neolithic religion at Çatalhöyük Webb Keane
    9. Temporalities of religion at Çatalhöyük Peter Pels
    10. The Neolithic cosmos of Çatalhöyük Paul Wason
    11. Magical deposits at Çatalhöyük: a matter of time and place? Carolyn Nakamura
    12. Conclusions and evaluation Ian Hodder.

  • Instructors have used or reviewed this title for the following courses

    • Ancient Religions
    • History of India
  • Editor

    Ian Hodder, Stanford University, California
    Ian Hodder is Dunlevie Family Professor in the Department of Anthropology at Stanford University. He was recently awarded the Huxley Medal by the Royal Anthropological Institute and is the author of various books, including, most recently, The Leopard's Tale: Revealing the Mysteries of Çatalhöyük (2006).


    Ian Hodder, Lynn Meskell, LeRon Shults, Harvey Whitehouse, Maurice Bloch, Peter Pels, Webb Keane, Paul Wason, Carolyn Nakamura

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