Religion's great and powerful mystery fascinates us, but it also terrifies. So too the monsters that haunt the stories of the Judeo-Christian mythos and earlier traditions: Leviathan, Behemoth, dragons, and other beasts. In this unusual and provocative book, Timothy K. Beal writes about the monsters that lurk in our religious texts, and about how monsters and religion are deeply entwined. Horror and faith are inextricable. Ans as monsters are part of religious texts and traditions, so religion lurks in the modern horror genre, from its birth in Dante's Inferno to the contemporary spookiness of H.P. Lovecraft and the Hellraiser films. Religion and Its Monsters is essential reading for students of religion and popular culture, as well as any readers with an interest in horror.
This brilliant, twisted, imaginative book explores religion's dark side, from the predictable monsters of sacred texts (Leviathan, Behemoth, Tiamat and Rama's monkeys) to more startling choices from popular culture: one section applies religion's laws of ritual purity and danger to the novel Dracula, for example. Beal sees religion everywhere; Frankenstein, he asserts, is "a profoundly theological horror" about creator-figures playing God, while contemporary teen Goths inhabit "a counterculture infused with a mix of monstrosity and pre-modern Christian religious iconography and architecture." When Beal concludes the book by explaining that "our monsters are ourselves," it comes not as a cultural indictment from a self-satisfied pundit but an astute observation by a witty and wise fellow traveler. (Nov. 15)n Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.