7. Myth, Space, and the History of Religions: Reflections on the Comparative Study Of Ancient Wilderness Mythologies from Mesopotamia, the Hebrew Bible, and Early Christianity
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Laura Feldt [+]
University of Southern Denmark
Laura Feldt is Associate Professor of the Study of Religions with the Department of History, University of Southern Denmark, head of the research programme ‘Authority, Materiality and Media’, and editor of Numen – International Review of the History of Religions with Gregory D. Alles. She is the author of The Fantastic in Religious Narrative from Exodus to Elisha (2012), editor of Wilderness in Mythology and Religion – Approaching Religious Spatialities, Cosmologies, and Ideas of Wild Nature (2012) and Reframing Authority – The Role of Media and Materiality (2018) with Christian Høgel. Her primary research areas are religion in ancient Mesopotamia, the Hebrew Bible, and ancient Christianity.
This essay discusses the role of comparison in the historical study of religions by means of three case studies of wilderness mythology from ancient religions – Mesopotamia, The Hebrew Bible, and early Christianity. Then, the concept of wilderness and a spatial-narrative theoretical strategy of analysis are presented, and it is argued that concept-based comparison is constitutive for the academic study of religions.