Religion and Its Monsters

Book Reviews | Feb 19th, 2007

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Author: Timothy K. Beal
Publisher: Routledge
Pages: 0
Retail Price: 0.00
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This breezy, interesting and fun read looks at the connections between monsters and religion, using the Bible and ancient texts, contemporary horror stories, and even the music of the Misfits to examine how cultures both demonize and deify the terrifying unknown.

The book is cleverly split into two parts: the first part discusses the monsters in religious texts, their origins and attitudes toward them, and the second part looks at monsters in literature, music, and film and how they could fit in with religious beliefs. In other words, it’s half about religion’s monsters and half about monster’s religions.

Beal’s style is light-hearted academia — researched and informative while being interesting and humorous. My only complaint is that the book is too light and short; in the first part, many ancient texts and religions are ignored (hey, doesn’t Hinduism have like 50,000 different monsters??), and the monsters chosen in the second part are so obvious (Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, etc. etc.). I think both author and his audience would have benefited from an extra 100 pages: It would help flesh out Beal’s discussion, and satisfy the reader who is left wanting more.

Bottom Line: Theology meets horror… but maybe too obvious.
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