"An impressive and important cross-cultural study that has vast implications for history, religion, anthropology, folklore, and other fields. . . . Remarkably wide-ranging and extremely well-documented, it covers (among much else) the following: medieval Christian legends such as the 14th-century Ethiopian Gadla Hawaryat (Contendings of the Apostles) that had their roots in Parthian Gnosticism and Manichaeism; dog-stars (especially Sirius), dog-days, and canine psychopomps in the ancient and Hellenistic world; the cynocephalic hordes of the ancient geographers; the legend of Prester John; Visvamitra and the Svapacas ("Dog-Cookers"); the Dog Rong ("warlike barbarians") during the Xia, Shang, and Zhou periods; the nochoy ghajar (Mongolian for "Dog Country") of the Khitans; the Panju myth of the Southern Man and Yao "barbarians" from chapter 116 of the History of the Latter Han and variants in a series of later texts; and the importance of dogs in ancient Chinese burial rites. . . . Extremely well-researched and highly significant."—Victor H. Mair, Asian Folklore Studies
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This is a remarkable wide-ranging book, so grand in scope that it is hard to realize that it is the author's first full-length publication. It is remarkable not only for its style, which is a sheer joy to read, full of word-play and irony and passion and weird anecdotes, but for the brilliance of its central thesis and the erudition with which that thesis is developed. It is also an important book, for it deals with a subject that is of central interest to anthropologists, historians, and historians of religion today--the subject of Otherness.About the Author:
David Gordon White is a visiting assistant professor in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Virginia. He divides his time among the United States, Europe, and India.
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