Trim: 6⅜ x 9¼
978-0-7391-7452-4 • Hardback • July 2016 • $98.00 • (£75.00)
978-0-7391-7453-1 • eBook • July 2016 • $93.00 • (£72.00)
Mary Thurlkill is associate professor of religious studies at the University of Mississippi.
I. Sensory Worlds
1. Scent in Civic and Domestic Space
2. Fragrant Food
3. Smells of Health and Disease
II. Sacred Scents
4. God’s Nostrils
5. Transforming the Body: Scent in Early Christianity
6. Purifying the Body: Scent in Early Islam
III. Scents of Paradise
7. Heavenly Scents
The book’s scope is highly ambitious, ranging from the role of incense in Roman sacrifice to the spice-infused purity rituals prescribed by medieval Islamic jurists.... Its comparative framework...yields some valuable insights.... In sum, this is a stimulating book.... The book’s chief accomplishment lies in its bold comparative scope. Thurlkill demonstrates the extensive overlap in the use of scents to mark sacred spaces—both real and imagined—in Roman, Jewish, Christian, and Islamic thought.
— Studies in Late Antiquity
Thurlkill does it again with the second of her two truly groundbreaking books. Not unlike her stunningly innovative contribution to comparative medieval hagiology in Chosen among Women, the author opens yet another incredibly rich avenue for the comparative study of religion. By focusing her breadth of historical acumen and depth of aesthetic sensibility on the significance of scent in the late antique Roman and Arabian worlds, Thurlkill invites us to consider the fascinating ways in which the religious experience and discourse of early Christians and Muslims was informed and mediated by their sense of smell. Like musk emanating from the hair of the beloved, or cumin from the hearth, this book beckons the reader to enter a world of intellectual delight nearly impossible to resist.
— Scott C. Alexander, Catholic Theological Union
This lovely book helps us to better understand the “stuff” of religion by connecting the premodern worlds of Christianity and Islam.
— Amir Hussain, Loyola Marymount University