Bruce Lincoln: “Before Religion? The Zoroastrian Concept of Daēnā and Two Myths about It”

A lecture as part of the Greenberg Distinguished Scholar Program for the fall of 2017: All Religion Is Inter-Religion: A Celebration of Steven M. Wasserstrom’s Contributions to the Study of Religion on His 30th Anniversary at Reed College

Bruce Lincoln of the University of Chicago reviews the Avestan word, category, and concept of daēnā ("religion"), identifying several complexities in its usage. He will also discuss two mythic narratives in which the nature of the daēnā is at issue: one where it appears as a detachable portion of the self, and another that tells how daēnā entered the world, imagining primordial ages in which humans had no religion, nor apparent need for it.

Steven M. Wasserstrom is Moe and Izetta Tonkon Professor of Judaic Studies & Humanities at Reed College and has been an influential figure in religious studies. His first book, Between Muslim and Jew: The Problem of Symbiosis under Early Islam (Princeton University Press), received the American Academy of Religion’s best book award in the area of Historical Studies in 1996 and has been recently reissued in Princeton University Press's Legacy Series. His second book, Religion after Religion: Gershom Scholem, Mircea Eliade, and Henry Corbin at Eranos (Princeton University Press), has been recognized as a “contemporary classic” in the field.

Established on the occasion of Reed's centennial with a gift from Dan Greenberg and his wife and philanthropic partner Susan Steinhauser, the Greenberg Distinguished Scholar Program aims to bring visiting scholars to campus to stimulate and support the work of students and provide faculty with the opportunity for in-depth intellectual exchange with a prominent member in their field.



Thursday, October 26, 2017 at 6:00pm

Performing Arts Building, 320
3203 Southeast Woodstock Boulevard, Portland, Oregon 97202-8199

Event Type



Faculty, Students, Alumni, Open to the Public






Greenberg Distinguished Scholar Series
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