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Julian Baldick - Author

About the Author

Books by Julian Baldick

Homer and the Indo-Europeans Comparing Mythologies

Homer and the Indo-Europeans Comparing Mythologies

Author: Julian Baldick Format: Hardback Release Date: 30/09/2019

This study in comparative mythology interprets the Greek myths in the light of the mythologies of other Indo-European cultures - Indian, Celtic, Scandinavian, Roman, Greek, Iranian and Ossetian. The author uses a modified version of the schema proposed by the French theorist Dumezil to consider the profound connections between such works as the Iliad , the Odyssey , the Indian epics - the Ramayana and the Mahabharata - the Iranian Book of Kings and the Scandinavian Yaglingasaga . The book includes a long critical exposition of the discipline of comparative mythology from its 18th-century origins to the revival of the discipline by Dumezil and his followers from 1938 to the present. It also reassesses the profound critique of Dumezil which linked him with Nazi ideology.

Imaginary Muslims Uwaysi Sufis of Central Asia

Imaginary Muslims Uwaysi Sufis of Central Asia

Author: Julian Baldick Format: Hardback Release Date: 30/09/2019

The Uwaysis are Muslim mystics who look for instruction from the spirit of the dead or physically absent person. They take their name from Uways, a contemporary of the prophet Mohammad who is reputed to have communicated with him by telepathy. Julian Baldick, author of Mystical Islam: An Introduction to Sufism , surveys the legend of Uways and the Uwaysi phenomenon as it is generally presented in Sufism, Islam's main mystical tradition. He examines the evolution and beliefs of the Uwaysi movement in 16th-century East Turkistan (now Xinjiang in China) and then discusses the little-known History of the Uwaysis by Ahmad of Uzgen, a collection of biographies almost always of people that never existed, that played a major role in the sect's development. Special attention is paid to its accounts of women mystics, and to its intricate combination of biblical motifs, shamanistic initiation rites, and Muslim, Christian and Buddhist legends. Baldick argues that an understanding of the Uwaysi sect illustrates paradoxes that lie at the heart of Islam.

Black God Afroasiatic Roots of the Jewish, Christian and Muslim Religions

Black God Afroasiatic Roots of the Jewish, Christian and Muslim Religions

Author: Julian Baldick Format: Hardback Release Date: 02/09/2019

It is argued that just as there is a common Afroasiatic language family, so too there is a common Afroasiatic family of religions. There is an inner logic to be found in myths, folk-tales, rituals, customs and beliefs as far apart as Yemen and Nigeria which go back to an ancient past shared by the Bible and the pharaohs. Using the method of comparative mythology, the author sifts through the work of scholars - including anthropologists, religious historians, archaeologists and classical Greek writers and contemporary comments on them by professional Egyptologists - to build his picture of the Afroasiatic heritage, and how much of it is still with us in modern Western thought.

Black God Afroasiatic Roots of the Jewish, Christian and Muslim Religions

Black God Afroasiatic Roots of the Jewish, Christian and Muslim Religions

Author: Julian Baldick Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 02/09/2019

It is argued that just as there is a common Afroasiatic language family, so too there is a common Afroasiatic family of religions. There is an inner logic to be found in myths, folk-tales, rituals, customs and beliefs as far apart as Yemen and Nigeria which go back to an ancient past shared by the Bible and the pharaohs. Using the method of comparative mythology, the author sifts through the work of scholars - including anthropologists, religious historians, archaeologists and classical Greek writers and contemporary comments on them by professional Egyptologists - to build his picture of the Afroasiatic heritage, and how much of it is still with us in modern Western thought.

Ancient Religions of the Austronesian World From Australasia to Taiwan

Ancient Religions of the Austronesian World From Australasia to Taiwan

Author: Julian Baldick Format: Hardback Release Date: 30/03/2013

Austronesia is the vast oceanic region which stretches from Madagascar to Taiwan to New Zealand. Encompassing both scattered archipelagos and major landmasses, Austronesia - derived from the Latin australis,'southern',and Greek nesos,'island' - is used primarily as a linguistic term, designating a family of languages spoken by peoples with a shared heritage. Julian Baldick, a celebrated historian of ancient religion, here argues that the diverse inhabitants of the Philippines, Taiwan, Indonesia, New Guinea and Oceania show a common inheritance that extends beyond language. This commonality is found above all in mythology and ritual, which reach back to an ancient, prehistoric past. From around 1250 BCE the original proto-Oceanic speakers migrated eastwards from South-East Asia. Navigating by the sun, the stars, bird flight, the swells of the sea and cloud-swathed mountain islands, Austronesian voyagers used canoes and outriggers to settle on new territories. They developed a unified pattern of religion characterised by mortuary rites, headhunting and agrarian rituals of the annual calendar, culminating in a post-harvest festival often sexual in nature. This unique overview of Austronesian belief and tradition - the author's final book, and published posthumously - will be essential reading for students of religion, prehistory and anthropology.

Animal and Shaman Ancient Religions of Central Asia

Animal and Shaman Ancient Religions of Central Asia

Author: Julian Baldick Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 22/10/2012

Animal and Shaman presents a comparative survey of the ancient customs and religions of Central Asia. The Pre-Christian and Pre-Muslim peoples of the region, such as the Huns, Scythians, Turks, Mongols, Manchus, Finns and Hungarians, shared a number of traditions and rituals. Characteristics observed by anthropologists today may be traced directly back to an ancient past. In ancient times there were remarkable commonalities in the forms of worship and spiritual expression among the different peoples of Inner Eurasia, all largely based on the role of animals in their lives. The harsh physical climate of the region led to an emphasis on hunting and animals, in contrast to the fertility rites common in more agriculturally hospitable areas. These characteristics have survived not only in the legends of the region, but have also found their way into the mythologies of the West. Baldick proposes that the myths, rituals, and epics of Central Asia served as possible foundations for such great works at the Odyssey, the Gospels, and Beowulf, which seem to have precursors in Iranian and Inner Eurasian tales.

Mystical Islam An Introduction to Sufism

Mystical Islam An Introduction to Sufism

Author: Julian Baldick Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 29/08/2012

Sufism is Islam's principal mystical tradition. To its followers it provides the inner, esoteric or purely spiritual dimension of the faith. It is a centuries-old path to spirituality with devotees throughout the Islamic world, fundamentally influencing Muslim belief. To non-Muslim observers it remains exotic, mysterious and little-understood. Mystical Islam is an accessible introduction that encompasses the history of the Sufi spiritual tradition, ranging from the great Mughal and Safavid empires of India and Persia to the Whirling Dervishes of Ottoman Turkey. Julian Baldick reveals the continuing relevance of the Sufi spiritual experience and introduces some of the great figures of Sufism: al-Ghazali, Ibn Arabi, Hafiz of Shiraz and Rumi. It is the writings of such masters that reveal the inner beauty of Sufism, while offering followers the most profound insights in their quest for delivery from the narrow confines of the material world. At the same time, the author's reflections on recent Sufi scholarship, and his fresh perspectives on this tradition of belief and devotion, will prove essential for students and highly stimulating for general readers.

Animal and Shaman Ancient Religions of Central Asia

Animal and Shaman Ancient Religions of Central Asia

Author: Julian Baldick Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 29/08/2012

What common features can be found in the native religions of the vast Eurasian landmass? Julian Baldick, in this comparative study of the indigenous pre-Christian and pre-Muslim religions of Central Asia, argues that there was a common inheritance to be found among the beliefs of the various peoples who have lived in Central Asia or have migrated from there; Scythians, Huns, Turks, Mongols, Manchus, Finns and Hungarians. Shamans - holy men healers among the pagan faiths - relied heavily on animal sacrifices to create spiritual purity and to nourish the soul. Animals and spirituality were thus locked in a mutually dependent embrace. In this survey of the ancient customs and religions of the larger inner Eurasian landmass, Baldick concludes that in pagan times there were remarkable common features in the forms of worship and spiritual expression among the different peoples of Central Asia, all largely based on the role of animals in their lives. These have survived not only in the myths and legends of the region but have also found their way into the mythologies of the West. This ground-breaking study will be of great importance to historians as well as cultural and social anthropologists.