"Light Against Darkness" is comprised of articles that put on display the power and pervasiveness of dualistic thought. Dualism has proved a potent cultural tool for clarifying and ordering reality. Particularly in times of social stress and psychological insecurity, it can offer a valuable conceptual grid that provides orientation to the world and a clear sense of identity. At the same time, though, there are important questions to be asked about the social effects of binary thinking. As history amply illustrates, dualistic notions can readily be deployed to legitimate cultural demonisation and to rationalise violence. At a deeper level, a dualist worldview can also obscure the possibilities to be found in multiplicity. The articles in this volume treat Dualism across a wide historical spectrum and from multiple methodological perspectives. The studies are organized around the religious and cultural contexts of Ancient Judaism and they include contributions from leading voices on ancient Persia, Israel, Greece, and Egypt.
Experts on modern religious and philosophical thought not only lend context to concepts applied to the ancient world, but engage recent European and American experiments in binary thought. All of the studies contribute to a richer and more complete portrait of dualism in ancient Judaism.
Dr. theol. Armin Lange is Professor for Ancient Judaism, director of the department for Jewish Studies at the University of Vienna and a member of the international team editing the Dead Sea Scrolls. Eric M. Meyers, PhD, is Bernice and Morton Lerner Professor of Religion and Director of the Center for Jewish Studies at Duke University. Bennie Reynolds, PhD, is Lecturer in Biblical Hebrew at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Randall Styers, PhD, is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.