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Book: Remembering J. Z. Smith

Chapter: 11. J. Z. Smith and the Necessary Double-Face (NAASR Panel)

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.39824


Starting with Jonathan Z. Smith’s Yale dissertation, The Glory Jest and Riddle: James George Frazer and The Golden Bough (1969), Gill argues that comparison is powered by the distinctly human capacity to say that one thing is not the other. This structurality (one of play and joke and riddle) applies not only to comparison, but also to religion, with both comparison and religion having what he characterizes as an abductive quality—that feeling-kind of knowing, often initiated by the surprise of incongruity.

Chapter Contributors

  • Sam Gill ( - sgill) 'University of Colorado'