of the 2012 phenomenon. Larson offers a critique of the ways in which scientiﬁc illit-
eracy and the diffusion of pseudo-science gave cultural currency to a viral internet
post outlining the so-called “7 Reasons Why the World Will End in 2012.” With deft
analysis, Larson explains the actual scientiﬁc research undergirding the scientiﬁc
claims made on this list and offers suggestions as to why these ideas managed to
obtain wider cultural currency through the internet and popular culture.
J. Gordon Melton concludes the study by singling out four historical ﬁgures for
special treatment — William Millar, Joseph Smith, John Nelson Darby, and Aleister
Crowley — and notes how each of these ﬁgures made a foundational contribution to
the contemporary prophetic scene spanning the Adventist tradition to what Melton
calls the “Esoteric post-New Age community” (p. 282). Concluding on an important
theme, Melton muses on the endurance of prophetic communities in spite of
(to outsiders at least) spectacular prophetic failures.
St Mark’s National Theological Centre, School of Theology, Charles Sturt
, eds.: Sex, Gender and the Sacred: Reconﬁguring
Religion in Gender History. Oxford: Wiley Blackwell, 2014; pp. ix + 337.
Emanating from a symposium at the University of York in 2012, and building on the
historiography of gender and religion published by Gender & History, the contribu-
tions in this volume span wide spatial and temporal dimensions. From Mesopotamia
in the eighteenth century BCE to twentieth-century Cuba; from the pre-Reformation
Christianity of medieval England to the Hinduism of twentieth-century India, this vol-
ume is nothing if not wide-ranging and comprehensive.
The contributors to this volume are not only religion and gender historians, but
also medievalists, historians of empire, of Chinese studies, Assyriology, and the Ital-
ian Renaissance. Clare Midgely writes on the “Woman Question” from the perspec-
tive of a nineteenth-century Bengali women’s journal; Michelle M. Sauer writes on
the signiﬁcance of architecture in the medieval English anchorhold; and Mary Vincent
examines religious violence in twentieth-century Spain.
The editors, Joanna de Groot and Sue Morgan, are well qualiﬁed for their roles. de
Groot has researched and taught extensively in gender and women’s history and has
delved into gender relationships and roles from the eighteenth century forwards, with a
particular focus on Iran and the Middle East. Morgan’s research has focused on the
intersections between gender, sexuality, and religion in nineteenth- and twentieth-
century Britain. She has published on the social purity movements of late-nineteenth-
century Britain, and late-Victorian and Edwardian constructions of masculinity.
The editors identify four “trajectories” in the history of religion and gender: Cross-
ing Cultures and Transnational Exchanges; Religion, Embodiment and Subjectivity;
Religion, Gender and Sexuality; and Gender, Religion and Political Activity; and the
contributions in this volume are organised accordingly. The essays in the ﬁrst
section emphasise that religion is not monocultural, but is constructed out of the
© 2018 Religious History Association