Wandering God

A Study in Nomadic Spirituality

By Morris Berman

Subjects: Psychology
Paperback : 9780791444429, 364 pages, February 2000
Hardcover : 9780791444412, 364 pages, February 2000

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Table of contents

List of Illustrations


Note to the Reader

Introduction: The Experience of Paradox

1. The Writing on the Wall

2. Politics and Power

3. As the Soul Is Bent: The Psycho-Religious Roots of Social Inequality

4. Agriculture, Religion, and the Great Mother

5. The Zone of Flux

6. Wandering God: The Recovery of Paradox in the Twentieth Century

7. The Other Voice


Selected Bibliography

About the Author


Presents an analysis of the "nomadic" consciousness of our ancestors, and the forces --religious and political --that overwhelmed it during the Neolithic era, and considers its revival in the twentieth century.


The third book in Morris Berman's much acclaimed trilogy on the evolution of human consciousness, Wandering God continues his earlier work which garnered such praise as "solid lessons in the history of ideas" (KIRKUS Reviews), "filled with piquant details" (Common Boundary), and "an informative synthesis and a remarkably friendly, good-natured jeremiad" (The Village Voice). Here, in a remarkable discussion of our hunter-gatherer ancestry and the "paradoxical" mode of perception that it involved, Berman shows how a sense of alertness, or secular/sacred immediacy, subsequently got buried by the rise of sedentary civilization, religion, and vertical power relationships.

In an integrated tour de force, Wandering God explores the meaning of Paleolithic art, the origins of social inequality, the nature of cross-cultural child rearing, the relationship between women and agriculture, and the world view of present-day nomadic peoples, as well as the emergence of "paradoxical" consciousness in the philosophical writings of the twentieth century.

Morris Berman is the author of Social Change and Scientific Organization; and the first two volumes of the trilogy on the evolution of human consciousness, The Reenchantment of the World and Coming to Our Senses: Body and Spirit in the Hidden History of the West. He teaches part-time in the Master of Liberal Arts Program at the Johns Hopkins University.


"This immensely fecund work gives us a sweeping overview of significant aspects of human evolution, shedding light on how we have imprisoned ourselves socially, culturally, and intellectually … [and] how we might find a way out of the bottleneck … I can heartily recommend this work … as an antidote to sluggish intellectualism." — Georg Feuerstein, Traditional Yoga Studies Interactive

"This is the best book in Morris Berman's trilogy on the evolution of human consciousness. Wandering God offers a thought-provoking thesis thoroughly grounded in first-class research and thinking in a dazzling array of fields. He persuasively shows how our search for a non-destructive path through the future will be enhanced if we choose 'nomadic thinking' and 'mature ambiguity' over ideological fundamentalism." — David H. Spain, University of Washington

"Berman represents one of the rare species of American multilingual intellectuals with a grasp of a wide historical and anthropological literature. His knowledge is truly encyclopaedic and catholic in its breadth, extremely rich and suggestive of new ideas. The book combines psychoanalysis and structural forces in a rare synthesis." — Heribert Adam, Simon Fraser University