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Overview

Jim Livingston's Anatomy of the Sacred: An Introduction to Religion is a comprehensive introduction to the nature and variety of religious belief and practice. The text explores the issues inherent in the study of religion, examines the universal forms of religious experience, offers a crosscultural study of a broad range of classic types of religious belief and practice in terms of the seven basic concepts of a religious world view, and surveys the challenges faced by religions today.

New to the Fifth Edition:
  • Entirely new chapter on the response of religion to Modernity, drawing examples from Islamic and American Protestant Fundamentalism
  • Extensive discussion of gender and the role of women, using examples largely from Roman Catholicism and Islam
  • A new discussion of recent New Age religious movements
  • More illustrative material from contemporary religious life, including an expanded discussion of science and religion
  • Pedagogy, including Key Words, Review Questions, and Suggestions for Further Reading have been revised and updated.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780131835641
  • Publisher: Prentice Hall
  • Publication date: 6/29/2004
  • Edition description: REV
  • Edition number: 5
  • Pages: 432
  • Product dimensions: 6.02 (w) x 8.92 (h) x 0.91 (d)

Table of Contents

(NOTE: Each chapter begins with an Overview and ends with Notes, Key Words, Review Questions, and Suggestions for Further Readings .)

I. THE STUDY OF RELIGION.

1. What Is Religion? How Is It Studied?

Defining Religion. Why Are Humans Religious? Why Study Religion? The Perspective of the Student–Commitment and Objectivity. The Ways Religion Is Studied. Interpreting and Explaining Religion.

II. UNIVERSAL FORMS OF RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE AND EXPRESSION.

2. The Sacred and the Holy.

The Concept of Sacred Power. The Ambivalence of Sacred Power. The Holy as Mysterium Tremendum and Fascinans. Sacred Space and Sacred Time. Religion as Ultimate Concern.

3. Sacred Symbol, Myth, and Doctrine.

Symbolic Communication. Religious Symbols. Metaphor, Parable, and Story. Religious Myths. Models and Doctrines.

4. Sacred Ritual.

Ritual Action. Types of Sacred Ritual. Ritual and Sacrifice. Rituals as Sacraments.

5. Sacred Scripture.

The Pervasive Role of Sacred Scripture. Using the Term Scripture. Some Distinctive Features of Sacred Scripture. The Authority and Canonicity of Scripture. The Reception and Uses of Scripture. The Interpretation of Scripture.

6. Society and the Sacred: The Social Formations and Transformations of Religion.

The Reciprocal Relationship between Religion and Society. Types of Religious Communities. Voluntary Religious Communities. Protest and Change in Voluntary Religious Communities. The Sect.The Cult: New Religious Movements.

III. UNIVERSAL COMPONENTS OF A RELIGIOUS WORLDVIEW.

7. Deity: Concepts of the Divine and Ultimate Reality.

Polytheism and the Worship of Nature. Dualism. Pantheism and Monism. Monotheism.

8. Cosmogony: Origins of the Natural and Social Order.

The Practical Basis of Cosmogony. Emergence or Procreation from a Primal Substance or Being. The Sexual Union of a Primal Male and Female. Creation by Conflict and the Ordering of Chaos. Creation by a Divine Craftsman. Creation by Decree or from Nothing. The Rejection of Cosmogonic Speculation. Cosmogony Today.

9. Anthropology: The Human Problem.

Modern Views of Our Human Plight. Stoicism. Christianity. Theravada Buddhism. Confucianism.

10. Theodicy: Encountering Evil.

The Persistent Demand for Theodicy. Theodicy of "Mystical Participation." A Future, This-Worldly Theodicy. Other-Worldly Theodicy. Dualism. The Karma-Samsara Theodicy. Monotheistic Theodicies.

11. Ethics: Patterns of Moral Action.

Virtues and Obligations. The Sources and Norms of Moral Authority.

12. Soteriology: Ways and Goals of Salvation and Liberation.

Ways of Salvation and Liberation. The Way of Grace through Faith. The Way of Devotion. The Way of Action and Obligation. The Way of Mediation and Insight. Goals of Salvation and Liberation. Psychic Wholeness and a Healthy Social Order. Resurrection, Immortality, and Eternal Life. Samadhi and Nirvana.

IV. THE SACRED AND THE SECULAR IN MODERNITY.

13. The Sacred and the Secular in Modernity.

Secularization and Pluralism. The Reactions of Religious Fundamentalisms Today. The Characteristics of Contemporary Religious Fundamentalism. The Role of Women in Modern Christianity. The Role of Women in Islam.

 

Glossary.

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Preface

Anatomy of the Sacred is a comprehensive introduction to the nature and variety of religious belief and practice. Designed primarily for those who have not had a previous course in religion, it provides the student with an understanding of what religion is, of the universal forms of religious experience, and of the basic concepts that make up a religious worldview. By employing a comparative analysis across a rich range of ancient and modern religious traditions, this introduction allows students to see the ways in which certain classic forms of religious life appear in different societies over time, as well as to recognize the incredible diversity of human religious expression and belief.

The book is divided into four parts. Part I is concerned with such questions as the problem of defining religion, why it is important to study religion, and how one goes about the task, including the several disciplines or methods used in the study of religion. Each method is illustrated with specific examples from the work of eminent scholars in the field.

Part II is an introduction to the universal forms of religious experience and expression and includes discussions of the sacred and holy; religious symbolism, myth, and doctrine; sacred ritual; sacred scripture; and the social dimensions of religion.

Part III, which constitutes more than half of the book, consists of a comparative analysis of seven concepts, each one representing a fundamental structure or component of a religious worldview. A religious worldview is holistic, that is, it sees nature, human life, and the divine as interrelated and as forming a comprehensive vision of the world. A religion,therefore, includes a conception of sacred power and of an exemplary natural and social order. It offers an analysis of the breakdown or corruption of that order and of the human problem, but it also provides an answer to the ever-present threat of evil and chaos. Finally, a religious worldview affords an ethical pattern of action, a way of achieving liberation or enlightenment, and an ideal vision of the goal or end of human life. Part III thus includes analyses of such concepts as deity, cosmogony, the human problem, theodicy, ethics, the ways to salvation or liberation, and the end or goal of salvation. Again, each theme is illustrated by examples drawn from a wide variety of religious belief and behavior, ranging from primal and archaic cultures through the religions of the present.

Part IV addresses the question, What impact has Modernity, that is, the immense changes that have occurred in our social, political, legal, and economic institutions, as well as the wider access to education, the influence of science, technology, and mass communications, had on religious life and institutions today? It then examines the secularization thesis and raises questions about its validity. Finally, it explores contemporary religious Fundamentalism and the changing roles of women in religion and society as two different responses to these modern challenges facing religion today and in the future.

In preparing a new edition of this book I am especially aware of my debt to those teachers who were asked to evaluate the fourth edition and who offered excellent advice. I am, of course, also in the debt of many scholars whose highly specialized studies I was required to consult in updating substantive discussions in the text as well as the notes and suggestions for further reading. The important additions and revisions incorporated in this edition include an entirely new chapter on the response of religion to modernity; an extensive new discussion of the changing roles of women in religion; a new, substantive discussion of New Age religious movements and their significance; more illustrative material from contemporary religious life (e.g., an extended discussion of science and religion), and an extensive updating of the review questions and the suggestions for further reading. I would also like to thank the following reviewers: Linda J. Tessier, Youngstown State University; Scott Jansen, Chaffey College; Steven W. Godby, Broward Community College; Clark M. Brittain, Greenville Technical College; and Winston Davis, Washington and Lee University.

In preparing this edition I am particularly indebted to three individuals for their expert assistance: Tammy Cooper, secretary for the Department of Religion at the College of William and Mary, who kindly assisted with the preparation of early drafts; my wife Jackie, who, as always, has given me invaluable help as a copy editor; and my daughter Susannah, a professional editor, who assisted me in the final process of preparing the text. Her time and expertise were indispensable. I also thank Wendy Yurash, assistant editor at Prentice Hall, for her valuable assistance and her patience over many months, and Karen L. Berry for her excellent work and help. I am delighted to' dedicate this edition to my grandchildren: Max, Peter, Maria, and James, young students on their way.

J. C. L.

Read More Show Less

Introduction

Anatomy of the Sacred is a comprehensive introduction to the nature and variety of religious belief and practice. Designed primarily for those who have not had a previous course in religion, it provides the student with an understanding of what religion is, of the universal forms of religious experience, and of the basic concepts that make up a religious worldview. By employing a comparative analysis across a rich range of ancient and modern religious traditions, this introduction allows students to see the ways in which certain classic forms of religious life appear in different societies over time, as well as to recognize the incredible diversity of human religious expression and belief.

The book is divided into four parts. Part I is concerned with such questions as the problem of defining religion, why it is important to study religion, and how one goes about the task, including the several disciplines or methods used in the study of religion. Each method is illustrated with specific examples from the work of eminent scholars in the field.

Part II is an introduction to the universal forms of religious experience and expression and includes discussions of the sacred and holy; religious symbolism, myth, and doctrine; sacred ritual; sacred scripture; and the social dimensions of religion.

Part III, which constitutes more than half of the book, consists of a comparative analysis of seven concepts, each one representing a fundamental structure or component of a religious worldview. A religious worldview is holistic, that is, it sees nature, human life, and the divine as interrelated and as forming a comprehensive vision of the world. A religion,therefore, includes a conception of sacred power and of an exemplary natural and social order. It offers an analysis of the breakdown or corruption of that order and of the human problem, but it also provides an answer to the ever-present threat of evil and chaos. Finally, a religious worldview affords an ethical pattern of action, a way of achieving liberation or enlightenment, and an ideal vision of the goal or end of human life. Part III thus includes analyses of such concepts as deity, cosmogony, the human problem, theodicy, ethics, the ways to salvation or liberation, and the end or goal of salvation. Again, each theme is illustrated by examples drawn from a wide variety of religious belief and behavior, ranging from primal and archaic cultures through the religions of the present.

Part IV addresses the question, What impact has Modernity, that is, the immense changes that have occurred in our social, political, legal, and economic institutions, as well as the wider access to education, the influence of science, technology, and mass communications, had on religious life and institutions today? It then examines the secularization thesis and raises questions about its validity. Finally, it explores contemporary religious Fundamentalism and the changing roles of women in religion and society as two different responses to these modern challenges facing religion today and in the future.

In preparing a new edition of this book I am especially aware of my debt to those teachers who were asked to evaluate the fourth edition and who offered excellent advice. I am, of course, also in the debt of many scholars whose highly specialized studies I was required to consult in updating substantive discussions in the text as well as the notes and suggestions for further reading. The important additions and revisions incorporated in this edition include an entirely new chapter on the response of religion to modernity; an extensive new discussion of the changing roles of women in religion; a new, substantive discussion of New Age religious movements and their significance; more illustrative material from contemporary religious life (e.g., an extended discussion of science and religion), and an extensive updating of the review questions and the suggestions for further reading. I would also like to thank the following reviewers: Linda J. Tessier, Youngstown State University; Scott Jansen, Chaffey College; Steven W. Godby, Broward Community College; Clark M. Brittain, Greenville Technical College; and Winston Davis, Washington and Lee University.

In preparing this edition I am particularly indebted to three individuals for their expert assistance: Tammy Cooper, secretary for the Department of Religion at the College of William and Mary, who kindly assisted with the preparation of early drafts; my wife Jackie, who, as always, has given me invaluable help as a copy editor; and my daughter Susannah, a professional editor, who assisted me in the final process of preparing the text. Her time and expertise were indispensable. I also thank Wendy Yurash, assistant editor at Prentice Hall, for her valuable assistance and her patience over many months, and Karen L. Berry for her excellent work and help. I am delighted to' dedicate this edition to my grandchildren: Max, Peter, Maria, and James, young students on their way.

J. C. L.

Read More Show Less

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