Dictionary of Contemporary Religion in the Western World: Exploring Living Faiths in Postmodern Contexts

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Slumbering secularists and insular religionists, seemingly unaware of the spiritual brooks and streams that have persistently watered their cultural landscape, are awakening to a different world. And now the Internet, a torrent of endless discourse, overflows with religious curiosity and quests, spilling over the boundaries of formal religion and bypassing its gatekeepers. Understanding this diverse world can tax our knowledge and elude our categories. The ancient ancestral boundaries of the world's religions ...
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Overview

Slumbering secularists and insular religionists, seemingly unaware of the spiritual brooks and streams that have persistently watered their cultural landscape, are awakening to a different world. And now the Internet, a torrent of endless discourse, overflows with religious curiosity and quests, spilling over the boundaries of formal religion and bypassing its gatekeepers. Understanding this diverse world can tax our knowledge and elude our categories. The ancient ancestral boundaries of the world's religions have been moved, breached or even erased. The people with whom we work and shop, commute and play represent a wide variety of religious faiths -- ancient or new or reconstrued -- or no faith at all. A Buddhist temple, no longer a postcard curiosity of Kamakura or Kampuchea, is a fixture of the North American heartland. Ancient faiths have themselves been stress-tested in their transition to modernity and then post-modernity. And an astounding variety of new religious movements and spiritualities have condensed on the cultural landscape with the changing spiritual atmosphere. How can we understand this world? Where can we gain quick access to reliable information on contemporary religion?

The Dictionary of Contemporary Religion in the Western World provides unique and valuable access to this burgeoning world of religions, spiritualities and religious movements. It offers an overview of the contemporary blooms of perennial species -- Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism and Christianity -- but not to the neglect of Confucianism, Jainism, Shintoism, Taoism, Tantrism and Zoroastrianism. Even the cultural influence and interaction of religion is mapped in a minilibrary of articles on "Religion and ..." -- the arts, the environment, education, globalization, human rights, media, philosophy, politics, psychology, science, sexuality and so forth. A panoply of new religious movements is unfurled in articles ordering them under their mother religions or native soils. And the hybrid buds of new age spiritualities and therapies, psychedelic spirituality and parapsychology, neopaganism and UFOism, as well as other contemporary and postmodern religious impulses are carefully probed. Among one-volume reference books on religion, the Dictionary of Contemporary Religion in the Western World distinguishes itself by its profile. It will be a sought-after resource for ministers and religious leaders, teachers and students, educational and church libraries, and anyone seriously engaged in the changing interface between religion and culture.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Contains some 100 articles written by religious and theological scholars addressing a wide spectrum of religious issues and movements of relevance to contemporary Western culture. In the first part are articles dealing with general and introductory issues and concepts. The second part presents articles on specific religions and spiritualities. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780830814367
  • Publisher: InterVarsity Press
  • Publication date: 3/28/2002
  • Pages: 390
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.60 (d)

Table of Contents

Abbreviations vi
List of contributors viii
Introduction 1
Part 17
Part 2153
Index of names 369
Index of subjects 374
Index of articles 389
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