Huston Smith: Essays in World Religion / Edition 1

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A challenging and provocative collection of essays on comparative philosophy, religion and culture from one of the foremost thinkers of our time, this volume gathers Huston Smith's most insightful and important reflections on the state of the human spiritual life. With a range and depth seldom seen in contemporary religious studies, Smith examines the contributions of religion and philosophy to the world's great civilizations, both past and present. He explores the traditions of East Asia, South Asia, and the West, discusses the importance of comparative studies in a religiously pluralistic world in energetic prose that can be appreciated by both the layman and the student.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Marked by clarity, rare philosophical depth and a truly global perspective, these 19 essays in comparative religion are filled with challenging ideas and bold speculations. Smith ( The Religions of Man ) argues that each of the world's three great civilizations has overspecialized--the West in natural wisdom, China in social ethics, India in religious psychology--with disastrous consequences for each culture. He looks to Taoism for guidance in solving the ecological crisis, faults postmodernism for its blindness to transcendent experience, and interprets Western philosophy as a great religious enterprise fueled by a thrust toward transcendence. On a more mundane level, Smith discusses spiritual discipline in Zen, analyzes Tibetan lamas' chants and offers insights on Japanese Shintoism, the Christian ecumenical movement, ancient Vedic priests' imbibing of soma (possibly a psychedelic mushroom, he concludes) and how to teach religion. These highly accessible essays previously appeared in scholarly journals or books. (June)
Library Journal
Many scholars of religion began their studies by reading Smith's The Religions of Man (1964). His essays, previously scattered in numerous hard-to-find journals, are finally available in one convenient volume. The 19 pieces collected here delineate the three-decade intellectual journey of a scholar directly involved in the quest for religious knowledge. Eclectic and rich in scope, the subject matter ranges from Taoism and ecology, the Vedic-Soma experience, Tibetan magical chanting, and the treatment of Western philosophies as religions to the impact of postmodernism on the study of religions. All the essays are tightly argued and beautifully written; a few are sure to be controversial. A perfect companion to The Religions of Man and necessary reading for anyone interested in religious studies. Recommended for public and academic libraries.-- Glenn Masuchika, Chaminade Univ. Lib., Honolulu
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781557784476
  • Publisher: Paragon House Publishers
  • Publication date: 4/23/1998
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 290
  • Lexile: 1310L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.32 (w) x 9.32 (h) x 1.13 (d)

Meet the Author

Huston Smith, author of The Religions of Man, is the Thomas J. Watson Professor of Religion and Distinguished Adjunct Professor of Philosophy, at Syracuse University; Sometime Visiting Professor of Religious Studies, University of California, Berkeley.

M. Darroll Bryant, is professor of Religion and Culture at Renison College and Chairman of the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Waterloo in Ontario.

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Table of Contents

Foreword by Huston Smith Acknowledgments Introduction

I. Foundations Accents of the World’s Philosophies Accents of the World’s Religions Truth in Comparative Perspective

II. The Splendid Prism East Asia Transcendence in Traditional China Tao Now: An Ecological Testament A Note on Shinto Spiritual Discipline in Zen and Comparative Perspective
“Celestial Mirages”: Reflections on Thought and Truth South Asia India and the Infinite Vedic Religion and the Soma Experience The Importance of the Buddha Tibetan Chant: Inducing the Spirit The West The Western Way: An Essay on Reason and the Given The Conceptual Crisis in the Modern West Western Philosophy as a Great Religion

III. Consequences: Social, Educational, and Ecumenical The Relevance of the Great Religions for the Modern World Another World to Live in, or How I Teach the Introductory Course This Ecumenical Moment: What Are We Seeking?
Postmodernism’s Impact on the Study of Religion

Bibliography Index.

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