Introduction to the Study of Religion / Edition 2

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Introduction to the Study of Religion

A timely revision of classic introductory text.

What is the nature of religious experience? How does religion shape the actions of individuals and communities? How does religion promote or inhibit human development and well-being? Developed and tested through team teaching and refined through a decade of classroom use, Introduction to the Study of Religion brings together examples from a variety of world religions to explore these questions. This second edition has been thoroughly updated and includes new examples, new themes such as religious fundamentalism and violence, and a new emphasis on religion and environmental issues:

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781570759970
  • Publisher: Orbis Books
  • Publication date: 10/1/2012
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 476,180
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction to the Second Edition xi

Part I Human Experience and Religion 5

1 Creating Order and Meaning 5

Shaping Human Experience 5

Order and Meaning 10

The Symbolic Process 16

Cultures and Cosmologies 20

Experience and Imagination 25

The Aryans and Vedic Religion 26

The Haudenosaunee and Longhouse Religion 30

Resources 35

2 Religious Understandings of Life 41

The Power of Life 41

Land in Warlpiri Experience 43

Freedom in Jewish Experience 47

Sacred Space and Sacred Time 54

Person, Self, and Experience 59

Resources 62

3 The Study of Religion 67

Nature, Culture, and Religion 67

Culture-A Shared Pattern for Living 70

Studying Religion 75

Defining Religion 79

Science and Religion 82

Symbolic Forms 83

Resources 88

Part II Religious Action

4 Ritual Action 95

Religious Ritual 97

Symbolic/Expressive Dimensions of Ritual 98

Personal and Social Functions of Ritual 102

Types of Religious Ritual 104

Summary 119

Resources 119

5 Ethical Action 123

Religious Ethics 126

Religion as a Source of Ethics 128

Norms for Moral Conduct 129

Norms for Moral Character 139

Social Ethics 152

The Relationship between Symbolic and Practical Religious Action 156

Ritual and Moral Pedagogy 157

Ritual and Moral Redemption 159

Ritual and Moral Transformation 162

Summary 164

Resources 165

Part III Religious Language

6 Talking about the Sacred 171

Religious Language and Figurative Language: Sides of the Same Coin 173

Religious Metaphors: Here One Century, Gone the Next 175

Myth 181

Prophets Who Challenge the Status Quo 197

Many Types of Religious Language 200

Summary 203

Resources 204

7 Scriptures, Canons, and Creeds 209

Scripture 209

Why Scripture and Not the Bible? 217

Reading Religious Literature 225

Critical Reading for Meaning Inside and Outside a Religious Tradition 229

The World within the Text 230

Thinking with Scriptures 232

Doctrines and Creeds 235

Summary 238

Resources 240

Part IV Religious Change

8 Personal Religious Change 247

Personal Religious Change as Development 248

Personal Religious Change as Conversion 251

Development and Conversion in an Individual Life 260

Personal Conversion and New Religions 263

From Personal to Communal Religious Development 265

Summary 270

Resources 270

9 Communal Religious Change 275

Renewal and Reform within a Religion 281

Social Change as a Catalyst for Religious Change 284

Cultural Contact and Religious Change 289

Religion as a Catalyst for Social Change 296

Resistance to Change 299

Summary 304

Resources 307

Part V Religious Authenticity

10 Alienation 315

The Religious Legitimation of Cultural Biases 317

Alienating Images of God 328

The Tendencies of Religious Authorities to Control 332

Religious Responses in the Face of Suffering 334

Personal Sources of Alienation 336

Responses to Alienation 338

Cults 339

Religion Understood as Totally Alienating 343

The Ambiguity of Religion 344

Summary 345

Resources 345

11 Reconcilling Religion 349

Personal Reconciliation within the Community 349

Conflicting Worldviews 352

The Confession of Transgressions 353

Reconciliation between Religious Groups 359

Reconciliation to Oneself 362

Buddhism and Inner Peace 374

The Concept of Reconciliation in Review 377

Conclusion 378

Resources 378

Glossary 381

Index 395

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