The Sacred Quest: An Invitation to the Study of Religion / Edition 3

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This book provides a thematic and comparative approach to the study of religion. The focus of individual chapters gives equal weight to both theoretical issues and to practices as they are reflected in the major religions of the world. These chapter topics include a definition of religion; the nature, appearance, and language of the sacred; ritual; sacred communities; the problem of evil; religion and morality; and the quest for salvation. For anyone interested in a formal study of religion.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780130209948
  • Publisher: Pearson
  • Publication date: 10/28/2001
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Edition number: 3
  • Pages: 176
  • Product dimensions: 6.06 (w) x 9.02 (h) x 0.39 (d)

Table of Contents




The Breadth and Depth of Religious Experience   

A Brief Outline of the Phenomenological Method 

Attitudes and Institutions in the Study of Religion

A Final Word   


Suggestions for Further Reading.


1. Toward a Definition of Religion.

The Search for a Definition of Religion   

Elements of Religion   

    Religion and Human Thought  

    Religion and Feeling  

    Religion and Action  

    Individual and Social Existence 

    Values and Religion  

Substance or Function?   

Toward Resolution  

A Proposal  

In Conclusion  


Suggestions for Further Reading.


2. The Nature of the Sacred.

The Complex Character of the Sacred  

The Concept of Sacred Reality  

    Specially Distinctive  

    To Some Extent, Beyond the Volitional Control of Human Beings  

    Specially Prominent with Respect to Human Welfare  

    Properly Determinative of Various Aspects of HumanExistence  



Suggestions for Further Reading   


3. The Appearance of the Sacred.

Types of Sacred Appearance   

Varieties of Media   

    Sacred Objects   

    Sacred Time  

    Sacred Space 

Sacred Appearance and the Complexity of Traditions  


Suggestions for Further Reading  


4. The Language(s) of the Sacred.



Story as Parable   

The Preservation of Sacred Language   

    Oral Cultures   

    Scriptural Cultures   

A Summary and Synthesis  

The Language of Theology   

The Visual Language of Religion  

Language and Truth  


Suggestions for Further Reading.


5. Ritual.

Myth(os) and Ritual  

    The Passover  

    Holy Communion (The Eucharist)  

Rites of Passage  

    Birth Rituals  

    Rituals of Initiation  

     Rituals of Mourning and Death  

Temporal Rites and Celebrations   

The Religious Meaning(s) of Ritual   





Ritual as a Problem   

Ritual as a System  


Suggestions for Further Reading.


6. Sacred Communities.

The Social Character of Religion  

Religion and Social Resistance  


Tradition and Innovation  

The Social Aspects of Worship  

A Word of Conclusion   


Suggestions for Further Reading.


7. The Problem of Evil.

Identifying Evil   

Responses to Evil: Some Classic Patterns  

    Evil and Karma: The Indian Context  

    The Consolation of Promise  

    The Appeal to Sovereignty   


Are the Answers Adequate? 


Suggestions for Further Reading.


8. Religion and Morality.

Defining the Issues   

Religion, Morality, and Justification  

Justification: General Considerations

Practical Justification: Three Cases   

    Hinduism: The Caste System  

    Islam: The Justification and Limitation of War  

    Christianity: Why Pray?  

Religion and Morality: Patterns  


Suggestions for Further Reading.


9. The Quest for Salvation.

Concepts of Salvation

Individual Salvation in This World 

    The Search for Meaning  

    The Desire to Be Remembered  

    The Ideal of Completion   

Individual Salvation in Another World   

    Joining the Spirit World   

    Cosmic Cycling or Expansion   

    The Idea of Judgment   

Group Salvation in This World   

    Salvation Through the People

    Salvation Through the Tradition   

    Salvation in the Kingdom of God in This World   

Group Salvation in Another World   

Now That Distinctions Have Been Made    

Paths to Salvation   

    The Path of Knowledge   

    The Path of Action   

    The Path of Aesthetics   

    The Path of Submission   

    The Path of Grace   

A Closing Reminder   


Suggestions for Further Reading.





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