The Sacraments: An Interdisciplinary and Interactive Study

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Overview

What are the sacraments, really?

For centuries, the religious lives of Catholics and other Christians have revolved around church rituals with generally accepted individual and social effects. What, precisely, are those effects, and how are they produced? Traditional theology used Greek philosophy to understand the sacraments and how they work. But is there no other way to understand them? In fact, there are a number of ways, and this book invites you to look at the sacraments through a variety of lenses: psychology, sociology, anthropology, history, theology, morality, and spirituality.

As the introduction to this volume challenges, If you read this book, and especially if you engage in the interactive study to which it invites you, your understanding of sacraments will be changed forever."

To help personalize your investigation, the author has created a web site with thought-provoking questions that encourage you to interact with the ideas being proposed in this volume. To engage these topics more deeply, see www.TheSacraments.org.

Joseph Martos is author of Doors to the Sacred: A Historical Introduction to Sacraments in the Catholic Church, which for more than a quarter of a century has been the most widely read book on the subject. Recently retired from full-time teaching, he has been a visiting professor in universities and theology schools in Canada and Australia as well as around the United States.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

As a textbook for an undergraduate course in the sacraments or an introduction to religious studies, this book provides clearly written and well organized themes for discussion or debate. It is a pedagogical gem, in that its interactive style allows for the experience and questions of students/readers to count.
Catholic Studies

The book is a welcome addition to the literature (and web sites) available to college instructors in sacramental theology.
Horizons

The book provides a concise, insightful, and challenging overview of contemporary sacramental theology. Online interactive resources offer opportunity for experiential learning and personal transformation. This is the first book that I will recommend to anyone seeking deeper understanding and more effective practice of Catholic sacraments.
The Midwest Book Review

I recommend this volume for all professors and students of sacraments and liturgy and anyone else who wants a fine introduction to a varied approach to sacraments.
Liturgical Ministry

In this book Martos has done much more than simply revise and extend his previous works on sacraments. He has distilled the wisdom of the last century’s work at reform and renewal in clear, nontechnical language and he has laid a solid foundation for future development. The book provides a concise, insightful, and challenging overview of contemporary sacramental theology. Online interactive resources offer opportunity for experiential learning and personal transformation. This is the first book that I will recommend to anyone seeking deeper understanding and more effective practice of the Catholic sacraments.
James Dallen, Emeritus Professor of Religious Studies, Gonzaga University, Spokane, Washington

Building on his previous work in sacramental theology and history, Joseph Martos now gives us the best text for teaching sacramental theology from a pastoral point of view. Martos does not follow the usual method of dealing with the seven sacraments of beginning with the New Testament and proceeding through the patristic and medieval times, through the Counter Reformation up to modern time, an approach not very attractive to present students. Rather, he reorganizes this material according the social sciences: psychology, sociology, ritual studies, and history before dealing with the theology, morality, and spirituality of the sacraments. This should prove to be immensely more attractive to students today.
Jake Empereur, SJ, St. Matthew Catholic Church, San Antonio, Texas

This new edition of Joseph Martos’ The Sacraments delightfully draws one in. The interactive text complete with online questions and discussion is not only a scholarly guide to the sacraments but a bold and challenging engagement with the experience of Christian ritual. A book to be savored by anyone interested in the role of ritual in human life, it is the best introduction to Catholic sacraments now available.
Gary Macy, John Nobili, S.J. Professor of Theology, Santa Clara University, California

Joseph Martos demonstrated many years ago that he was a very competent sacramental theologian. He demonstrates it here again, only this time in a creative, interactive way that yields a new and fruitful approach to Catholic sacraments. Readers will learn much from simply reading the book. They will learn even more by taking advantage of the interactive website Dr. Martos has set up to enable conversation with him on questions that arise from readers’ reflection on what they read. I urge every reader to interactively use this website; they will not be disappointed.
Michael G. Lawler, Professor Emeritus of Catholic Theology, Creighton University, Omaha, Nebraska

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814653692
  • Publisher: Liturgical Press, The
  • Publication date: 10/28/2009
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 280
  • Sales rank: 557,940
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author


Joseph Martos is author of Doors to the Sacred: A Historical Introduction to Sacraments in the Catholic Church, which for more than a quarter of a century has been the most widely read book on the subject. Recently retired from full-time teaching, he has been a visiting professor in universities and theology schools in Canada and Australia as well as around the United States.
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Table of Contents

Preface v

Introduction 1

Invitation 5

1 Psychology and the Sacraments 7

1 Psychological Dimensions of the Sacraments 7

2 The Sacred Dimension 9

3 The Symbolic Dimension 16

4 The Ritual Dimension 23

2 Social Dimensions of the Sacraments 34

1 Social Dimensions of the Sacraments 34

2 The Functional Dimension 36

3 The Effective Dimension 42

4 The Historical Dimension 51

a Early Forms of Religions of the Sacraments 52

b Religion and Consciousness in the Classical World 53

c Modern Consciousness and Religion 56

3 Ritual Studies and the Sacraments 63

1 The Emergence of Ritual Studies 63

2 Types of Rituals 66

a Calendrical or Commemorative Rites 66

b Transition Rituals or Rites of Passage 68

c Rites of Exchange and Communion 71

d Rites of Purification, Healing, and Affection 76

e Rites of Feasting and Fasting 79

f Political or Governmental Rites 80

3 Characteristics of Ritual 82

a Formalism or Formality 83

b Traditionalism 84

c Invariance 84

d Rule Governance 85

e Sacred Symbolism 87

f Performance 89

4 .Ritual Sensibility 91

a Ritualization 92

b Decorum 92

c Ceremony 93

d Magic 94

e Liturgy 97

f Celebration 99

4 The Sacraments in History 105

1 Historical Investigation into the Sacraments 105

2 The Apostolic Period 108

3 The Patristic Period 111

4 The Medieval Period 113

5 The Tridentine Period 116

6 The Contemporary period 118

5 The Sacraments in Theology 124

1 Theological Developments Affecting the Sacraments 125

2 The Scholastic Approach 130

3 The Approach of Vatican II 134

4 Existential and phenomenological Approaches 137

5 A Liberation Approach 142

6 Foundational/Transformational Approaches149

7 A Postmodern Approache 154

8 Liturgical Approaches 161

9 Approaches as Models 169

6 The Sacraments and Morality 178

1 Examining Worship and Ethics 179

2 The Paschal Mystery and Personal Morality 184

3 The Kingdom of God and Social Justice 192

a Baptism 196

b Confirmation 199

c Reconciliation 201

d Anointing of the Sick 203

e Marriage 205

f Ordination 207

g Eucharist 210

7 The Sacraments and Spirituality 217

1 Personal Spirituality 218

2 Communal Spirituality 225

3 Ecclesial Spirituality 237

4 Global Spirituality 244

Conclusion 262

Afterword 225

Index 267

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