Saving the Appearances: A Study in Idolatry

Saving the Appearances: A Study in Idolatry

by Owen Barfield

Paperback(3rd ed.)

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'Saving the Appearances' is about the world as we see it and the world as it is.
It is about God, nature and the evolution of consciousness.
Barfield takes us on an epic journey through the history of human thought - from the primordial consciousness of early man to that of our own times, evoking a wide range of sources including anthropology, physics, theology, and linguistics.
"Owen Barfield is a paradigm-busting Christian thinker, and this is a book that will not go out of date."

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780955958281
Publisher: Barfield Press UK
Publication date: 01/20/2011
Edition description: 3rd ed.
Pages: 244
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.55(d)

About the Author

A respected philosopher, jurist, and student of the nature of language and human consciousness, OWEN BARFIELD's many books published by Wesleyan include Saving the Appearances (1988), Poetic Diction (1984), and Worlds Apart (1971). He lived in East Sussex, England, at the time of his death in 1997 at the age of 99.

Table of Contents

Introduction to the Wesleyan Edition
The Rainbow
Collective Representations
Figuration and Thinking
Original Participation
Appearance and Hypothesis
Technology and Truth
An Evolution of Idols
The Evolution of Phenomena
Medieval Environment
Some Changes
The Texture of Medieval Thought
Before and After the Scientific Revolution
The Graeco-Roman Age (Mind and Motion)
The Development of Meaning
The Origin of Language
Symptoms of Iconoclasm
Final Participation
Saving the Appearances
Space Time and Wisdom
The Incarnation Of the Word
The Mystery of the Kingdom

What People are Saying About This

Saul Bellow

“We are well supplied with interesting writers, but Owen Barfield is not content to be merely interesting. His ambition is to set us free … from the prison we have made for ourselves by our ways of knowing, our limited and false habits of thought, our ‘common sense’”

From the Publisher

"We are well supplied with interesting writers, but Owen Barfield is not content to be merely interesting. His ambition is to set us free from the prison we have made for ourselves by our ways of knowing, our limited and false habits of thought, our 'common sense'" —Saul Bellow

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Saving the Appearances: A Study in Idolatry 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Saving the Appearances stands out among Owen Barfield's many books as his most straightforward explication of the evolution of consciousness. Barfield preps the reader with the philosophical puzzles of perception, but then goes way beyond perceptual psychology. He puts those puzzles side by side with what in the West is taken to be common sense regarding the nature of reality, common sense as informed by science. The implications of this juxtaposition of perceptual facts and scientific method are profound and demanding: a) human consciousness and the appearances of the everyday world are correlates of one another, and have been so throughout human history; and b) there is no other reality 'behind' those appearances of the everyday world. Barfield pays close attention to the history of human languages, specifically the phenomena of change of meaning in words through time. These changes reflect the changes in human perception and thinking, and thus are clues and markers to the evolution of human consciousness. Barfield then traces out the implications for us today, for our thinking about art, about science, and about religion and spirituality. Other and more extended implications have been drawn from Saving the Appearances by Theodore Roszak (Where the Wasteland Ends), Morris Berman (The Reenchantment of the World), Stephen Talbott (The Future Does Not Compute), Neil Evernden (The Social Creation of Nature), and others. There are many, many books out now concerned with consciousness: what it is; what it isn't; its relation to the body; how can we study it. And there are almost as many books about the evolution of consciousness. These are written by philosophers, scientists, psychologists, historians, and metaphysicians of all sorts. Unique to Saving the Appearances is the combination of Barfield's keen logic and congenial style, and his wide-ranging and powerfully synthesizing mind. What is unique for the reader is the possibility of the opening up of the field of the senses, whereby one sees more than one did before. Reading, and wrestling with, the line of thinking in Saving the Appearances offers the possibility of the redemption of the senses. Saving the Appearances is not the work of an amateur, though it is congenial enough for an amateur to read, and careful and thoughtful enough for a scholar to refute. It will bear close scrutiny and deep meditation.
adamtarn on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book is like really, really rich chocolate cake - it will require a long time to digest - and a couple more future readings. This is one of those instances - and it might just be my lack of comprehension and a density to all things philosophical - but there were many paragraphs I had to read over and over and only then did I have even the faintest idea of what Barfield might have been getting at.My briefest explanation - and this does not do it justice - would be that it is firstly a treatise on the evolution of human consciousness and secondly could be considered - in part - a study in the history of ideas, religion, language, philosophy, anthropology, theology, imagination, iconoclasm and so much more all rolled into one.That being said it is not entirely backward looking but also future looking. It could be seen as a kind of prophetic word to humankind in general and the church - the nursing mother as Barfield puts it - in particular. Over all it definitely cultivates some serious beta-thinking on behalf of your entire mass of grey cells.