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The Importance of Religion

Flood, Gavin D.:
The Importance of Religion : Meaning and Action in our Strange World / Gavin Flood. - Malden, Mass. ; Oxford : Wiley-Blackwell, 2012. - xvi, 249 S.
ISBN 978-1-4051-8971-2
£ 17,90 / EUR 21,60
DDC: 210

The Importance of Religion reveals the significance of religion in modern times, showing how it provides people with meaning to their lives and helps guide them in their everyday moral choices
   - Provides readers with a new understanding of religion, demonstrating how in its actions, texts and world views religion is enduring and vividly engages with the mystery of the world
   - Offers striking arguments about the relationship of religion to science, art and politics
   - Engagingly written by a highly respected scholar of religion with an international reputation [Verlagsinformation]

Preface. xi
Acknowledgments. xv
Introduction: Religion and the Human Condition. 1
   Mediating Our Strange World. 6
   Theories of Religion. 8
   Religion and Religions. 12
   Defining Religion. 14
   The Argument. 17
   Alienation and the Human Condition. 17
   The Primacy of Perception and the System of Signs. 23
   The Invisible and the Transcendent. 24
   The Truths of Religion. 26
   Conclusion. 27
1. Clearing the Ground. 37
   Reification: The Marxist Legacy. 40
   Rationalization: The Weberian Legacy. 44
   Knowledge and Action. 46
   Methodology. 49
   Conclusion. 50
2. The Meaning of Religious Action. 53
   The Sociology of Religious Meaning. 55
   Meaning and Action. 58
   Moral Acts. 60
   Ritual and the Body. 63
   A Rite of Affliction. 66
   The Meaning of Sacrifice. 69
   A Phenomenology of Sacrifice. 71
   The Meanings of Death. 73
   Conclusion. 74
3. The Inner Journey. 80
   Languages of Spirituality. 83
   The Spiritual Habitus. 91
   Conclusion. 95
4. The Reception of the Text. 101
   Routes to the World of Life. 102
   Theories of the Text. 106
   The Reception of Sacred Texts. 109
   Sacred Text and Act. 111
   Conclusion. 113
5. Tradition, Language, and the Self. 115
   Linguistic Universals. 117
   Linguistic Relativity. 118
   Language and Religious Experience. 122
   Language as a Model of Religion. 125
   Conclusion. 127
6. Religion and Rationality. 130
   What is Rationality? 131
   Rational Religious Communities. 139
   Rationality and Cosmology. 141
   Conclusion. 146
7. The Mystery of Complexity and Emergence. 153
   A History of Antagonism. 155
   Complexity and Constraint. 159
   The Ontology of Process. 164
   Conclusion. 166
8. The Union of Nature and Imagination. 171
   Art and the Real. 172
   Cosmological Art. 175
   Pavel Florensky. 177
   Abhinavagupta. 178
   Secular Art. 180
   Re-Spiritualizing Art. 182
   Conclusion. 185
9. Religion and Politics. 189
   Religion in the Public Sphere. 190
   The Secular Public Sphere. 195
   The Traditionalist View. 197
   Fundamentalism. 200
   The Religious Citizen. 201
   Conclusion. 205
Summary. 210
Epilogue. 217
References. 221
Index. 237


GAVIN FLOOD is Professor of Hindu Studies and Comparative Religion at the University of Oxford where he is also the Academic Director of the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies. He is the author of Introduction to Hinduism (1996) and The Ascetic Self: Subjectivity, Memory, Tradition (2006); and editor of the Blackwell Companion to Hinduism (Wiley-Blackwell, 2003). Faculty page.

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