Religion as Poetry

Transaction Publishers
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Religion as Poetry continues in the grand tradition of the sociology of religion pioneered by Emile Durkheim, Max Weber, and Talcott Parsons, among other giants in intellectual history. Too many present-day sociologists either ignore or disparage religious currents. In this provocative book, Andrew M. Greeley argues that various religions have endured for thousands of years as poetic rituals and stories. Religion as Poetry proposes a theoretical framework for understanding religion that emphasizes insights derived from religious stories. By virtue of his own rare abilities as a novelist as well as sociologist, Greeley is uniquely qualified for this task. Greeley first considers classical theories of the sociology of religion, and then, drawing upon them, he explicates his own interpretation. He critically examines the viewpoint that society is becoming more secular, and that religion is declining. He observes that this theory stands in the way of persuading sociologists that religion is still worth studying. In contrast, Greeley is interested in why religions persist despite secular trends and alongside them. He argues that it is poetic elements that touch the human soul. Greeley then sets out to test this viewpoint. Greeley maintains that his theory is not the only, or necessarily even the best approach to study religion. Rather, it is his contention that it uniquely provides sociologists with perspectives on religion that other theories too often overlook or disregard. Religion as Poetry, an original and intriguing study by a distinguished social scientist and major novelist, will be enjoyed and evaluated by sociologists, ' theologians, and philosophers alike.
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About the author

Andrew M. Greeley (1928-2013) was a Catholic priest, best-selling novelist, and sociologist. He was professor of social science at the University of Chicago and member of its National Opinion Research Center (NORC). His books include Faithful Attraction, The Denominational Society, Unsecular Man, Death and Beyond, and The Church and the Suburbs.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Transaction Publishers
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Published on
Dec 31, 2011
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Pages
281
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ISBN
9781412832953
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Best For
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Language
English
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Genres
Philosophy / Social
Social Science / Sociology / General
Social Science / Sociology of Religion
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Catholics live in an enchanted world: a world of statues and holy water, stained glass and votive candles, saints and religious medals, rosary beads and holy pictures. But these Catholic paraphernalia are merely hints of a deeper and more pervasive religious sensibility that inclines Catholics to see the Holy lurking in creation. The world of the Catholic is haunted by a sense that the objects, events, and persons of daily life are revelations of Grace. In this fascinating discussion of what is unique about the Catholic worldview and culture and what distinguishes it from Protestantism, Andrew Greeley--one of the most popular and prolific authors writing today--examines the religious imagination that shapes Catholics' lives.

In a lively and engaging narrative, Greeley discusses the central themes of Catholic culture: Sacrament, Salvation, Community, Festival, Structure, Erotic Desire, and the Mother Love of God. Ranging widely from Bernini to Scorsese, Greeley distills these themes from the high arts of Catholic culture and asks: Do these values really influence people's lives? Using international survey data, he shows the counterintuitive ways in which Catholics are defined. He goes on to root these behaviors in the Catholic imagination.

As he identifies and explores the fertile terrain of Catholic culture, Greeley illustrates the enduring power of particular stories, images, and orientations in shaping Catholics' lived experience. He challenges a host of assumptions about who Catholics are and makes a strong case for the vitality of the culture today. The Catholic imagination is sustained and passed on in relationships, the home, and the community, Greeley shows. Absorbing, compassionate, and deeply informed, this book provides an entirely new perspective on the nature and role of religion in daily life for Catholics and non-Catholics alike.
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