Sacred Place

Bloomsbury Publishing
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This book explores the function of buildings for worship, shrines and pilgrimage centers, and the part they play in the lives of individuals and the community, while also recognizing that "sacred place" is not defined as architectural buildings.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Bloomsbury Publishing
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Published on
Jan 1, 2001
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Pages
200
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ISBN
9781623566234
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Language
English
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Genres
Religion / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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John Bowker
Albert Einstein once remarked that behind all observable things lay something quite unknowable. And the motivation for his own work in physics stemmed from something as apparently innocuous as his father first showing him a compass when he was a boy. Yet the wonder and inspiration of that moment, which he never forgot, led ultimately to his own stupendous scientific breakthroughs. This book explores that special territory perceived by Einstein: where the unknown takes over from everything that is understandable, familiar, explicable. And that interface between known and unknown is of the very greatest importance: it lies at the heart of the human quest to take knowledge beyond the boundaries of the known. It is what scientists do when they undertake their research, from the trajectories of comets to the replication of cells. But is is also what religious people do when they start to explore their spirituality, and their relationship with what they perceive to be the divine. This mutual effort to 'know the unknowable' is a profoundly important way in which human beings explore the limits of themselves, as well as of the universe. It is best understood not as a roadblock, or a frustrating dead end, but rather as an invitation to fresh marvels and mystery. This groundbreaking book brings together both scientists and theologians (including Rowan Williams, the current Archbishop of Canterbury, and distinguished astrophysicist and astronomer Ramanath Cowsik) to explore the implications of what such an invitation means in practice. It explores important topics like cosmological absence, negativity in Christian mysticism, and the 'hiddenness' of God in Buddhism. Despite the differences between the scientific and religious responses to the unknowable, what emerges is a common spirit of enquiry, which strives to make sense of concealment.
John Bowker
Why do we think that things happen in the way that they do? Why do we think that some things are beautiful, and other things ugly? Why do we think that some things are good, and other things evil? Why do we think that some things are true, and other things false? These are old and traditional questions. In the past they have been answered by separating our emotional from our rational responses. But recent work in the neurosciences suggests that the questions now deserve very different answers. In his fascinating and original new book, John Bowker shows that reason and emotion work much more closely together in forming human opinions and judgements than has previously been supposed. This discovery has stunning implications for the increasingly dangerous relationship between different religions and cultures, and also for the human sense of God. The Sacred Neuron is a masterful survey of some key topics in science and religion, which will be sure to amaze and delight the author's many admirers. ‘Whether goodness will survive modernity is one of the most urgent questions of our age. In this lucid and erudite work, John Bowker discovers the surprising outlines of an answer.’ - Bryan Appleyard, author and journalist ‘Never was a book more timely for the world. Just when it seems that moral absolutes have either been swept away or have staged a frightening and unyielding comeback, John Bowker steps forward to explain how we can find some sure footing in the world of aesthetic and moral ambiguities. Citing the latest scientific research and drawing on cultural references that range from Stravinsky to Bertrand Russell, and from George Orwell to John Betjeman, he offers us new insights into how we can claim something is beautiful or something is good. Then with meticulous scholarship, he traces the origin of religions in the human community and explains how and why the need for them persists. The Sacred Neuron is a seriously impressive book.’ – Joan Bakewell, writer and broadcaster 'Scholarship of this quality is so rare, particularly in the domain of "science and religion". Bowker's discussion of 'truth' and its relevance to an understanding of the world's religions and the animosities between them is replete with a poignant wisdom, born of his great understanding of so many religious traditions. The Sacred Neuron is an eloquent testimony to the value of informed interdisciplinary reflection.' - John Hedley Brooke, Andreas Idreos Professor of Science and Religion, University of Oxford ‘The Sacred Neuron is a rare mixture of intellectual, religious, aesthetic and ethical history and theology, all enhanced by John Bowker’s special compound of meticulous scholarship and deep faith. The book is brave and broad. Reading it mingles fascination with pleasure.’ - Peter Hennessy, Attlee Professor of Contemporary History, Queen Mary, University of London 'The Sacred Neuron is one of the first books to take seriously the impact of modern neuroscience on how our perception of the external world must affect our understanding of emotion, rationality, ethics and religion. With great charm and humour, and with extraordinary breadth of scholarship, Bowker shows how religious experience might be said to have meaning in the twenty-first century. His book will become a classic.' - Mark Williams, Professor of Clinical Psychology, University of Oxford
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