Defining Religion: Essays in Philosophy of Religion

SUNY Press
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 Provides a new orientation to philosophy of religion and a new theory of how religion ought to be defined.
In this collection of essays, written over the past decade, Robert Cummings Neville addresses contemporary debates about the concept of religion and the importance of the comparative method in theology, while advancing and defending his own original definition of religion. Neville’s hypothesis is that religion is a cognitive, existential, and practical engagement of ultimate realities—five ultimate conditions of existence that need to be engaged by human beings. The essays, which range from formal articles to invited lectures, develop this hypothesis and explore its ramifications in religious experience, philosophical theology, religious studies, and the works of important thinkers in philosophy of religion. Defining Religion is an excellent introduction to Neville’s work, especially to the systematic philosophical theology presented in his magisterial three-volume set Philosophical Theology.
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About the author

 Robert Cummings Neville is Professor of Philosophy, Religion, and Theology and Dean Emeritus of the School of Theology at Boston University. He is the author of many books, including The Good Is One, Its Manifestations Many: Confucian Essays on Metaphysics, Morals, Rituals, Institutions, and Genders, also published by SUNY Press.

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Additional Information

SUNY Press
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Published on
Jan 18, 2018
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Philosophy / Religious
Religion / Philosophy
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Complete 3 volume set available for special price: Philosophical Theology Set (Volumes 1, 2 and 3)

The concluding volume in a trilogy advancing a systematic philosophical theology, this book presents a plausible sacred worldview for religious participation.

Religion is the third and final volume in Robert Cummings Neville’s systematic development of a new philosophical theology. Unfolding through his earlier volumes, Ultimates and Existence, and now in Religion, philosophical theology considers first-order questions generally treated by religious traditions through philosophical methods while reflecting Neville’s long engagement with philosophy, theology, and Eastern and Western religious traditions. In this capstone to the trilogy, Neville provides a theory of religion and presents a sacred worldview to guide religious participation. His philosophical theory of value enlightens religions’ approaches to ethics, spirituality, and religious institutional living and collaboration. With a detailed examination of plausibility conditions for sacred worldviews, the book concludes with an exploration of “religionless religion” for which institutions of religion are of penultimate value.

Through the development of philosophical theology, Neville has built a unique, multidisciplinary, comparative, nonconfessional theological system, one that addresses concerns and provides tools for scientific and humanistic scholars of religion, postmodern thinkers, intellectuals from both secular and religious backgrounds, and those interested in the global state of religion today.

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