The Meaning and End of Religion

Fortress Press
Free sample

Wilfred Cantwell Smith, maintained in this vastly important work that Westerners have misperceived religious life by making "religion" into one thing. He shows the inadequacy of "religion" to capture the living, endlessly variable ways and traditions in which religious faith presents itself in the world.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Fortress Press
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Published on
Dec 31, 1963
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Pages
340
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ISBN
9781451420142
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Language
English
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Genres
Religion / Philosophy
Religion / Theology
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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"Scripture" is no longer an absolute. In the last two centuries, as Westerners have become more keenly conscious of the historical character of their own biblical documents, they have also realized the normative function of scripture in other traditions. W.C. Smith's vastly erudite work asks how it is that certain texts have so seeped into human life - in a rich, complex and powerful way - as to be deemed sacred. Examining the history and use of scripture in the world's major religious traditions, he shows how and why scripture continues to carry momentous and at times appalling power in human affairs. That dynamic instability, that irrepressible process, and that stubborn pluralism are not simply modern embarrassments to believers. Rather, for Smith, they provide the essential clues to what "scripture" is. Smith first illustrates, by a fascinating look at the Song of Songs, how texts have both come into and passed out of their status as "scripture." He shows how one text has been differently deemed in Judaism and Christianity and strikingly variously interpreted in different settings and epochs. In ensuing chapters that explore the Jewish, Islamic, Hindu, Buddhist, and other instances, Smith lays bare the diverse strands of a complex historical process of scripture and its modern newly self-conscious phase. In the end, Smith's creative proposal is valuable not only for showing what it means to hold a text as sacred, or to treasure another's scripture, but also for the light it sheds in a troubled culture on what it means to be human.
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