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By Daniel Gold

This e-book addresses a basic trouble in spiritual reports. Exploring the stress among humanistic and social clinical ways to pondering and writing approximately faith, Daniel Gold develops a line of argument that starts with the aesthetics of educational writing within the box. He indicates that profitable writers on faith hire attribute aesthetic thoughts in speaking their visions of human truths. Gold examines those suggestions with reference to epistemology and to the research of faith as a collective pastime.

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Additional info for Aesthetics and Analysis in Writing on Religion: Modern Fascinations (BFI Modern Classics)

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Truly, Goodenough liked religion, but almost regretfully, he believed in science. the fascinating stuff of religious life If both Harrison and Goodenough felt the need to abandon traditional theology to restore the truth of religion, just where in tradition did they find the truth to restore? Harrison gives us a straightforward answer: it is not exactly religion that is the focus of her attention but ritual, which for her links religion and art: “When I say ‘religion,’ I am instantly obliged to correct myself; it is not religion, it is ritual that absorbs me.

Like their more positivist fellows, these religiously oriented scholars reveal differently nuanced personal ambivalences to diverse materials of tradition. As their feelings about what they study become less straightforward, moreover, scholars from both sides of the spectrum seem to approach some common grounds. Crucial features defining these common grounds in the early and middle decades of the twentieth century can be identified by examining two cases: the classicist Jane Harrison, who scorned “theology” but was drawn toward the mysteries of Greek ritual, and the erstwhile biblical scholar Erwin Goodenough, who moved from a conservative Christian upbringing through liberal theology to become an eminent historian of symbols.

Nearly half a century ago M. H. Abrams characterized these two aesthetic temperaments through the metaphors of the mirror and the lamp, which were used by writers of each temperament respectively to envision artistic works. The mirror of the (neo)classicists reflects an external reality: according to most classical and Enlightenment theory, artists in their work give an idealized representation of 47 48 The Art of Writing on Religion something outside themselves. Romantic theorists, by contrast, emphasizing internal vision and self-expression, spoke of the work of art as a lamp that illumines reality through its own light.

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