Sacred Quest, The: An Invitation to the Study of Religion, 6th edition

  • Lawrence S. Cunningham, 
  • John Kelsay

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In a thematic and comparative approach, The Sacred Quest studies the main ideas that characterize all religious thought and practice. It gives equal weight to theoretical issues and practices reflected in the major world religions and focuses on fundamental topics such as ritual and sacred language.

Published by Pearson (July 14th 2021) - Copyright © 2012

ISBN-13: 9780137612383

Subject: Religion

Category: Introduction to Religion

Table of contents

1. Toward a Definition of Religion
2. The Nature of the Sacred
3. The Appearance of the Sacred
4. The Language(s) of the Sacred
5. Ritual
6. Sacred Communities
7. The Problem of Evil
8. Religion and Morality
9. The Quest for Salvation

The Breadth and Depth of Religious Experience
A Brief Outline of the Phenomenological Method
Attitudes and Institutions in the Study of Religion
A Final Word

1.Toward a Definition of Religion
The Search for a Definition of Religion
Elements of Religion
Religion and Human Thought
Religion and Feeling
Religion and Action
Individual and Social Existence
Values and Religion
Substance or Function?
Toward Resolution
A Proposal
In Conclusion
Thought Experiments
Suggestions for Further Reading

2. The Nature of the Sacred
The Complex Character of the Sacred
The Concept of Sacred Reality
Specially Distinctive
To Some Extent, Beyond the Volitional Control of Human Beings
Specially Prominent with Respect to Human Welfare
Properly Determinative of Various Aspects of Human Existence
Thought Experiments
Suggestions for Further Reading

3. The Appearance of the Sacred
Types of Sacred Appearance
Varieties of Media
Sacred Persons
Sacred Objects
Sacred Time
Sacred Space
Sacred Appearance and the Complexity of Traditions
Thought Experiments
Suggestions for Further Reading

4. The Language(s) of the Sacred
Story as Parable
The Preservation of Sacred Language
Oral Cultures
Scriptural Cultures
A Summary and Synthesis
The Language of Theology
The Visual Language of Religion
Language and Truth
Thought Experiments
Suggestions for Further Reading

5. Ritual
Myth(os) and Ritual
The Passover
Holy Communion (The Eucharist)
Rites of Passage
Birth Rituals
Rituals of Initiation
Rituals of Mourning and Death
Temporal Rites and Celebrations
The Religious Meaning(s) of Ritual
Penance/Purification Ritual as a Problem
Ritual as a System
Thought Experiments

6. Sacred Communities
The Social Character of Religion
Religion and Social Resistance
Tradition and Innovation
The Social Aspects of Worship
A Word of Conclusion
Thought Experiments

7. The Problem of Evil
Identifying Evil
Responses to Evil. Some Classic Patterns
Evil and Karma. The Indian Context
The Consolation of Promise
The Appeal to Sovereignty
Are the Answers Adequate?
Is It Logical?
Is It Coherent?
Is It Psychologically Satisfying?
What Are the Moral Consequences?
Thought Experiments
Suggestions for Further Reading

8. Religion and Morality
Defining the Issues
Religion, Morality, and Justification
Justification. General Considerations
Practical Justification. Three Cases
Hinduism. The Caste System
Islam. The Justification and Limitation of War
Christianity. Why Pray?
Religion and Morality. Patterns
Thought Experiments
Suggestions for Further Reading

9. The Quest for Salvation
Concepts of Salvation
Individual Salvation in This World
The Search for Meaning
The Desire to Be Remembered
The Ideal of Completion
Individual Salvation in Another World
Joining the Spirit World
Cosmic Cycling or Expansion
The Idea of Judgment
Group Salvation in This World
Salvation Through the People
Salvation Through the Tradition
Salvation in the Kingdom of God in This World
Group Salvation in Another World
Now That Distinctions Have Been Made
Paths to Salvation
The Path of Knowledge
The Path of Action
The Path of Aesthetics
The Path of Submission
The Path of Grace
A Closing Reminder
Thought Experiments
Suggestions for Further Reading


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