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By Daniel Gold

This booklet addresses a basic quandary in spiritual stories. Exploring the strain among humanistic and social medical methods to considering and writing approximately faith, Daniel Gold develops a line of argument that starts with the aesthetics of educational writing within the box. He exhibits that profitable writers on faith hire attribute aesthetic thoughts in speaking their visions of human truths. Gold examines those thoughts in regards to epistemology and to the research of faith as a collective recreation.

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These certainly include the five writers presented in the introduction and who will figure prominently in the next part of this book. Jonathan Z. Smith—of influential contemporary scholars perhaps the one most consciously indebted to the British rationalist tradition—treats his human subjects much more sympathetically than did his nineteenthcentury predecessors. His presentations of small-scale religions as traditions of problem solving, as will be seen in chapter 5, evoke feelings not of condescension toward primitives engaged in bad science but of empathy at human beings caught in very difficult situations.

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.

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.

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