Can scientists study religion? Ilkka PyysiSinen says that they can. While the study of religion cannot be reduced to other disciplines, it must not ignore what other disciplines have learned about human thought and behavior. In this collection of essays, PyysiSinen shows how findings from cognitive science can offer new directions to debates in religion. After providing a historical and theoretical overview of the cognitive science of religion, PyysiSinen demonstrates how knowledge of the mind's workings can help deconstruct such concepts as 'god,' 'ideology,' 'culture,' 'magic,' 'miracles,' and 'religion.' For scholars of religion or for scholars of the mind-brain, Magic, Miracles, and Religion provides a helpful overview to this emerging field.
Matthew Arnold said it best: "Wandering between two worlds, one dead / The other powerless to be born." Late Victorian and early twentieth-century writers were caught on this dilemma of belief or rejection of God. Some took a leap of faith over those horns of doubt; others rebelled - but seldom completely. It was in their art that some of the issues were joined and others resolved. The essays in this collection examine six authors, from Thomas Hardy to D. H. Lawrence, tracing the arc of their spiritual quests from childhood to maturity, which resulted in the artist's religious and artistic achievement - that is, the Religion of Art. The priesthood of the poet, for example, was the Aesthete's belief that high art was beyond the bourgeois's understanding. Author or editor of fifteen books and many articles and reviews, Karl Beckson guides the reader through a remarkable literary world. Reviewing his "Oscar Wilde Encyclopedia" (AMS, 1998), Victorian Poetry wrote "Beckson's authority, established on decades of research, naturally gives the book a credibility wonderful to encounter during this time of poorly planned and atrociously printed 'scholarship.'"
The present volume is a plea for a reconsideration of the Religious question, and an inquiry as to the possibility of reconstructing Religion by shifting its basis from inscrutable dogmas to the unquestionable facts of man's moral nature.
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