Synopses & Reviews
Spirituality has been defined in many ways throughout the centuries. Again it seems to be moving to the forefront of social and political discussions as religious leaders cry out for "spirituality" in school and society, New Age followers propose new paths of enlightenment, and an increase in paranormal "activity" encourages some to believe in the afterlife. Once the exclusive property of Western monastics and Eastern mystics, spirituality is now one of the commonplace metaphors reminding us of more ancient cosmologies and anthropologies. Uncertainty, fear, personal crisis, and the search for inner power have motivated many to seek traditional religion. But today new, more modern spiritualities vie for adherents, affecting everything in our lives, from education to national policies. What are these spiritualities and how do they differ from traditional beliefs? Who is seeking them and why? What benefits do they promise, and do they deliver?
Arising from a Westminster College-Oxford conference of scholars pondering these questions, Modern Spiritualities: An Inquiry compiles sixteen essays probing a variety of themes including early Christian humor; the influence of heresy on Christian ideas of the spiritual "man"; the "quantum metaphysics" of Teilhard de Chardin and Frank Tipler; Buddist, Islamic, and modern African spiritual enlightenment; New Age spirituality; and neospirituality and the paranormal.
Contributors include J.E. Barnhart, Clinton Bennett, Stephen Bigger, H. James Birx, Margaret Chatterjee, Bernard C. Farr, Robert N. Fisher, Antony Flew, R. Joseph Hoffmann, Paul Kurtz, Justin Meggitt, Peggy Morgan, Isabel Mukonyora, James Penney, Victor J. Stenger, and M.M. Thomas.
Uncertainty, fear, personal crises, and a search for a sense of self have motivated many to seek traditional religion. But today new, more modern spiritualities vie for adherents. What are these spiritualities and how do they differ from traditional beliefs? Who is seeking them and why? What benefits do they promise, and do they deliver? These and other questions prompted 15 scholars in theology, biblical history, philosophy, anthropology, and science to convene at Westminster College-Oxford to explore answers for today and into the next century.
About the Author
As members of the faculty of Westminster College, Oxford, Laurence Brown teaches at the Alister Hardy Research Centre and Bernard C. Farr is head of the School of Theology. R. Joseph Hoffmann, formerly a senior lecturer, research fellow, and director of the Oxford Centre for Critical Studies in Religion, now teaches in South Africa.