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The New Metaphysicals: SPIRITUALITY AND THE AMERICAN RELIGIOUS IMAGINATION

Category:
Author: COURTNEY BENDER
ISBN: 9780226042794
Original Region: United States
Original Language: English
Publication Date: 2010
Publisher:
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American spirituality—with its focus on individual meaning, experience, and exploration—is usually thought to be a product of the postmodern era. But, as The New Metaphysicals makes clear, contemporary American spirituality has historic roots in the nineteenth century and a great deal in common with traditional religious movements. To explore this world, Courtney Bender combines research into the history of the movement with fieldwork in Cambridge, Massachusetts—a key site of alternative religious inquiry from Emerson and William James to today. Through her ethnographic analysis, Bender discovers that a focus on the new, on progress, and on the way spiritual beliefs intersect with science obscures the historical roots of spirituality from its practitioners and those who study it alike—and shape an enduring set of modern religious possibilities in the process.

About the Author:

Courtney Bender is associate professor of religion at Columbia University and author of Heaven’s Kitchen: Living with Religion at God’s Love We Deliver, also published by the University of Chicago Press.

Review:

“In this rich ethnography of the varieties of contemporary spirituality in William James’ hometown of Cambridge, Massachusetts, Courtney Bender shows—hopefully once and for all—how wrong James was to say that religion is the experience of individuals in their solitude. In a series of beautifully rendered life stories she brings spirituality down to earth and discloses what is most deeply at stake for Americans in being ‘spiritual but not religious.’ The New Metaphysicals promises fundamentally to change how we think not only about contemporary American spirituality but also how we understand what we mean by ‘religion.’”

— Robert A. Orsi, Northwestern University

Award:

Association of American Publishers: PROSE Book Award

Hardcover:272 pages

Product Dimensions:6 x 9’’

Excerpt from the origin:

Contents:

Acknowledgments

Introduction: Long Shadows

1 Shamans in the Meetinghouse: Locating Contemporary Spirituality

2 Becoming Mystics

3 Tuning the Body

4 Karmic Laundry: Imagining and Embodying Spiritual History

5 “Zooming Around”: Mystical Lands and Cosmopolitanisms

Conclusion

Notes

Bibliography

Index

......
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