The Spiritual Quest: Transcendence in Myth, Religion, and Science (Google eBook)

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University of California Press, Apr 25, 1994 - Religion - 367 pages
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Robert Torrance's wide-ranging, innovative study argues that the spiritual quest is rooted in our biological, psychological, linguistic, and social nature. The quest is not, as most have believed, a rare mystical experience, but a frequent expression of our most basic human impulses. Shaman and scientist, medium and poet, prophet and philosopher, all venture forth in quest of visionary truths to transform and renew the world. Yet Torrance is not trying to reduce the quest to an "archetype" or "monomyth." Instead, he presents the full diversity of the quest in the myths and religious practices of tribal peoples throughout the world, from Oceania to India, Africa, Siberia, and especially the Americas. In theorizing about the quest, Torrance draws on thinkers as diverse as Bergson and Piaget, van Gennep and Turner, Pierce and Popper, Freud, Darwin, and Chomsky. This is a book that will expand our knowledge and awareness of a fundamental human activity in all its fascinating complexity.
  

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The spiritual quest: transcendence in myth, religion, and science

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Torrance (comparative literature, Univ. of California, Davis) argues that the spiritual quest is innate, grounded in biological, linguistic, and psychological processes. Ritual, myth, and spirit ... Read full review

Contents

Religion and the Spiritual Quest From Closure to Openness
1
Biological and Psychological Foundations of the Quest
16
Linguistic Foundations of the Quest
30
The Questing Animal
48
THE SPIRITUAL QUEST IN RITUAL AND MYTH
57
Ritual as Affirmation and Transformation
59
Myth and the Journey beyond the Self
80
Mobility and Its Limits in Communal Ritual and Myth
92
Shamanism Possession and Ecstasy Australia and the Tropics
133
Shamanic Heartland Central and Northern Eurasia
147
FORMS OF THE QUEST IN NATIVE AMERICA
167
The Arctic and Western North America
169
Mesoamerica and South America
194
Eastern North America and the Great Plains
226
THE THEORY OF THE QUEST SOME CLOSING CONSIDERATIONS
257
A Ternary Process
259

SPIRIT POSSESSION AS A FORM OF THE SPIRITUAL QUEST
99
The Varieties of Spirit Possession
101
Possession and Transformation
115
FORMS OF THE SHAMANIC QUEST
131
The Reality of Transcendence
276
BIBLIOGRAPHY
293
INDEX
339
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About the author (1994)

Robert M. Torrance is Professor of Comparative Literature at the University of California, Davis.

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