The Truth of Broken Symbols

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SUNY Press, 1996 - Religion - 320 pages
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This book provides a cross-cultural analysis of how religious symbols function from a theological and philosophical perspective. Showing how religious symbols can be true in various qualified senses, Neville presents a theory of religious symbolism in the American pragmatic tradition extending and elaborating Tillich's claim that religious symbols participate in the divine realities to which they refer and yet must be broken in order not to be idolatrous or demonic. The Truth of Broken Symbols offers a theory of religious symbolism treating reference, meaning, and interpretation, and discussing different functions of religious symbols in theological, practical, and devotional contexts. It shows that religious symbols are to be properly understood as true or false and that symbol-systems such as myths, theologies, or liturgical symbols are to be used to engage divine realities while internally exhibiting semiotic structures of reference, meaning, and interpretation.
  

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Contents

What Religious Symbols Do
1
12 SYMBOLS AND SALVATION
12
13 SYMBOLS AND COMMUNITY
21
14 SYMBOLS AND REPRESENTATION
28
Symbols Break on the Infinite
35
22 IMAGINATION AS RELIGIOUS
47
23 IMAGINATION AS ENGAGEMENT
59
24 RELIGIOUS SYMBOLIC REFERENCE
65
51 DEVOTIONAL LIFE AS TRANSFORMATION
152
52 DEVOTIONAL SYMBOLS
171
53 CREATING A TRANSFORMATIVE WORLD
178
54 REPRESENTATION AND FICTION IN DEVOTIONAL SYMBOLS
193
Judging Religious Symbols by Consequences
201
62 RELIGION AMONG THE DIMENSIONS OF LIFE
213
63 RELIGION JUDGED BY OTHER DIMENSIONS
221
64 THE TRUTH AND RELATIVITY OF RELIGIOUS HERMENEUTICS
230

Finite Meaning Infinite
77
32 THE STRUCTURE OF SYMBOLS
86
33 NETWORK MEANING AND CONTENT MEANING
95
34 MEANING THE INFINITE
104
Taking Symbols in Context
113
42 THEOLOGY
121
43 CULTIC LIFE
133
44 PUBLIC LIFE ORDINARY LIFE AND EXTRAORDINARY LIFE
144
Symbols for Transformation
151
Truth in Religious Symbols
239
71 TRUTH IN RELIGIOUS PRACTICE
244
72 TRUTH IN RELIGIOUS DEVOTION
252
73 TRUTH IN THEOLOGY
259
BROKEN SYMBOLS
266
Bibliography
273
Index
295
Copyright

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About the author (1996)

Robert Cummings Neville is Professor of Philosophy, Religion, and Theology at Boston University where he is also Dean of the School of Theology.

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