An Interpretation of Religion: Human Responses to the Transcendent

Front Cover
Yale University Press, 2004 - Religion - 416 pages
1 Review
In this classic work, prominent religious philosopher John Hick presents a global interpretation of religion, arguing for a religious response to our ambiguous universe and showing how the world’s different religions are culturally conditioned forms of that response. For this Second Edition, Hick addresses the major critics of his interpretation of religion, thereby enabling fresh discussion of his work.

Praise for the first edition:

“This book strengthens Hick’s position as one of the most significant thinkers of the second half of the twentieth century. . . . I highly recommend [it] to students of philosophy, history of religions, and comparative studies, as well as theology.”—Chester Gillis, Journal of Religion

“The most persuasive philosophical advocacy for religious pluralism ever written."—Yandall Woodfin, Southwestern Journal of Theology

“[This work] evinces Hick’s many virtues: ingenuity; fairness toward all arguments; deference to the standards of analytic philosophy; familiarity with Eastern as well as Western religions; and, not least, a clean, clear prose.”—Robert A. Segal, Christian Century

“A leader in interfaith interpretation of religion, Hick has written what will probably become a classic. . . . Clear, readable, and comprehensive.”—Library Journal

“Should be read by the adherents of all faiths.”—Rabbi Dan Cohn-Sherbok

 

What people are saying - Write a review

An interpretation of religion: human responses to the transcendent

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

A leader in interfaith interpretation of religion, Hick has written what will probably become a classic in the philosophy of religion. Clear, readable, and comprehensive, the book is an expansion of ... Read full review

Contents

Introduction
1
2 Religion as a familyresemblance concept
3
3 Belief in the transcendent
5
4 Problems of terminology
9
5 Outline of the argument
12
PHENOMENOLOGICAL
19
The Soteriological Character of PostAxial Religion
21
2 Preaxial religion
22
2 Braithwaite and Randall
193
3 Phillips and Cupitt
198
4 Penultimate issues
201
5 The ultimate issue
204
The Rationality of Religious Belief
210
2 Theistic belief as a foundational natural belief
213
3 Trusting our experience
214
4 Complications
220

3 The axial age
29
4 The axial shift to soteriology
32
SalvationLiberation as Human Transformation
36
2 According to the Buddhist tradition
41
3 According to the Christian tradition
43
4 According to the Jewish and Muslim traditions
47
5 Two possible objections
51
The Cosmic Optimism of PostAxial Religion
56
2 The temporal character of experience
57
3 The eschatological character of the Semitic traditions
61
4 The eschatological character of the Indian traditions
64
5 Realised eschatology
65
6 Darkness and light
67
THE RELIGIOUS AMBIGUITY OF THE UNIVERSE
71
Ontological Cosmological and Design Arguments
73
2 The ontological argument
75
3 Cosmological arguments
79
4 Contemporary scientific theism
81
5 The anthropic principle
91
Morality Religious Experience and Overall Probability
96
2 Religious experience
99
3 Swinburnes probability argument
104
The Naturalistic Option
111
2 The challenge of evil to theism
118
3 Conclusion
122
EPISTEMOLOGICAL
127
Natural Meaning and Experience
129
2 Natural meaning
134
3 Experiencingas
140
Ethical and Aesthetic Meaning and Experience
144
2 Aesthetic meaning
151
Religious Meaning and Experience
153
2 Faith as the interpretive element in religious experience
158
3 Faith as the exercise of cognitive freedom
160
4 Religion as cognitive filter
162
5 Mystical experience
165
Religion and Reality
172
2 The realist intention of traditional religion
175
3 Linguistic analysis and religious realism
177
4 Realism and Hindu language
180
5 Realism and Buddhist language
183
Contemporary NonRealist Religion
190
5 The problem of criteria
223
6 The right to believe
227
RELIGIOUS PLURALISM
231
The Pluralistic Hypothesis
233
2 The Real in itself and as humanly experienced
236
3 Kants epistemological model
240
4 The relation between the Real an sich and its personae and impersonae
246
The Personae of the Real
252
2 The phenomenological finitude of the gods
257
3 The gods as personae of the Real
264
The Hindu Krishna and the Jahweh of Israel
267
5 The ontological status of the divine personae
269
The Impersonae of the Real
278
2 Brahman
279
3 Nirvana
283
4 Sunyata
287
5 Unmediated mystical experience of the Real?
292
CRITERIOLOGICAL
297
Soteriology and Ethics
299
2 Saintliness
300
3 Spiritual and politicoeconomic liberation
303
4 The traditions as productive of saints
307
5 The universality of the Golden Rule
309
The Ethical Criterion
316
2 AgapeKaruna as the ethical criterion
325
the examples of Christianity and Islam
331
4 Ethics and religious belief
337
Myth Mystery and the Unanswered Questions
343
2 Expository myths
347
3 The mythological character of language about the Real
349
4 The mythological character of religious thought
353
Theodicy as mythology
359
The Problem of Conflicting TruthClaims
362
2 Conflicting historical truthclaims
363
3 Conflicting transhistorical truthclaims
365
4 Conclusions
372
The Future
377
Reference Bibliography
381
Index of Names
409
Index of Subjects
414
Copyright

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

References to this book

The End of Magic
Ariel Glucklich
Limited preview - 1997
All Book Search results »

About the author (2004)

John Hick is a Fellow of the Institute for Advanced Research in Arts and Social Sciences at the University of Birmingham (U.K.) and has held appointments at the Claremont Graduate University, California, the University of Cambridge, Princeton Theological Seminary, and Cornell University. His many previous books include Disputed Questions in Theology and the Philosophy of Religion, published by Yale University Press.

Bibliographic information