An Unholy Alliance: The Sacred and Modern Sports

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Mercer University Press, 2004 - Religion - 410 pages
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An Unholy Alliance offers a dissenting view to the claim by a growing number of scholars that Sports are a new religion. The last few years have seen a spate of books that might be classified by a genre called "Sports Apologetics," that is, arguments defending or celebrating in one way or another the familiar and ongoing alliance in America between sports and religion. Recently, claims have been made by scholars that sports are an authentic religion in and of themselves. They make this startling assertion not by showing connections with the teachings of Buddha, Jesus, Mohammed, or Moses, but by parallels between the rites of modern games and those of preliterate man that were "religious" in nature because they were designed to propitiate powers and to ward off evil for the tribes employing them. In this evocative book, Higgs and Braswell suggest that while sports may often be good things, they are not inherently divine. They do not focus on wide-spread abuse in sports as evidence for their counterargument. Rather, they question the use of mythological parallels from prehistory as justification for viewing sports as a religion.
 

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Contents

Sports and Religion Peanut Butter and Jelly or Oil and Water?
1
Whats in a Name? Working Definitions of Sports and Religion
16
The Sacred and the Holy Distinguishing the Indefinable
28
Wisdom and Strength Two Faces of the Holy
56
The Religion of Sports and the Media Marshall McLuhan among the Apologists
78
The Cross in the Coliseum Sacred Ground and Battle Ground
103
Religion Sports and War The Conflicted History of the Knight and the Shepherd
124
The Religion of Sports and That Oldtime Religion In the Steps of Mircea Eliade
153
Ethics Values and Excellence Testing the Spirits
239
The Statue of Zeus and Creation of Adam Athletic Art as Sacred and Holy
273
Humor and the Eternal Triangle Mind Sports and Religion
301
The High Seriousness of the Religion of Sports A Return to Polytheism?
337
Apotheosis Versus Atonement
367
Epilogue
387
Religious Dichotomies
389
Textual Notes on Comparative Theology
392

Varieties of Mystical Experiences Old and New
179
The Holy and the Flow Ultimacy Versus Intimacy
212

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About the author (2004)

ROBERT J. HIGGS is Professor Emeritus at East Tennessee State University.

Michael C. Braswell is a former prison psychologist for the Georgia Department of Corrections. He is a professor in the Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology at East Tennessee State University and is a licensed marriage and family therapist. He has authored or coauthored twelve books on such topics as Criminal Justice ethics, Peacemaking, Correctional Counseling, and the Spiritual Journey.

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