The Divine Quest, East and West: A Comparative Study of Ultimate Realities

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SUNY Press, Jan 28, 2016 - Religion - 434 pages

 Looks at the concept of Ultimate Reality in Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, and Christianity.


Many books have discussed the development of the notion of God in Western monotheistic traditions, but how have non-Western cultures conceptualized what those in the West might identify as “God”? What might be learned by comparing different visions of the Divine, such as God, gods, Brahman, Nirvana, and Emptiness? James L. Ford engages these fascinating questions, exploring notions of “the Divine” or “Ultimate Reality” within Jewish, Christian, Hindu, and Buddhist traditions. Looking at a multiplicity of divine conceptions, even within traditions, Ford discusses the relationship between imagination and revelation in the emergence of visions of ultimacy; consequences and tendencies associated with particular notions of the Ultimate; and how new visions of the Ultimate arise in relation to social, cultural, political, and scientific developments. Ford reflects on what can be learned through an awareness of the various beliefs about the Ultimate and on how such disparate visions influence the attitudes and behavior of people in different parts of the world.
 

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Contents

Part One Approaching the Ultimate
1
From Early Judaism to Postmodern Christianity
31
Brahman and the 330 Million Gods and Goddesses of India
115
From Nirvana to Emptiness
193
Part Five Reflections on the Divine Quest
307
Notes
339
Bibliography
371
Index
395
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About the author (2016)

James L. Ford is Professor of Religion at Wake Forest University and the author of Jōkei and Buddhist Devotion in Early Medieval Japan.

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