Religion as Poetry

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Routledge, Jul 5, 2017 - Literary Criticism - 281 pages
Religion as Poetry continues in the grand tradition of the sociology of religion pioneered by Emile Durkheim, Max Weber, and Talcott Parsons, among other giants in intellectual history. Too many present-day sociologists either ignore or disparage religious currents. In this provocative book, Andrew M. Greeley argues that various religions have endured for thousands of years as poetic rituals and stories. Religion as Poetry proposes a theoretical framework for understanding religion that emphasizes insights derived from religious stories. By virtue of his own rare abilities as a novelist as well as sociologist, Greeley is uniquely qualified for this task.Greeley first considers classical theories of the sociology of religion, and then, drawing upon them, he explicates his own interpretation. He critically examines the viewpoint that society is becoming more secular, and that religion is declining. He observes that this theory stands in the way of persuading sociologists that religion is still worth studying. In contrast, Greeley is interested in why religions persist despite secular trends and alongside them. He argues that it is poetic elements that touch the human soul. Greeley then sets out to test this viewpoint.Greeley maintains that his theory is not the only, or necessarily even the best approach to study religion. Rather, it is his contention that it uniquely provides sociologists with perspectives on religion that other theories too often overlook or disregard. Religion as Poetry, an original and intriguing study by a distinguished social scientist and major novelist, will be enjoyed and evaluated by sociologists, ' theologians, and philosophers alike.
 

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Contents

1 Introduction
1
2 Social Science Theories of Religion
5
3 Religion as Poetry
23
4 The Faith We Have Lost
57
5 The Persistence of Religion
83
6 Testing the Links
111
7 Different Poetry for Different People
123
8 The Pragmatics of Prayer
157
10 Religious Stories and the Environment
191
11 Religious Stories and AIDS
205
12 Religious Stories and Contact with the Dead
217
13 A Story of Two Religious Imaginations
229
14 The Development of a Religious Story
257
15 Conclusion
263
References
271
Index
277

9 Religious Stories and Political Stories
179

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About the author (2017)

Roman Catholic priest Andrew M. Greeley was the author of more than 100 non-fiction works of theology, sociology, prayer, and poetry; a professor of sociology; a newspaper columnist; and a successful novelist, writing in several genres, including mystery and science fiction. He was born on February 5, 1928 and was a native of Chicago. Greeley studied at Archbishop Quigley Preparatory Seminary and earned an AB from St. Mary of the Lake Seminary in 1950, a Bachelor of Sacred Theology in 1952, and a Licentiate of Sacred Theology in 1954. He went on to receive a Master of Arts in 1961 and a Ph D in 1962. Greeley's fiction, which often told stories of crime and scandal in the Roman Catholic church, can be violent and lurid and are considered controversial by many Church leaders. Greeley wrote on such issues as homosexuality in the clergy, pedophilia, and papal politics, and he created the popular mystery series starring Father Blackie Ryan, as well as another featuring the character Nuala McGrail. Greeley was awarded honorary degrees from the University of Arizona, Bard College (New York State) and the National University of Ireland, Galway. In 1981, he received the F. Sadlier Dinger Award, which is presented each year by educational publisher William H. Sadlier, Inc. in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the ministry of religious education in America. Greeley died on May 29, 2013 at his Chicago home. He was 85.

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