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Glossary

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    37151
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    Words and phrases that are italicized and followed by a small circle are meant to be variables standing in for concepts specific to religious traditions.

    anamnesis A remembering or memorializing that makes present. Anamnesis is major feature of the way of sacred rite, whereby symbols no longer merely represent sacred archetypal forms but render them present. (p. 54)

    archetype (or archetypal form) An original model or type after which other similar things are patterned. In religion, and specifically in the way of sacred rite, an archetype or archetypal form is an ideal divine model or pattern for some aspect of human life found in the other worldo articulated in a tradition's system of symbols. (p. 53)

    at-onement The state of being at-one with ultimate realityo. It encompasses in its range of meaning "reconciled with," "in right or appropriate relation with," "in rapport with," "in agreement with," "in harmony with," "in conformity to," and "in union with"-with the understanding that the precise characterization of this state of at-onement will differ from one tradition to another. (p. 25)

    balance/imbalance of divergent forces One among three dimensions or parameters of variation in (commonsense) quality of practice within any of the ways of being religious. Actual religious practice inherently involves a living tension between a number of polarities in the lives of real persons: what is tangible and intangible, what is static and dynamic, what is old and fresh, what is active and receptive, what is temporal and eternal, what is ordered and spontaneous; what is formed and formless, letter and spirit, body and soul, extrinsic motivation and intrinsic motivation, this world and the other worldo, ordinary reality and ultimate realityo-in short, a tension between finitude and infinitude. Excellence or virtue involves attaining balance between them and imbalance in regard to any tends to evil and is, accordingly, a vice to be avoided. (pp. 122-124)

    canon The officially recognized and delimited collection of scriptural texts in a religion within a scribal or print (i.e., literate) culture; usually the principal locus of such a religion's primary system of symbols, containing its central sacred story (or stories), and itself constituting one of its primary symbols. Authenticity of practice and orthodoxy of belief within such a religion is normally gauged by demonstrable conformity to the scriptural canon. (p. 33)

    catholic The inclusive quality of any religious tradition in its attitude to the full variety of ways of being religious (a specific usage relative to the framework of this book). In origin it refers to the quality of the Christian church as universal, comprehensive, and inclusive of all parts. Historically, it has come to differentiate those Christian traditions that assign special importance to the rulings of the Seven Ecumenical Councils (fourth through eighth century) as sources of doctrine, the sacraments as necessary means of grace, and the Apostolic Succession of bishops as authorized agents of Christ. (pp. 40, 108--109; see also 95)

    common sense (religious) Considerations of practical wisdom having to do with common aspects of being human involved in religious practice that are (in principle) mutually recognizable by thoughtful, reflective, and knowledgeable people of different religious traditions-i.e., generic practices, concerns, and values they share in common despite their many differences. Although they may not be common sense for all ways of being religious (though some considerations are), they constitute common sense among persons at home with any one way of being religious, though they be involved with that way in entirely different traditions. (pp. 41-42, 120-121)

    competence/incompetence One among three dimensions or parameters of variation in (commonsense) quality of practice within any of the ways of being religious. Along the parameter of competence/incompetence, vice is practice that fails to be competent-e.g., awkward, uncertain, fumbling, characterized by mistakes and improprieties, etc.-whereas virtue is competent, knowledgeable practice-e.g., confident, appropriate, characterized by minimal flaws and mastery of relevant details, etc. (p. 122)

    devotion, way of Cultivation of a personal relationship to ultimate realityo of whole-hearted adoration, devotional surrender to itso transforming grace, and trust in itso providential care, anticipating in return an influx of sustaining energy, hope, and a sense of affirming presence or at-onement. It typically involves a conversion experience and emotional purgation. (pp. 57-59)

    empathetic objectivity An objectivity appropriate to the study of human subjects and cultural phenomena such as religion. Specifically, it involves the effort to take into account and do full justice to the understanding and experience of the insider in developing a full or rounded understanding of the object of investigation. A disciplined empathy is thus an essential part of what is involved. (pp. 19-20)

    empathy An act of imaginatively stepping into another person's perspective and considering how things look from over there, as ifone were an insider though one is not one in fact. Success in empathetic understanding would be a matter of having (temporarily, in an act of imagination) entered the perspective of the other person sufficiently well to be able to represent it credibly to others, especially and above all in a way that is recognizable and credible to those persons who themselves occupy that perspective. (pp. 18--20)

    existential predicament/existential problem A set of circumstances in human experience that in a specific way raises the problem of meaning. Each of the six ways of being religious corresponds to a different sort of existential predicament (= problematic situation). An existential predicament can also be articulated as an existential need, motivating involvement in the corresponding way of being religious. (p.31)

    finitude, vice of When the animating spark of inspiration of a tradition is lost, and one is left with only outward form, the finite aspects of a religion. All the words, gestures, and actions may be right and correct, but somehow the spirit is absent. (p. 124)

    heresy/heretical practice Variations in teaching or practice that a tradition has established (for itself) to be unfaithful to its core system of authoritative symbols and/or to be beyond permissible boundaries. (p. 119)

    hermeneutic A specific orientation to the interpretation of some text or textsin this case to the interpretation of the symbol system, and specifically the scripture(s), of a religious tradition. A hermeneutic generally is oriented according to certain questions it is intent on asking, to certain needs it seeks to have addressed. (pp. 36, 38)

    infinitude, vice of When the animating spark of inspiration is allowed to overwhelm one's respect for the finite, this-worldly, human aspects of oneself, one's practice, and one's community, with the result that one comes to deny, reject, or repress these things. One of its clearest signs is loss of a sense of humor. This is where one may find idolatry-where finite form (e.g., symbol, form of worship, method of meditation, moral rule, interpretation, judgment, type of experience) is invested with the esteem and passion that is due the infinite and the absolute is misidentified with the relative-and, in consequence, where one can probably find most of the evil done in the name of religion. (pp. 124-125)

    mimesis An imitation, reenactment, or embodiment. In the way of sacred rite, mimesis symbolically re-enacts or imitates the sacred archetypal forms in such a way that participants are ushered into their very presence. (p. 54)

    moral prophet/moral sage/moral teacher · Religious leadership roles especially characteristic of the way of right action. When the ultimate moral order is understood to transcend and stand in judgment over the social order, the leader is more likely to assume the role of moral prophet (i.e., one who proclaims judgment upon the social order and leads the righteous out from under that order). But when it is understood to be immanent within the social order, despite the latter's failings, the leader tends to assume the role of moral sage (i.e., elder embodying practical wisdom). (p. 57)

    mystic A person who in pursuing the way of mystical quest has arrived at considerable attainment in that way (whether by her or his own efforts or by the grace of ultimate realityo). (p. 64)

    mystical quest, way of Employment of ascetic and meditative disciplines in a deliberate quest to interrupt, slow down, or otherwise break through and become free of, the obscuring limitations and distracting compulsions of ordinary life in order to attain a direct awareness of ultimate realityo, come to be wholly at-one with it, and have life and one's relations with all things become transparently grounded in it. (The way of mystical quest should not be confused with "mysticism" as the term is used at large or by other authors, though there is in most cases some overlap. "Mysticism" in common usage is in some respects much broader, is focused more on extraordinary experiences, and, except for individual authors, is not possessed of a single, clear definition.) (pp. 63-65)

    objectivity A striving to draw near to the object of investigation at the point where all relevant perspectives on it intersect, thus to comprehend it in its transcendence beyond any one perspective in a way that ideally commands the recognition of those who dwell within them and know them well. It is fundamentally a matter of doing justice to the object itself, the object in the round. (This meaning of objectivity is to be distinguished from that often associated with modern natural science, namely, a comprehensive methodology of distancing: of separating the investigating self from the object of investigation.) (pp. 17-18, 129)

    other worldo See world, othero.

    pastor/preacher/storyteller Religious leadership role especially characteristic of the way of devotion. A pastor is one who nurtures, counsels, and guides the affections of devotees, especially in coping with the problems life offers. A preacher is one who inspires religious affections and who helps bring devotees to the point of purgation of those affections. A storyteller is one who through storytelling gives definition and context to religious affection. (p. 59)

    phenomenology (of religion) A discipline of study within the modern academic study of religion that seeks to bring about an empathetic understanding for persons outside a given religious tradition of what is understood and experienced by persons on the inside. (p. 19)

    presentative symbol A religious symbol that serves not only to represent some aspect of ultimate realityo but that in the appropriate circumstances serves for participants to render it present and enable direct participation in it. All presentative symbols are in the first place representative symbols, but the reverse is not true. See also sacramentalo ritua/sacramentalo symbol (p. 36)

    priest/priestess A person who knows how appropriately to perform sacramental rituals and handle sacramental symbols and who is duly authorized to do so. A religious social role specifically characteristic of the way of sacred rite. (p. 54)

    problem of meaning The respect in which events in human experience from time to time in a variety of different ways pose a threat to the meaningfulness of life and disclose a felt disrelationship to ultimate realityo, a disrelationship to whatever is conceived to be the ultimate ground of meaning and purpose in life. The question is, how to cope with that threat and, in the face of it, attain to an affirmation of the meaning and worth of life despite it. There are at least six different ways that such a threat is posed, six aspects of the problem of meaning, corresponding to each of the six ways of being religious. (p.27)

    problematic situation A set of circumstances in human experience that in a specific way raise the problem of meaning. Each of the six ways of being religious corresponds to a different type of problematic situation (= existential predicament). (p. 31)

    qualitative variation in practice: Quality of practice refers to the merit or worth of a given expression of religious practice, how deserving it is of respect or disrespect. Any given way of being religious in any tradition can be taken up and practiced in qualitatively more excellent, more virtuous ways, in qualitatively degenerate, virtueless ways, and everything in between. Some criteria are unique to given traditions while others are of a generic, commonsense nature and tend to be specific to the six generic ways of being religious. (p. 119)

    reasoned inquiry, way of A rational, dialectical struggle to transcend conventional patterns of thinking in the effort to attain understanding of, and consciousness-transforming insight into, the ultimate what, how, and why of thingso-i.e., to bring together and unite, so far as possible, mind with the ultimate Mindo and thereby acquire a portion of divine wisdomo. It typically involves systematic study of a tradition's scripture and previous attempts to articulate what is ultimately the caseo. (pp. 65-68)

    religion A system of symbols (e.g., words and gestures, stories and practices, objects and places) that functions religiously, namely, an ongoing system of symbols that participants use to draw near to, and come into right or appropriate relationship with, what they deem to be ultimate reality. (pp. 22, 24)

    religious function A thing may be said to function religiously in the respect in which it serves for a participant as a means of drawing near to, and coming into right or appropriate relationship with, what she or he deems to be ultimate reality. (pp. 22, 24)

    religious phenomenon Whatever (e.g., a practice, a symbol, an object, a person, an encounter, an experience, a place, an intention, a doctrine, a story, etc.) serves for a person or group of persons in some way to refer to, or connect them with, what they take to be ultimately real. (pp. 21, 24)

    right action, way of Concerted effort to bring all of life, individual and communal, into conformity with the way things are ultimately supposed to beo (however understood)--i.e., to realize and fulfill the sacred intendedness of lifeo-that promises individual fulfillment, social justice, and the embodiment of divine idealityo in the midst of mundane, this-worldly life. (pp. 55-57)

    rite (= ritual) A prescribed sequence of words, gestures, and employment of special objects that symbolize, for participants, some kind of interaction with, or participation in, the other worldo of a religious tradition. (p. 51)

    sacramental ritual/sacramental symbol A ritual or symbol that does not merely refer to a religious realityo (some feature of a religious tradition's other worldo or represent some participation in that realiyo, but that for participants in appropriate circumstances itself renders that realityo present and constitutes participation in it. Where sacramental rituals and sacramental symbols are present, so is (in some measure) the way of sacred rite. Conventionally, "sacramental" means that which pertains to the Christian "sacraments" as understood and practiced within sacramental or liturgical Christian traditions. (p. 52)

    sacred The quality of a religious phenomenon of partaking directly of ultimate realityo, of being that in which, or by means of which, ultimate realityo is present, or of being that by means of which one becomes present to ultimate realityo. Though the concept is relevant to religious life generally, it is especially connected to the way of sacred rite. (p. 52)

    sacred rite, way of Participation in the sacred archetypal patternso through which ultimate realityo is understood by participants to be manifest, by means of symbolic ritual enactments or presentations that enable participants repeatedly to enter their presence, attain at-onement for the moment with them, and thereby have established and renewed their sense of meaningful order, identity, and propriety. It is typically communal rather than individual. (pp. 51-55)

    sage One who possesses or embodies wisdom and understanding, especially practical wisdom. An ideal religious leadership role especially characteristic of the way of reasoned inquiry. Sometimes used in connection with the ways of mystical quest and right action. (p. 68)

    sectarian tradition A subtradition of a religion that rejects the rightness of the practice and/or beliefs of an earlier tradition or traditions from which it has differentiated itself in terms of a different conception of what constitutes fidelity to its sources; it draws the boundaries of permissible variation differently and usually more narrowly. (pp. 107, 119)

    selflessness/egoism One among three dimensions or parameters of variation in (commonsense) quality of practice within any of the ways of being religious. Along the parameter of selflessness/egoism, vice is practice that sets the immediate interests and concerns of the unreformed ego above those of other persons, other things, and the welfare of all, whereas virtue is transcendence of the preoccupations of the finite, egoistic self, enabling one to attend freely and uncompulsively to other persons and other things for their own sakes. (pp. 125-127)

    shaman A person (female or male) able to mediate between "supernatural" resources of power, vision, and guidance in what is believed to be an autonomous spirit world and the mundane world of ordinary life. A religious leadership role uniquely characteristic of the way of shamanic mediation. (p. 60)

    shamanic mediation, way of Entry into altered states of consciousness in which persons become mediators or channels for the intervention of spiritual realityo, in the expectation that "supernatural" (trans-mundane) resourceso of imagination, power, and guidance will be released for solving or dealing with otherwise intractable problems of life. Expressed through phenomena such as "possession (trance)," "oracular utterance," "ecstatic vision," and/or "spirit journeying," this way seeks at-onement with ultimate reality in what is taken to be itso readiness to bring about healing, wellbeing, and fulfillment for the world. (pp. 60-63)

    spiritual master/spiritual director A person who on the basis of years o f personal experience, intimate observation of others, possible apprenticeship to other spiritual masters, and a measure of attainment on a specific path of mystical quest is in a position to provide guidance and direction appropriate to others on their own mystical quest. A religious social role specifically characteristic of the way of mystical quest. (p. 64)

    storyteller See pastor/preacher/storyteller.

    symbol (religious) One of the components of a religious tradition's system of symbols (see definition below). Religious symbols function religiously as part of a system of symbols, not on their own. Most such symbols have (at least potentially) multiple levels of meaning discernible to different hermeneutical orientations. (pp. 31-32).

    syncretism The merging of symbol systems from two or more religious traditions in a single religious expression or practice. It is to be distinguished from situations in which a hitherto dormant way of being religious emerges in a tradition as the result of cultural contact over time with a different religous tradition that emphasizes this specific way of being religious but within a completely different symbol system. (p. 104)

    system of symbols The complex of stories, scriptures (if the tradition is literate), rituals, symbolic forms, and particular vocabulary for referring to ultimate realityo that as an interconnected system constitute the core of a given religion. (pp. 31-32)

    theologian° A serious participant in the way of reasoned inquiry of a particular religious tradition who is not merely a student or apprentice but who has attained the stature of competence in the way and mastery of the classic texts of that tradition (a specific usage relative to the framework of this book). A religious social role specifically characteristic of the way of wisdom. Conventionally, a "theologian" is more narrowly associated with theistic religious traditions, i.e., traditions whose conception of ultimate realityo centers on a god or gods. (p. 68)

    theologyo The study of the nature of ultimate realityo and religious truth, or a specific interpretation of the nature of ultimate reality and religious truth, within a given religious tradition (a specific usage relative to the framework of this book). Conventionally, "theology" is more narrowly associated with the study of ultimate realityo within theistic religious traditions, i.e., traditions whose conception of ultimate reality centers on a god or gods. (p. 68)

    threshold (of a system of symbols, of "another world to live in") An entryway whereby one crosses the boundary from being outside the other worldo of a tradition to being inside it. Though it may be symbolized by a physical threshold (as to a temple or shrine), it essentially refers to a shift of consciousness from focally attending to a tradition's symbols to subsidiarity attending from them to what they symbolize, which is to say coming to dwell within them. (p. 35)

    threshold effect A change in the appearance and experienced texture of religious symbols as one crosses the threshold of a tradition's system of symbols and enters the other worldo to which it grants access, as one no longer looks at them from the outside but comes to dwell in them. On the outside, symbols are opaque and at best refer to matters within that other world. As one begins to cross the threshold, one begins to glimpse intimations of those matters more or less directly; the symbols become translucent. Insofar as one is able fully to cross the threshold, the symbols become transparent to their referents and serve to usher one into the very presence of them. (pp. 35-36)

    ultimate realityo A variable standing for whatever the people of a given tradition take to be the ultimate ground of meaning and purpose in life-both how things are and how life ought to be lived. It stands for whatever is taken to make up the ultimate cosmic context of life that lies beyond the perspectives of ordinary human awareness and the mundane sphere of everyday life. (pp. 22-23)

    vice Variations of practice that do not contribute to, or are likely to interfere with, the distinctive religious satisfactions promised by a way of being religious, friendly relations between members of the immediate community involved, and the passing on intact of the practice (with the values to be realized through it) to subsequent generations. (pp. 121-127)

    virtue Variations of practice that contribute to and facilitate the distinctive religious satisfactions promised by a way of being religious, friendly relations between members of the immediate community involved, and the passing on intact of the practice (with the values to be realized through it) to subsequent generations. (pp. 121-127)

    way of being religious One generic manner and pattern among others of drawing near to and coming into right or appropriate relationship with what a religion takes to be ultimate reality. Each way is further characterized in terms of a mode of approach to ultimate realityo, an aspect of the problem of meaning to which it is addressed, a he.J;emeneutical orientation, a pattern of social structures, and specific virtues and vices. (pp. 39-41)

    world, othero The imagined realm, the "other world to live in," to which one has access through the system of symbols constituting a religious tradition by dwelling in them(= attending from them subsidiarily). It is the realm wherein one encounters or at least makes connection with ultimate realityo. It is the "inside" that qualifies insiders as "insiders." (p. 35)

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