Experience of the Sacred: Readings in the Phenomenology of by Sumner B. Twiss, Walter H. Conser

By Sumner B. Twiss, Walter H. Conser

A special and hugely available anthology of the simplest in classical and modern concept at the phenomenonology of faith.

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Socalled universals, they might charge, once in place and accepted as universals, might be henceforth used unthinkingly and uncritically when coming up against new data. Moreover, a so-called universal once accepted by a community of scholars is less likely to be called into question than an heuristic device, and therefore might be employed in a prejudicial fashion. There is no denying a legitimate danger here, but, by the same token, being aware of this danger constitutes both a challenge and the possibility of avoiding the danger in the first placeby treating even socalled universals as heuristic to the understanding of religious dimensions of human existence.

Otto quite clearly recognizes the fact that religious consciousness develops over timethis is why he so freely speaks of the development of numinous consciousness from primitive to more developed (and pure) forms. Scheler, for his part, acknowledges both such developments of theistic forms of religious consciousness and the fact that different forms of religious consciousness arise in different societies and cultures. 20 So the charge cites at best only a tendency of essential phenomenology of religion to be anti- or more accurately nonhistorical.

Our work is eased somewhat by the fact that many of the same criticisms made of the essentialist voice are also levied against the historical-typological enterprise. Interestingly, however, a number of these criticisms can be more easily and decisively rebutted in the historical-typological case. In addition to these shared criticisms, there are also a few charges that appear to be more forcefully, if not uniquely, raised against the phenomenological method of the historical-typologists. We begin with a brief discussion of the criticisms that carry over from the essentialist enterprise.

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