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The '60s Spiritual Awakening

Ellwood, Robert S.

12 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0813520932 / ISBN 13: 9780813520933
Published by Rutgers University Press, Piscataway, NJ, U.S.A., 1994
Used Condition: Very Good Hardcover
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Bibliographic Details

Title: The '60s Spiritual Awakening

Publisher: Rutgers University Press, Piscataway, NJ, U.S.A.

Publication Date: 1994

Binding: Hard Cover

Book Condition:Very Good

Dust Jacket Condition: Good

About this title


For many people, the 1960s was a period of reawakening. The political and cultural upheavals of the time had a tremendous effect on the spiritual lives of Americans, and American religion in its various forms and incarnations has not been the same since. In this epic survey, Robert Ellwood pulls together the changes that occurred in organized and disorganized religious life during this turbulent decade and sets out to show where those changes came from, following in a chronological manner the religious news and events of the day.

The author recalls the unusual role religion played in the 1960 and 1964 presidential elections, the stunning results of the Second Vatican Council, the place of religion in the civil rights and antiwar movements, the emergence of Death of God theology, and the impact of religion on the counterculture. He also interprets what happened in the country spiritually as an important and perhaps permanent shift in the character of American religion, from an institutionally determined to a more subjective experience of the divine.

From Kirkus Reviews:

An alternately serious and silly look at the 60s as an era of spiritual change in the United States. Ellwood (Religion/Univ. of Southern California) contends that the real core of the 1960s was a spiritual revolution. This revolution, however, is most often overlooked by chroniclers of the period, as they prefer instead to focus on the tumultuous political and social upheavals such as the civil rights and antiwar movements. For the author the 1960s, in fact, was the decade in which the postmodern took hold. Following Lyotard's lead, he defines ``postmodern'' as a rejection and distrust of master narratives. In religion what this implies, he contends, is a movement away from large hierarchical, institutional religions with rigid structures of authority toward smaller faiths (some of which offer, paradoxically, an ethos that is at once more communitarian and more individualistic than that found in traditional religion). This is what occurred in the 1960s. While established Christianity grappled with Death of God theology and modernization (as exemplified by the Second Vatican Council), Zen, Hinduism, Krishna, Scientology, and a plethora of new religious movements began to capture the imagination of millions of young people. The counterculture both embodied and adopted pieces of this spiritual pluralism and latitudinarianism. Ellwood also sees today's New Age movement as the living remainder of the legacy of the spiritual awakening of the 1960s. Purple prose, flowery extended metaphors, and an obvious nostalgic longing for the 1960s mar what aspires to be an important study. -- Copyright ©1994, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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