The Sacred Quest: An Invitation to the Study of Religion (3rd Edition)

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9780130209948: The Sacred Quest: An Invitation to the Study of Religion (3rd Edition)

This new edition of The Sacred Quest uses a thematic and comparative approach to the study of religion. This work reflects a long history of use in undergraduate programs at the introductory level. Focus of the individual chapters attempts to give equal weight to both theoretical issues and to practices as they are reflected in the major religions of the world. Features new to this edition *Updated and revised material throughout *Emphasis on more contemporary issues of religion and culture *Enhanced ethical considerations *Updated bibliographies

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From the Publisher:

Taking a thematic and comparative approach, this text provides a clear, concise introduction to the study of religion. It examines the main ideas that characterize all religious thought and practice, focusing on such fundamental topics as ritual, sacred language, ethics, salvation, and the problem of evil.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

This textbook derives from a generation of experience teaching undergraduates in a course introducing the academic study of religion at the Florida State University. For well over two decades, that course has remained one of the most popular in the undergraduate curriculum. Some years ago, a team of faculty and graduate students "wrote up" and duplicated the core lectures as an aid for the students. From that somewhat modest beginning came the first edition of The Sacred Quest.

We are still convinced that the "core" of the course (reflected in the chapters of this book) remains valid. Nonetheless, some of our examples seemed a bit dated, we were needlessly obscure in places, and our discussion materials needed freshening. We have tried to remain faithful to our original vision while taking into serious account the many useful suggestions and criticisms of those who have used the book in their own classes.

This book is brief by design. We know that we cannot replicate the readings that an individual instructor might wish to use in class. Therefore, we trust that the individual teacher will flesh out what we have only hinted at and provide ancillary materials to enlarge the material base of the course.

Since the first edition appeared, Lawrence S. Cunningham has left Florida for the more austere pleasures of northern Indiana, while John Kelsay has moved up in the academic ranks to become chair in the Department of Religion at Florida State. The two graduate students who joined in working on the first edition, Roy Barineau and Heather McVoy, have finished their degrees and moved into full-time careers.

We wish to thank our publisher for the continued support of The Sacred Quest and also thank our reviewers: Allen S. Davidson, Georgia Southern University; Patricia DeFerrari, Georgetown University; and Randal Cummings, California State University-Northridge. They gave us valuable suggestions for improvements as we prepared this new edition.

This book is dedicated to the many students who have sat in our classes over the years. They have been our toughest critics and our best supporters.

Lawrence S. Cunningham
The University of Notre Dame

John Kelsay
The Florida State University

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