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Aesthetics and Analysis in Writing on ReligionModern Fascinations$
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Daniel Gold

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780520236134

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520236134.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 17 May 2022

Fascinated Scientists and Empathizing Theologians

Fascinated Scientists and Empathizing Theologians

(p.15) Chapter 1 Fascinated Scientists and Empathizing Theologians
Aesthetics and Analysis in Writing on Religion

Daniel Gold

University of California Press

This chapter implies that even old stalwarts of hard-minded Enlightenment-style and soft-hearted romantic-style scholarship on religion harbor ambivalent feelings toward the materials of their study. Their ambivalence draws them toward religious life, but since they assimilate these religious matters through their aesthetic sensibilities rather than their religious ones, they are puzzled by religion. They are drawn to religion but are unable to reach a logical conclusion, because they believe in science. Even the field's historically extreme stances are not without hesitations. Neither a path of all-embracing engagement nor one of absolute aloofness can readily be trodden to the logical conclusions of extreme ideals. Thus, despite their desire somehow to comprehend other religious worlds deeply, these religiously committed scholars recognize the boundaries of their own cultural horizons, the limits of their individual efforts, and the inflexibility of their own personal faiths.

Keywords:   ambivalent feelings, aesthetic sensibilities, religious sensibilities, science, extreme ideals

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