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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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Finding Middle Grounds

Finding Middle Grounds

(p.23) Chapter 2 Finding Middle Grounds
Aesthetics and Analysis in Writing on Religion

Daniel Gold

University of California Press

This chapter examines some ways in which ambivalences played out in the lives of two confessedly conflicted scholars from the first half of the twentieth century: Jane Harrison and Erwin Goodenough, both of whom wrote memoirs. Coming from different sides of the religious spectrum, they each moved from one of these extremes toward a middle ground. Harrison was a self-avowed secularist with a growing passion for Greek ritual. She claimed that an attempt to recover the truths which religion offers through analyses, demands loosening—if not abandoning—traditional theological understandings. Goodenough cherished warm memories of boyhood Methodist enthusiasms even after losing faith in them. His personal point of reference was always a positively valued experience of tradition. In neither case were their feelings toward their subject at all simple, but reflection on what their stances share highlights their appreciation of religio-historical matters.

Keywords:   methodist enthusiasms, ambivalence, conflicted scholars, Jane Harrison, Erwin Goodenough, religio-historical matters

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