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This collection of primary texts introduces readers to the mystical literature of the world's great religious traditions. Beginning with an introduction by Steven T. Katz, a leading scholar of mysticism, the anthology comprises poetry, prayer, narrative, and other writings from Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Taoist, Confucianist, and Native American traditions. This collection provides readers not only with the primary mystical texts from each religious tradition, but with an explanation of the context of the source and tradition. Comparative Mysticism shows how the great mystical traditions of the world are deeply rooted in the religious traditions from which they originated. The contextual methodological approach taken throughout the anthology also addresses the critical question of what these mystical traditions, at their highest level, have in common. Despite the prevailing view that mystical traditions throughout the world are essentially similar, the presentation of the sources in this volume suggests that, in fact, the various traditions have distinct teachings and different metaphysical goals. The writings collected in Comparative Mysticism address the most fundamental and important methodological, epistemological, and hermeneutical questions regarding the study and interpretation of mysticism and mystical sources across cultures. This anthology will be an invaluable resource to students and scholars of mystic tradition for years to come.
This unique volume collects some of the best recent work on the philosophical challenge that religious diversity poses for religious belief. Featuring contributors from philosophy, religious studies, and theology, it is unified by the way in which many of the authors engage in sustained critical examination of one another's positions. John Hick's pluralism provides one focal point of the collection. Hick argues that all the major religious traditions make contact with the same ultimate reality, each encountering it through a variety of culturally shaped forms of thought and experience but all offering equally effective paths to salvation or liberation. Another central position is William P. Alston's defense of the Christian practice of forming beliefs about manifestations of God in response to experiences of divine presence or activity. Articles by Hick and Alston develop their arguments and other selections respond, criticizing or defending various aspects of one or both positions. Religious skepticism, religious exclusivism, religious inclusivism, and other perspectives are also represented. In the introduction, the editors suggest connections among the articles and report on additional exchanges between the contributors. The only anthology that provides comprehensive coverage of the current philosophical debate about religious diversity, The Philosophical Challenge of Religious Diversity is ideal for courses and seminars on the philosophy of religion, philosophical theology, and world religions.