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Neo-Hasidism does not see that it is not teaching the original Hasidism anymore not does it want to know the pop-psych and culture -culture that it has let into Hasidism. Kabbalah Centre practitioners assume that all kabblah is a science taught by Moses about getting what you want in life, and kiruv Torah would not see itself in a work comparing it to Evangelicals.

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NS: How do you do scholarship—and, in so doing, take account of history—about a community that denies its own historicity? One reason for this is that the living practices of spirituality allow people to cultivate ways of being in time that are future-focused, or that situate practitioners in perennial time. All religious practices place people in time and in space. In this case, the spiritual practices that I trace do interesting things to the kind of narrative history that most historians write, so paying attention to these practices, and chronicling how they unravel and decouple from most recognizable historical narratives, is just as important.


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Looking at all of this, I embraced a study of entanglements because it demands different starting points for analyzing religious life: experience, discourse, meaning, and practice. NS: If not in such traditional, formal contexts, where does one find the markers of spirituality?

CB: Well, first I should say that we do indeed find markers of spirituality in traditional religious institutions.

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In an early chapter, I focus on a variety of sites in Cambridge where spirituality is produced: alternative medicine, the arts particularly amateur arts , and also various religious groups. There is a lot of interaction among these.

But in The New Metaphysicals, I followed a number of practices that are sometimes spiritual, sometimes religious, and sometimes secular. Yes, some of their ideas are often uncritical mixtures of nineteenth-century Theosophical ideas, what they learned from any number of alternative health practitioners, and whatever David Brooks says about neuroscience in his New York Times column.


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  5. But most Americans hold some combination of ideas about science that include heavy doses of misunderstanding, rumor, hope, and imagination. NS: For many religious Americans, though, sins against science come rooted in suspicion and omission. Those in your book seem prone, instead, to an overzealous embrace. CB: Perhaps it would be fair to say that the people I met in Cambridge are aware of the fact that they are drawing on unorthodox combinations of science, religion, and philosophy—probably more so than many others.

    That said, the great majority of them also insisted that their views would some day be vindicated. As they see it, true spiritual laws never change, and given their universality and generalizability, they will someday—soon—capture the attention of mainstream physicists and neuroscientists. NS: In particular, do you mean to offer a critique, as sociological accounts of American metaphysical spirituality often have in the past? CB: Offering a critique is not what gets me out of bed in the morning, to be honest. Read Entire Interview Here. I consider this article very interesting and rich in content, would also be very nice to discuss issues that are present in this paper.

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    We moved your item s to Saved for Later. There was a problem with saving your item s for later. You can go to cart and save for later there. Average rating: 0 out of 5 stars, based on 0 reviews Write a review. Associate Professor of Religion Courtney Bender. Walmart Tell us if something is incorrect. Book Format: Choose an option. Add to Cart.

    Spirituality vs. Religion

    Product Highlights American spirituality-with its focus on individual meaning, experience, and exploration-is usually thought to be a product of the postmodern era. To explore this world, Courtney Bender combines research into the history of the movement with fieldwork in Cambridge, Massachusetts-a key site of alternative religious inquiry from Emerson and William James to today.

    Through her ethnographic analysis, Bender discovers that a focus on the new, on progress, and on the way spiritual beliefs intersect with science obscures the historical roots of spirituality from its practitioners and those who study it alike-and shape an enduring set of modern religious possibilities in the process.

    The New Metaphysicals | Courtney Bender

    About This Item We aim to show you accurate product information. Manufacturers, suppliers and others provide what you see here, and we have not verified it. See our disclaimer. But, as The New Metaphysicals makes clear, contemporary American spirituality has historic roots in the nineteenth century and a great deal in common with traditional religious movements. American spirituality—with its focus on individual meaning, experience, and exploration—is usually thought to be a product of the postmodern era.

    To explore this world, Courtney Bender combines research into the history of the movement with fieldwork in Cambridge, Massachusetts—a key site of alternative religious inquiry from Emerson and William James to today. Through her ethnographic analysis, Bender discovers that a focus on the new, on progress, and on the way spiritual beliefs intersect with science obscures the historical roots of spirituality from its practitioners and those who study it alike—and shape an enduring set of modern religious possibilities in the process.

    Specifications Publisher University of Chicago Press. Customer Reviews. Write a review.