Myth and Ritual in Christianity

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"First published as a Beacon paperback in 1968"--T.p. verso.

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GonzoPlatonicTypewriter

Jun 21, 2007

Redeeming the Universal from Christian Traditions

Alan Watts is better-known for his studies of Eastern religions, and for his wisdom-of-insecurity, "Zen" philosophy. What is less-well known -- and subsequently under-appreciated-- is Watts' contribution to Christianity as a Perennial Philosophy-- work which stood chronologically at the inception of Watts' writing career.

MYTH AND RITUAL IN CHRISTIANITY invokes a Medieval Christian world-view, which was a living reality in (especially Roman- or Anglo- ) Catholicism well into the 20th century, and is still vibrant in the post-Vatican-II Catholic world in more-subtle ways, such as when a monk or nun writes a meditative piece for appreciation by a traditional Catholic audience.

The Christian legends-- Creation, Incarnation, Resurrection, the "Pentecostal Experience," and the Eschatology/Last-Things-- as mythical/symbolic (irrespective of whether they are historical) creations, interpretable from a Universalist frame of reference Watts identifies as cognate with THE PERENNIAL PHILOSOPHY-- a termed coined by (Italian) Augustino Steuco in the 16th century, employed by the philosopher Leibniz, and figuring prominently in the wisdom of Aldous Huxley and (Indian) Ananda Coomaraswamy. This universalist philosophy fits well with a broad-minded person's thinking, and comfortably fits in the accepting ideological mode prevailing in this 21st century.

For those looking to "redeem" traditional Christianity from its conservative dogmatism, this book is REALLY TONIC: with it one can find ways-- at the same time-- to be both Catholic (or just Christian, if that term suits better) and accepting of other (religious/philosophical/theosophical) traditions as well. As such therefore, this book is a great contribution to HUMAN COMMUNITY-- a signal accomplishment.

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