Fascinated Scientists and Empathizing Theologians

Daniel Gold

in Aesthetics and Analysis in Writing on Religion

Published by University of California Press

Published in print June 2003 | ISBN: 9780520236134
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520929517 | DOI:
Fascinated Scientists and Empathizing Theologians

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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

Chapter.  3040 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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