Chapter

Finding Middle Grounds

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: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520236134.003.0003
Finding Middle Grounds

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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

Chapter.  7920 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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