Chapter

Relating Stories about Religious Traditions

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/9780520236134.003.0007
Relating Stories about Religious Traditions

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Religious writing demands imagination and reason, but interpretive writers must give scientific reason to convince readers of the truth in their stories. Discussing stories shifts readers' attention to the element of believability that makes the aesthetic work. This chapter examines the scientific truths of interpretive writing in light of its aesthetic ones, exploring relationships between the two truths. Interpretive writing is limited in the degree of scientific truth it can attain, and its most appropriate range is a middle ground between isolated statements about particulars and grand generalities. Most interpretive writers tell two kinds of stories at once, each serving truths both scientific and aesthetic. Treating problems of truth and knowledge in religious studies brings forth awareness of the imperfections inherent in scholarly discourse, of the difficulty of making statements about religious traditions.

Keywords: imagination; religious traditions; religious stories; element of believability; middle ground

Chapter.  6682 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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