Book

Opening the Doors of Wonder

Arthur Magida

Published by University of California Press

Published in print October 2006 | ISBN: 9780520245457
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520941717 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520245457.001.0001
Opening the Doors of Wonder

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This book explores rites of passage in America by sifting through the accounts of influential thinkers who experienced them. The author explains the underlying theologies, evolution, and actual practice of Jewish bar and bat mitzvahs, Christian confirmations, Hindu sacred thread ceremonies, Muslim shahadas and Zen Jukai ceremonies. In rare interviews, renowned artists and intellectuals such as Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel, holistic guru Deepak Chopra, singer Yusuf Islam (Cat Stevens), actress/comedienne Julia Sweeney, cartoonist Roz Chast, interfaith maven Huston Smith, and many more talk intimately about their religious backgrounds, the rites of passage they went through, and how these events shaped who they are today. The author compares these coming of age ceremonies' origins and evolution, considers their ultimate meaning and purpose, and gauges how their meaning changes with individuals over time. He also examines innovative rites of passage that are now being “invented” in the United States. The book reveals a deep, ultimate need for coming-of-age events, especially in a fluid society such as America.

Keywords: rites of passage; bar mitzvahs; Christian confirmations; sacred thread ceremonies; Muslim shahadas; Zen Jukai ceremonies; coming of age

Book.  304 pages. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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Table of Contents

Prologue in Opening the Doors of Wonder

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Introduction in Opening the Doors of Wonder

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The Descent of the Spirit in Opening the Doors of Wonder

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Bob Abernethy in Opening the Doors of Wonder

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· Chinua Achebe in Opening the Doors of Wonder

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Huston Smith in Opening the Doors of Wonder

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Julia Sweeney in Opening the Doors of Wonder

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Jim Zogby in Opening the Doors of Wonder

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What, <i>Really</i>, is A Man? in Opening the Doors of Wonder

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Leon Botstein in Opening the Doors of Wonder

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