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True Religion (Wiley–Blackwell Manifestos) Paperback – 21 Jan 2008

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Product details

  • Paperback: 180 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell (21 Jan. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0631221743
  • ISBN-13: 978-0631221746
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.6 x 23 cm
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,887,859 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description


"True Religion is a magical book that forces us to see the world in which we now live. Ward combines extraordinary erudition and an equally extraordinary imagination that results in a book of rare intelligence and beauty. His fresh readings of familiar texts makes the book exciting and profound. Hopefully the book will attract the interest of non–theologians as well as theologians" Stanley Hauerwas

"Graham Ward is Professor of Contextual Theology and Ethics at Manhester University, and in this short but stimulating book he provides abundant evidence that he lives up to his title." Church Times

"Ward is an imaginative theologian whom I suspect of having an essentially literary sensibility. But in True Religion he deploys that sensibility in brilliant analyses of novels, plays, poems, buildings and films for a stated project in cultural history...It is the changing social construction of "true religion" over five centuries of "Western" history." Times Literary Supplement

"The Blackwell Manifesto series is designed to "engage and challenge" readers, and Ward, the eminent Manchester University theologian, does precisely that. In graceful prose, he charts the changing views of "True Religion" from Shakespeare to the present in a study that combines piercing insights with evocative analyses of Romeo and Juliet, Robinson Crusoe, and Moby Dick, as well as various films." Choice

"True Religion is playful, erudite and wise. Its prose is spare, its meanings extravagant and more thrilling than a ′pendulum boat′ ride. It is the best attempt I′ve read to show that ′postmodern theology′ is not an oxymoron." Theology


From 'The Holy Land Experience' theme park to the aggressive convictions of the fundamentalist, religion is once more haunting the imagination of the West. But how does what we think of as religion today compare with the 'true religion' of days gone by? Through reference to plays, poetry, painting, novels and films, this manifesto traces the genealogy of 'true religion' in the Western world, charting changes in our understanding of the term from Shakespeare to Salman Rushdie, pointing out how closely linked those changes are to secularism, liberalism and the development of capitalism. On the basis of his cultural analysis, the author makes several paradoxical observations: While the idea of true religion has fashioned our understanding of democracy and liberal humanism, it is also closely bound to imperialism. What we are currently witnessing in Western culture is the disintegration of the concept of 'religion' and yet the reintroduction of religion into the market is a defining characteristic of postmodernity. With the commodification of religion the only viable future for faith traditions is to turn to theology, but that will generate more culture wars.

To resolve culture wars each tradition must both strongly define itself and resist the pressure to turn their own faith into a fetish. The book is guaranteed to excite students and scholars of literature, theology and religion, as well as the general reader.

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