Secular Quest for Meaning in Life. The Denton Papers in Implicit Religion

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“The essays appearing this volume, together with the useful introduction, sectional commentaries and epilogue, explore the presence of ‘religion’ in an unusual and fascinating variety of contexts including politics, humour, psychotherapy, football, hospices and war memorials. They are sure to find many eager and appreciative readers within and beyond the academic study of religion.” – Roger O’Toole

"Edward Bailey's contribution to theology deserves to be better-known. His seminal book, Implicit Religion in Contemporary Society (1997), and his more recent The Secular Faith Controversy (2001), appear not to have been reviewed in this journal, for which he wrote an article in 1997. Brian Castle, review- ing Bailey's briefer Implicit Religion: An Introduction (1998) in Modern Believing (40:4, p. 97), called Bailey a 'pioneer'; and in the volume under review, Bailey is referred to as 'that intrepid intellectual entrepreneur' (p. 55).

These descriptions are entirely fair: Bailey has almost single-handedly put 'implicit religion' on the theological agenda -the concept that 'secular' aspects of life can be analysed in terms of religious categories, with illumi- nation both for the secular world and for religion. Bailey coined the term in 1969 when he began his doctoral thesis, and two years after its completion in 1976, he began annual conferences in implicit religion at Denton Hall, Yorkshire, which continue to the present-day. These conferences gave rise in the 1980s to Bailey's convening of the Network for the Study of Implicit Religion, which eventually led, at the turn of the millennium, to the establishment of university courses and research fellowships in the subject, and the journal Implicit Religion. Implicit Religion is the journal for which Denton Hall papers not published elsewhere will now be most naturally suited.

[This book] is 'the best of the rest' -Bailey's pick of the collected papers from 1978 onwards and as such is a useful complement to his introductory studies in implicit religion. Bailey has helpfully ordered the papers in two parts: the fIrst part consists of 12 essays (largely by sociologists, and not all easy reading) which present different angles on the theory of implicit religion; the second part is made up of eight practical applications of the concept to various spheres of 'secular' life. Again, Bailey structures the book well: his authoritative voice tops and tails the collection with an introduction and epilogue, as well as providing a few pages of commentary after every four chapters. Ninian Smart, who died in 2001, has contributed the foreword." - Modern Believing

"Commend to readers this rather special and very enjoyable book." - Implicit Religion

Table of Contents

Foreword by Ninian Smart
Introduction: The Notion of Implicit Religion (Edward Bailey)
Part 1: The Conceptual Position of Implicit Religion
1. The Secular Practice as Implicit Religion (Martin Goodridge)
2. The Metaphysics of Secular Institutions (Peter McCaffery)
3. The Sacred as Surrogate: notes on implicit a-religion (N. J. Demerath III)
4. Ethnic Jokes: implicit religious values and implicit religious identity (Christie Davies)
5. Diffused Religion: theory and practice (Roberto Cipriani)
6. Charisma Today (Meerten ter Borg)
7. The Experience of Transcendence in Contemporary Culture (Alistair Kee)
8. Epiphany and Apocalypse in the Post Modern (David Lyon)
9. On the Possibility of Naturalistic Religions (Vasilios N. Makrides)
10. The Centrality of the Concept of Implicit Religion for Religious Studies (John Badertscher)
11. The Priority of the Holy: some remarks on the distinction between the sacred and the holy (Wilhelm Dupré)
12. Implicit Religion: ineffability (Paul Heelas)
Part II: Some Empirical Applications of the Concept of Implicit Religion
13. Implicit Religion: the hospice experience (Derek Murray)
14. Lapidary Texts: Europe's War Memorials - a liturgy for heroes (Jon Davies)
15. Religion in the Capital Area of Finland (Tapio Lampinen)
16. Anti-Satanism as a Social Movement (William H. Swatos Jr.)
17. The Religion of Politics (Geoffrey Scobie)
18. The Sacralisation of Political Sociology: implicit religion in the American Frontier tradition (Robert E. Beckley and H. Paul Chalfant)
19. Religion and Football: the cult of the fighting game-cock (Hal W. French)
20. Notes on the Religiosity of Scientific Methods of Psychotherapy (Roger Grainger)
Epilogue: The Future of Implicit Religion (Edward Bailey)

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