André Carrington Ritual, pilgrimage, and ecstasy are not only metaphors when it comes to people’s devotion to cultural texts—these terms are really useful in theories of the practice of making genre traditions.
Barbara A. Mann First, nothing in monotheism prepares anyone to understand anything in Indian spirituality. The base number of monotheism is One, whereas the base number of Indian spirituality is Two. These assumptions lead in very different directions.
Kaya Oakes And yet, there was a real sense throughout doing the interviews that comprise a lot of the book that this was deeply sacred work: holding people’s stories, amplifying them through writing, and engaging in dialogue post publication about this fragile thing we call faith.
Elizabeth Drescher . . . what constitutes “religion” and the “spiritual” for most people often has little in common with what scholars study and demographers track.
Erin A. Smith I purposely excluded sacred scriptures from the study, because I wanted to investigate the messy relay between the commercial and the transcendent.
In our interview series, “Seven Questions,” we ask some very smart people about what inspires them and how their latest work enhances our understanding of the sacred in cultural life. For this segment, we solicited responses from Joseph O. Baker
Matthew Avery Sutton I was not terribly interested in defining religion or the sacred. My focus was on how what my subjects would define as their religious beliefs and convictions functioned. I focused on the work that their religion did.
Jeff Wilson The really interesting thing is that mindfulness can be simultaneously religious and secular, spiritual and scientific, not only for different people but even for the same persons. This demonstrates just how much the category of “the sacred” is in flux in today’s society.
Eric Reinders Then I read Foucault’s Discipline and Punish about the making of the soldier’s body and I thought, yes, there might be a way to talk about monastic discipline in a new way.