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An Interpretation of Religion: Human Responses to the Transcendent Paperback – April 24, 1991

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 427 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press (April 24, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300050143
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300050141
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,829,487 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

A leader in interfaith interpretation of religion, Hick has written what will probably become a classic in the philosophy of religion. Clear, readable, and comprehensive, the book is an expansion of his 1986-87 Gifford Lectures. After outlining his argument in an introduction stressing the nature of religion as a family-resemblance concept, Hick investigates religion from numerous perspectives: phenomenological, epistemological, pluralistic, and in terms of soteriological, ethical, and truth-claims criteria in order to conclude "that the great world traditions constitute different conceptions and perceptions of, and response to, the Real from within the different cultural ways of being human." Highly recommended for all academic and seminary libraries.
- Carolyn M. Craft, Longwood Coll., Farmville, Va.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By John S. Ryan on March 14, 2001
Format: Paperback
John Hick, perhaps best known as the editor of the infamous _The Myth of God Incarnate_, here undertakes a massive task: providing a philosophical justification for religious pluralism.

I'm surprised to see that it hasn't been reviewed yet, because I think it's one of his best books. But then again, it's also one of his thickest and most demanding.

Essentially, his thesis is that all human religions are (as his subtitle indicates) human responses to a transcendent reality which (or Who) "has many names," as another of his book titles puts it. On this view, the measure of a religion's "success" is its ability to move people along the path of salvation/liberation/call it what you will.

Now, there are tremendous difficulties with this view, and Hick does not duck them; that's one reason the book is so thick. I won't try to summarize his arguments here; readers who want shorter and more accessible discussions can turn to one of his other books for a good introduction. At any rate he sorts carefully through a bewildering array of "responses to the transcendent" and tries, mostly successfully, to sort them into some sort of pattern despite their occasional apparent contradictions of one another. (At bottom he relies on a Kantian distinction between the noumenal and the phenomenal to argue for the existence of a single transcendent Reality not exhausted in human conceptions thereof.)

What I find most interesting about his attempt is that the outcome is very close to the view of mainstream Judaism. Judaism has never claimed to be a universal religion; on the traditional Jewish view, all people (and peoples) have their own particular spiritual strengths and weaknesses, with the Jews in this sense being only one people among others.
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