A Secular Age 1st Edition, Kindle Edition

4.1 out of 5 stars 61 customer reviews
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ISBN-13: 978-0674026766
ISBN-10: 0674026764
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. In his characteristically erudite yet engaging fashion, Taylor, winner of the 2007 Templeton Prize, takes up where he left off in his magnificent Sources of the Self (1989) as he brilliantly traces the emergence of secularity and the processes of secularization in the modern age. Challenging the idea that the secular takes hold in a world where religion is experienced as a loss or where religions are subtracted from the culture, Taylor discovers the secular emerging in the midst of the religious. The Protestant Reformation, with its emphasis on breaking down the invidious political structures of the Catholic Church, provides the starting point down the road to the secular age. Taylor sweeps grandly and magisterially through the 18th and 19th centuries as he recreates the history of secularism and its parallel challenges to religion. He concludes that a focus on the religious has never been lost in Western culture, but that it is one among many stories striving for acceptance. Taylor's examination of the rise of unbelief in the 19th century is alone worth the price of the book and offers an essential reminder that the Victorian age, more than the Enlightenment, dominates our present view of the meanings of secularity. Taylor's inspired combination of philosophy and history sparkles in this must-read virtuoso performance. (Sept.)
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Review

“Taylor's book is a major and highly original contribution to the debates on secularization that have been ongoing for the past century. There is no book remotely like it.”Alasdair MacIntyre

“This is Charles Taylor's breakthrough book, a book of really major importance, because he succeeds in recasting the whole debate about secularism. This is one of the most important books written in my lifetime. I am tempted to say the most important book, but that may just express the spell the book has cast over me at the moment.”Robert N. Bellah

“If the author had accomplished nothing more than a survey of the voluminous body of 'secularization theory,' he would have done something valuable. But, although Taylor clearly articulates his disdain for the view that modernity ineluctably led to the death of God, he goes far beyond a literature review… In addition to its conceptual value, this study is notable for its lucidity. Taylor has translated complex philosophical theories into language that any educated reader will be able to follow, yet he has not sacrificed an iota of sophistication or nuance. A magisterial book.”Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“In his characteristically erudite yet engaging fashion, Taylor takes up where he left off in his magnificent Sources of the Self (1989) as he brilliantly traces the emergence of secularity and the processes of secularization in the modern age… Taylor sweeps grandly and magisterially through the 18th and 19th centuries as he recreates the history of secularism and its parallel challenges to religion. He concludes that a focus on the religious has never been lost in Western culture, but that it is one among many stories striving for acceptance. Taylor's examination of the rise of unbelief in the 19th century is alone worth the price of the book and offers an essential reminder that the Victorian age, more than the Enlightenment, dominates our present view of the meanings of secularity. Taylor's inspired combination of philosophy and history sparkles in this must-read virtuoso performance.”Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“One finds big nuggets of insight, useful to almost anybody with an interest in the progress of human society… A vast ideological anatomy of possible ways of thinking about the gradual onset of secularism as experienced in fields ranging from art to poetry to psychoanalysis… Taylor also lays bare the inconsistencies of some secular critiques of religion.”The Economist

“Sophisticated, erudite…with excursions into history, philosophy and literature, A Secular Age is a weighty and challenging tome. It is also a brilliant account of the 'sensed context' in which secularization developed. And a moving meditation, by a believer, on the 'ineradicable bent' of human beings to respond to something beyond life, to keep open 'the transcendent window.'”Glenn C. Altschuler, Baltimore Sun

“A salutary and sophisticated defense of how life was lived before the daring views of a tiny secular elite inspired mass indifference, and how it might be lived in the future.”Michael Burleigh, New York Sun

“[A] big, powerful book… [Taylor's] book is massive in its historical and philosophical scope. Penetrating and dense, it would take months to fully digest. Loosely structured, it's crammed with original insights. Taylor, 75, can pack more into one of his complex paragraphs than most prevaricating, deconstructing academic philosophers can say in a chapter, or even a book… The book explores the immense ramifications of how the West shifted in a few centuries from being a society in which 'it was virtually impossible not to believe in God' to one in which belief is optional, often frowned upon.”Douglas Todd, Vancouver Sun

“In A Secular Age, philosopher Charles Taylor takes on the broad phenomenon of secularization in its full complexity… [A] voluminous, impressively researched and often fascinating social and intellectual history…Taylor's account encompasses art, literature, science, fashion, private life―all those human activities that have been sometimes more, sometimes less affected by religion over the last five centuries.”Jack Miles, Los Angeles Times

“The real genius of this erudite and profound book resides in its grandeur of theme and richness of detail. For all its imposing intellectual density, it is a delight to read; at times, it was literally impossible to put down. Yet it is also a work that ought to be read by degrees―one chapter at a time, with ample pause for reflection.”Lorenzo DiTommaso, Montreal Gazette

Product details

  • File Size: 3454 KB
  • Print Length: 872 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press; 1st edition (September 20, 2007)
  • Publication Date: September 20, 2007
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002KFZLK2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #78,173 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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