Dangerous Words

Dangerous Words

Talking About God in An Age of Fundamentalism

Book - 2007
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Religious language, Gary Eberle notes, can be the linguistic equivalent of nitroglycerine. A little three-letter word like God, for example, is so complex, so intertwined with various identities, so ultimately undefinable, that using it can be like throwing a hand grenade, regardless of your intentions. Others have noted the linguistic problem in religious discourse, but no one has approached it in Gary Eberle s way: taking a few of the more problematical words and wrestling with them until he comes tounderstand their history and etymology deeply. Getting there with him is fun, but it also provides a sound foundation for anyone involved in the culture wars today, by tracing the meanings of the words that cause so many problems for us, and in some cases revealing surprises. For example, through his scholarship we discover that the Fundamentalist movement in fact arose out of modernism and the Enlightenment, which its proponents so often decry.Over the course of the book, the author examines the following problematical, lightning-rod words, one per chapter: truth, modernism, fundamentalism, myth, religion, tradition, God, and silence. He concludes in his finalchapter, Silence, that the way religious discourse can best proceed is when its partisans, on both sides of the issues, understand the limitations of words as they debate them."
Publisher: Boston, Mass. : Trumpeter ; [New York] : Distributed in the U.S. by Random House, 2007.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9781590304327
Characteristics: xvii, 233 p. ; 24 cm.


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