The Enduring Quest for Meaning

Humans, Mystery, and the Story of Religion

Course instructors considering a book for adoption will be provided a complimentary copy.
$32.95
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““As a theologian in a Catholic liberal arts college, I have found it difficult to find texts that offer academic excellence in the analysis of the development of religion while maintaining a respectful demeanor that is supportive of religious faith. Michael Horace Barnes’’s The Enduring Quest for Meaning: Humans, Mystery, and the Story of Religion strikes the perfect balance. It both challenges and inspires.””

John B. Switzer
Spring Hill College

“”Michael Horace Barnes’’s The Enduring Quest for Meaning: Humans, Mystery, and the Story of Religion (the revised edition of Barnes’’s peerless textbook, In the Presence of Mystery [1984]), puts a much finer point to his exploration of ‘a supreme and awesome unity’ of the entire universe. I can think of no other work that will better accompany the reading of Pope Francis’’s critically important encyclical on ecology, Laudato si’, than this work. The coherence and timing are propitious and providential.””

David G. Schultenover
Marquette University

“Michael Barnes’’s book, The Enduring Quest for Meaning, is written clearly and intelligibly, not assuming too much knowledge on the part of its readers. It introduces the academic study of religion in a fascinating, well-organized way that relates its topic to the lives of students, including footnotes to relevant academic sources and key chapters that make the book’’s story clear. The treatment of postmodernism is helpful to the understanding of religion in the twenty-first century.”

Alan Meyers
Lindenwood University

“The Enduring Quest for Meaning is a comprehensive and well-constructed introduction to religion as human response to mystery. It talks about a God that transcends the limits of particular religion’s’ titles or manner of relating to God or God’’s existence. The book is coherent, useful, and attractive: coherent because of its examples of how humans have understood Ultimate Reality; useful because of its footnotes and charts and summaries of terms; and attractive in the images that illustrate topics (a picture is frequently “worth a thousand words”).”

James V. Zeitz
Our Lady of the Lake University

“At a time when many students question the value of religion, Michael Horace Barnes’’s The Enduring Quest for Meaning provides an engagingly written text that demonstrates why the religious quest not only endures but thrives. Barnes shows how human religiousness is grounded in our shared humanity. This book will appeal to students who are religious, as well as to those who are suspicious of religion. It integrates insights from multiple disciplines.  .  .  .  Its rich examples from a wide variety of religious traditions provide concrete illustrations of the larger points being made and will spark student interest.”

Donna Teevan
Seattle University

About This Book

Overview

Human beings are uniquely equipped with a capacity and curiosity to consider mystery. For countless generations, people have asked and answered existentially urgent and provocative questions about the meaning of life, the existence of God, and how to be a good person.

Religions of the world have traditionally been the outlet for dealing with mystery, and in The Enduring Quest for Meaning: Humans, Mystery, and the Story of Religion, Michael Horace Barnes presents a chronicle of the human quest to make sense of these mysteries through religious traditions. Tracing this quest from the mythic tales of hunter-gatherers to modern scientific atheism, this text sheds light not only on the mysteries people face, but—more importantly—on the people who face them. With charts, pictures, and discussion questions at the conclusion of each chapter, The Enduring Quest for Meaning makes questions of ultimate meaning accessible and engaging for any audience.

Details

Weight 1.4 lbs
Dimensions 6 x 1.5 x 9 in
Format

Softcover

ISBN

978-1-59982-681-3

Pages

386

Item # 7068

Customer Reviews

““As a theologian in a Catholic liberal arts college, I have found it difficult to find texts that offer academic excellence in the analysis of the development of religion while maintaining a respectful demeanor that is supportive of religious faith. Michael Horace Barnes’’s The Enduring Quest for Meaning: Humans, Mystery, and the Story of Religion strikes the perfect balance. It both challenges and inspires.””

John B. Switzer
Spring Hill College

“”Michael Horace Barnes’’s The Enduring Quest for Meaning: Humans, Mystery, and the Story of Religion (the revised edition of Barnes’’s peerless textbook, In the Presence of Mystery [1984]), puts a much finer point to his exploration of ‘a supreme and awesome unity’ of the entire universe. I can think of no other work that will better accompany the reading of Pope Francis’’s critically important encyclical on ecology, Laudato si’, than this work. The coherence and timing are propitious and providential.””

David G. Schultenover
Marquette University

“Michael Barnes’’s book, The Enduring Quest for Meaning, is written clearly and intelligibly, not assuming too much knowledge on the part of its readers. It introduces the academic study of religion in a fascinating, well-organized way that relates its topic to the lives of students, including footnotes to relevant academic sources and key chapters that make the book’’s story clear. The treatment of postmodernism is helpful to the understanding of religion in the twenty-first century.”

Alan Meyers
Lindenwood University

“The Enduring Quest for Meaning is a comprehensive and well-constructed introduction to religion as human response to mystery. It talks about a God that transcends the limits of particular religion’s’ titles or manner of relating to God or God’’s existence. The book is coherent, useful, and attractive: coherent because of its examples of how humans have understood Ultimate Reality; useful because of its footnotes and charts and summaries of terms; and attractive in the images that illustrate topics (a picture is frequently “worth a thousand words”).”

James V. Zeitz
Our Lady of the Lake University

“At a time when many students question the value of religion, Michael Horace Barnes’’s The Enduring Quest for Meaning provides them with an engagingly written text that demonstrates why the religious quest not only endures but thrives. Barnes shows how human religiousness is grounded in our shared humanity. This book will appeal to students who are religious, as well as to those who are suspicious of religion. It integrates insights from multiple disciplines, including religious studies, theology, philosophy, history, psychology, sociology, and anthropology. Its rich examples from a wide variety of religious traditions provide concrete illustrations of the larger points being made and will spark student interest.”

Donna Teevan
Seattle University

About the Author

Michael Horace Barnes

Michael Horace Barnes is a professor of religious studies at the University of Dayton.

Table of Contents

Contents

Preface
IntroductionPart 1 The Numinous
1. An Enchanted World: The Numinous in Primitive and Archaic Religion
2. A Supreme and Awesome Unity: God and Other Ultimates in Historic Religions
3. The Human Quest: The Origin and Function of Belief in the Numinous
4. The Endless Quest: Human Nature and Belief in an Ultimate

Part 2 Religions:Hopeful Responses to Life’s Limits
5. Peace, Paradise, and Perfection: The World as It Should Be
6. Neither Lost nor Alone: Belonging as a Form of Salvation
7. A True and Worthy Selfhood: Identity as Salvation

Part 3 Guides to Life
8. What Should I Do and Why: Religion and Morality
9. The Process of Tradition: Leaders, Texts, and Interpretations
10. Living Images of the Traditions: Ritual and Symbol
11. Believing and Knowing: The Interrelations of Faith and Reason
Part 4 Modern Religiousness and Beyond
12. Science and Secularity: The Modern Era Begins
13. Life without Religion: Twentieth-Century Skeptical Humanisms
14. In the Presence of Mystery: Modern Religion
15. The Future of Religion: Religion in the Twenty-First Century
Index

 

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