Spirituality: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)

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It is a striking aspect of contemporary western culture that, alongside a decline in traditional religious affiliations, there has been a growing interest in spirituality and the use of the word in a variety of contexts. Indeed, spirituality is sometimes contrasted favorably with religion, which many people see (for good or ill) as an off-putting amalgam of dogma, moralism, institutions, buildings, and hierarchies. This Very Short Introduction, written by one of the most eminent scholars and writers on spirituality, explores the historical foundations of spirituality and considers how it came to have the significance it has today. The notion of spirituality, Philip Sheldrake notes, expresses the fact that many people are driven by goals that concern more than material satisfaction. Broadly, it refers to the deepest values and sense of meaning by which people seek to live. Sometimes these values are conventionally religious. Sometimes they are associated with what is understood as "the sacred" in a broader sense–that is, of ultimate rather than merely instrumental importance. Looking at spirituality in religion, philosophy, anthropology, and psychology, Sheldrake sheds light on the concept of the spiritual "experience" and considers the impact and transformation it can have on individuals and on society.

Product Details

  • Series: Very Short Introductions
  • Paperback: 152 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (December 14, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199588759
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199588756
  • Product Dimensions: 6.7 x 0.5 x 4.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.2 ounces

Customer Reviews

A great, short overview of the move toward spirituality and …

 on December 22, 2014
By R. Adams
A great, short overview of the move toward spirituality and away from organized religion that many religions and cultures are experiencing.

Right on!

 on September 25, 2015
By Eclectic Hermit
I enjoy this book immensely. It is concise and to the point.

Very good

 on December 7, 2013
By Yanis
I think this short introduction provides one with a very comprehensive view of spirituality. This work sets spirituality in perspective and invites one to a more deeper engagement.

Four Stars

 on March 29, 2016
By Keith L. Collins
Excellent

Completely refreshing look at ancient beliefs

 on March 17, 2013
By Roberta Morris
Oxford is to be congratulated, as well as Philip Sheldrake, for even trying to put together such a vast topic in a mere 140 pages, but Sheldrake alone deserves credit doing it so well. This gives a great overview, and also offers deep insight into ancient traditions and the challenges facing people and people’s faith in the 21st century.

Excellent, readable, informative, interesting, and relevant

One person found this helpful.
 on November 26, 2014
By Geoff Crocker
This is an excellent introduction to, and call for, spirituality. Our consumer society and reductionist philosophy have left us with a materialist rationalist physical world with no account of our metaphysical being, whether intellectual, emotional, or spiritual.

Another great VSI book

3 people found this helpful.
 on February 19, 2013
By bronx book nerd
Philip Sheldrake is a scholar on spirituality and he shares his expertise in a condensed form in this rich and accesible book. Sheldrake’s approach is objective as he covers the various perspectives on spirituality, from traditional religions like Christianity, Judaism and Islam to non-deist practices like Bhuddism, as well as New Age and even secular spirituality. Sheldrake covers in sufficient detail for such a shoet book the commonialites and differences among the various expressions of spiritual practice. Sheldrake also covers other issues like the relationship between spirituality and religion, what defines practives and beliefs as religion, and how spirituality is expressed in secular venues like hospitals and businesses. As with other entires in the Very Short Introduction series, this book is another excellent introductory resource for the topic covered.

Five Stars

 on September 26, 2017
By Juan Fernandez
Loved the book. I only wished Sheldrake spoke about the LGBT community in the systems.

Five Stars

 on November 5, 2015
By J. AMAECHI
Great read!

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