The Spiritual Dimension: Religion, Philosophy and Human Value

By Wood, William D. | Anglican Theological Review, Fall 2006 | Go to article overview

The Spiritual Dimension: Religion, Philosophy and Human Value


Wood, William D., Anglican Theological Review


The Spiritual Dimension: Religion, Philosophy and Human Value. By John Cottingham. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005. xii + 186 pp. $24.99 (paper).

John Cottingham's The Spiritual Dimension is a genteel manifesto. It argues that the philosophy of religion should turn away from an exclusive focus on the assessment of propositional truth claims and toward a richer understanding of religious adherence as a form of spiritual practice that aims at self-understanding and moral growth. It is at once a brief in favor of this conception of the religious life and a prima facie defense of its reasonableness: religions adherence, so understood, answers a genuine human need and is consonant with the basic facts of human experience, according to Cottingham.

He argues that religious adherence is best understood as structured program of moral and spiritual askesis, an interior journey of transformation in which we are gradually freed from the mental and volitional defects that block the path of moral excellence, Such practices are temporally, heuristically, psychologically, and morally prior to the metaphysical doctrines that comprise a religion's truth-claims, according to Cottingham (pp. 150-151). By this he means, roughly, that one must already be steeped in the practices of a religious tradition in order to appreciate fully what its truth claims mean, and what it means to live them out. In short, religious truths are "such that to try to grasp them purely intellectually is to avoid them" (p. 11). Perhaps surprisingly-for a work of philosophy, at least-the book culminates with the claim that the spiritual practice par excellence is participation in the liturgy: "For a striking characteristic of the great religions is that their life blood, their very continued existence in the lives of their adherents, derives . . . from repeated practices of prayer and worship, which find an articulate voice in traditional language that contains a very large measure of symbolic and figurative discourse" (p. 163).

One of Cottingham's great virtues is his ability to hold together diverse ideas that other scholars keep apart. The synthesis of theoria and praxis is the book's major theme, and Cottingham repeatedly emphasizes that his attention to the latter does not mean that he rejects the former. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

The Spiritual Dimension: Religion, Philosophy and Human Value
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.