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Explorations in the Border Region of Religious and Secular Spiritualities from the Perspective of Religious Studies

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Chapter Summary

This chapter shows that in religious studies there is a real need for distinctions between different spiritualities, a need which is probably less acute in other disciplines that study them. It illustrates the diversity of current spiritualities by giving an overview of the Dutch situation. The chapter presents the principal theories of religion and spirituality which are current in religious studies. It advances the author's typology of various spiritual practices and discusses this typology with reference to the authors already cited. Traditionally scientific study of spirituality in the twentieth century was part of Christian theology, which obviously presupposed a Christian concept of spirituality: mysticism or ascetic piety. There are good reasons to expect that, despite regional differences, the range of current spiritualities in various Western countries is rather similar. Thus an overview of present-day Dutch diversity is illustrative of the Western situation.

Keywords: Christian theology; Dutch situation; religious studies; scientific study; secular spiritualities; spirituality



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