Tradition and authenticity in the search for ecumenic wisdom /

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Main Author: Langan, Thomas
Format: Book
Published:Columbia : University of Missouri Press, c1991.
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Review by Choice Review

Langan is a contemporary phenomenologist here promoting self-development (authenticity) through one's critical, conscious, coming to possession (appropriation) of tradition. "Traditions are vital because they are store-houses of accomplishment and transmitters of vision" (p. 22). Our situation is a world situation and our effort should be to glimpse the founding experiences at the beginnings of all the great traditions constituting our world. The goal is global understanding by taking the ecumenical attitude and allowing the other to be. The four genera of tradition (privileged experience of Being) are the artistic, the scientific/philosophical, the associational/political, and the religious. The book in part treats, and an appendix lists, "Major Explicit Traditions Influencing the World System" and we learn of other books underway in which Langan endeavors to appropriate from within traditions even relatively alien to a Western Catholic notably Islam. This reviewer wonders at the absence of Latin American liberation theology from Langan's list and finds his Catholicism and politics too conservative, though applauding the spirit of tolerant universalism animating this work. One must know phenomenology, especially Heidegger, to understand this book. A glossary aids the neophyte, though the omission of the term "horizon" withholds needed help. Accessible to advanced undergraduates. J. M. Betz; Villanova University

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.

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