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Description - Working on God by Winifred Gallagher

A rich and intelligent ecploration of the quest for spirituality in our itme.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780375755378
ISBN-10: 0375755373
Format: Paperback
(203mm x 140mm x 19mm)
Pages: 368
Imprint: Modern Library Inc
Publisher: Random House USA Inc
Publish Date: 27-Apr-2000
Country of Publication: United States

Book Reviews - Working on God by Winifred Gallagher

US Kirkus Review » For the benefit of the skeptical would-be faithful (dubbed here "neoagnostics"), journalist Gallagher offers an autobiographical, selectively bicoastal look at liberal religious experience in America today. Gallagher (I.D: How Temperament and Experience Create the Individual, 1996) updates Immanuel Kant's classic formulation of humanity's three principal questions (What can I know? What ought I do? What can I hope?) to: What is real? What do I feel?, What are my choices? The update reflects the influence of what Gallagher calls millennial religion, by which she means those experiential, nonjudgmental, pluralistic ways of being religious that characterize the spiritual life of some, mostly urban, Americans. ("Millennial" is an unfortunate coinage for this use, since for traditional Christians it implies apocalypse, while for religious non-Christians, who measure time otherwise than from Christ's birth, it has little currency at all.) Casual and breezy language characterizes much of this self-consciously journalistic romp between such diverse religious centers as Congregation B'nai Jeshurun (a popular synagogue in New York City), the Cathedral of St. John the Divine (also in New York), and the Sonoma Mountain Zen Center (California). Gallagher's book comprises recountings of worship, meditation, and study experiences she has had at these and like religious institutions, as well as interviews with their respective leaders and flocks. The focus primarily on Judaism, Christianity, and Zen Buddhism reflects the author's confessed status as a Catholic-bred, meditation-practicing spouse of a Jewish man. The casual style breeds some errors, as in the retelling of the biblical story of the burning bush (which Moses turns toward initially, not away from, as Gallagher narrates), or the medieval Jewish reaction to Maimonides (who in his own lifetime never faced a serious threat of excommunication, as Gallagher implies). But the author has a good ear for the memorable remark, as of the contemplative nun who said of her life, it "is sheer faith most of the time. Very sheer." An occasionally successful attempt to capture in journalistic prose some varied depths of (post) modern religious experience. (Kirkus Reviews)


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Author Biography - Winifred Gallagher

Winifred Gallagher's previous books are Just the Way You Are: How Heredity and Experience Create the Individual, which was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, and The Power of Place: How Surroundings Shape Our Thoughts, Emotions, and Actions. She has written for many magazines, from The Atlantic Monthly to Rolling Stone. She lives in Manhattan and Long Eddy, New York.

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