The Primordial Tradition
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Increasingly philosophy of religion has been shifting from simply rational investigation of Christian faith claims to probing the meaning and validity of the religious viewpoint generally, drawing on all the great religions as resources. Hutton Smith, formerly of MIT and now at Syracuse, has blazed this trail, and his new book is a significant step toward a comprehensive philosophy of comparative religions. More abstract and skeletal than his best-selling The Religions of Man, now a standard introduction to the subject, Forgotten Truth is perhaps more elegant in style and its message more compelling. It is Smith's growing conviction that for all their diversity the major religious traditions have a common conceptual spine which represents virtually "the human unanimity." The only civilization out of step with this primordial tradition is our own, the modern West, and that is because our "scientistic" outlook, based on the mistaken belief that science offers a world view, has reduced the mansion-of-being to the ground floor of what is material and measurable. The heart of the book articulates the traditional, religious view, which true science opens on and which naturally suits the full complement of human sensibilities: that there are distinct but interrelated levels of reality, that both the world and the self exist in a hierarchy of being whose apex is the infinite, the fullness for which all things yearn. Smith's title is apt, his reminder timely.
Pub Date: Sept. 29th, 1976
ISBN: 0061320544
Page count: 200pp
Publisher: Harper & Row
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 1976


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