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Religion as Metaphor


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Table of Contents

PrefaceAcknowledgmentsPersonal Introduction1. Miracles as Imagination
Mythos and History; The Miracles of Jesus;
Metaphor and Its Hazards; Preserving the
Spiritual Meaning2. Religion as Metaphor
The Literary Mode of Scripture; Myth,
Metaphor and Jesus; Literal Thinking as Idolatry;
Religion as Unconscious Poetry; Pious Fraud;
The Greatest Story Ever Sold?3. The Soul's Symbolic Code
Why Myth Matters; Myth as Ancient
Psychology; When Mythos became Logos;
The Ancestral Mind; Mythos, Soul, Eternity;
Mythos in Art and Entertainment; Mythos as a Structure of Thought; Mythos Downgraded; Myths, Dreams, Religions; Something Continues to Speak4. Jesus the Metaphor
Imagination and Reality; Fear of Myth;
The Secret Life of Us; Personifying; Spirit
Personified in Jesus; Ongoing Incarnation;
The Messenger as the Message; An Eastern Moment in the West; Gnosticism and other Heresies;
Absolutism, Violence, and Conflict; When Jesus became God; Onward Christian Soldiers;
Jesus the Mirror of Our Projections5. The Myth of the Virgin Birth
The Dead Hand of Patriarchy; Can We Be
"Moved" By Myths?; Sexual Politics and the
Uses of Myth; The Myth and its Background;
Divine Insemination; Spiritual Rebirth;
Institutional Literalism; The Less We Believe the Better6. Waking Up
The Kingdom; Putting on the New Self;
Waking Up to a Higher Authority; Reversal of
the Ego's Values; Losing and Finding Life;
The Mustard Seed; Many are Called, Few Choose;
Completion, Not Perfection; Transformation,
Not Repentance; Jesus, Socrates, and Waking Up7. Apocalypse
Apocalypse as Psychology; Coming of the New Self;
Destruction and Renewal; Spiritual Event and
Pathological Obsession; Violation of the Ego's
Boundaries; New Self as Original Self; Judgment;
Destruction and Punishment; God as Interruption;
Rapture; Founding a New Order8. Satan and Literalism
Nicodemus and the Rebirth Story; Incest Fantasies
and Sexual Abuse; Satan as the Personification of
Literalism; The Sublimation of Base Instincts9. Resurrection: Ascending to Where?
The Resurrection Conundrum; Joseph Campbell's
Straight Talking; Jung: Cutting through Spiritual
Materialism; Paul's Mysticism; The Parable of Emmaus;
Emmaus Never Happened, Emmaus Always Happens;
The Unacknowledged God in Our Midst10. Psyche and Symbol
Dreaming the Myth Onward; Reworking
the Past; The Therapeutic Function of Myth;
Myth as Psychic Truth; Mystery Without Literalism;
Respect to a God Unknown; The Assumption
of Mary; Elevation of the Symbolic11. After Belief
After Literalism; Faith Without Belief;
Vision and Uncommon Sense; Bultmann's
Progressive Thinking; Saving the Myths;
Throwing Out the Baby; Progressives in the
Rationalistic Mode; The Sea of Faith at Ebb Tide;
From Passive Belief to Active Faith;
Stages of Faith; Recreating the FablesConclusion: Unveiling the SoulRebirth of the Sacred; From the God-Shaped Hole; Depth Psychology as Midwife; Psyche as an Opening to InfinityIndex

About the Author

David Tacey is Emeritus Professor of Literature at La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia. He has written extensively on spirituality, religion, youth experience, and mental health. His most recent books are Gods and Diseases: Making Sense of Our Physical and Mental Wellbeing and The Darkening Spirit: Jung, Spirituality, Religion.


"In an environment where a mindless biblical fundamentalism has been identified with Christianity and where, as a direct result, the culture has become both non-believing and thoroughly secular, David Tacey, a proponent of a modern understanding of Christianity does his work. Rejecting both the hysteria of the biblical literalists and the emptiness of modern secularism, this book dares to engage both a deeply held Christian faith and the thought forms of the 21st century. As a Christian I welcome his contribution to the debate of our generation." --John Shelby Spong VIII, Bishop of Newark and author of The Fourth Gospel: Tales of a Jewish Mystic "Professor David Tacey's book is of vital concern for those who are confronted with the challenges facing religion and especially Christianity in the Western world." -- Catholica website "[T]his book is an eloquent, impassioned, and erudite plea for the renewal of Christianity that draws on extremely diverse sources, including G. W. F. Hegel, F. W. J. Schelling, Ludwig Feuerbach, David Strauss, Friederich Nietzsche, Matthew Arnold, Northrop Frye, Rudolph Bultmann, Paul Tillich, Harvey Cox, Karen Armstrong, and Dominic Crossan, among others." - Daniel Burston, PsycCRITIQUES

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