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Myth and Ritual In Christianity

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  132 ratings  ·  7 reviews
“Our main object will be to describe one of the most incomparably beautiful myths that has ever flowered from the mind of man, or from the unconscious processes which shape it and which are in some sense more than man.… This is, furthermore, to be a description and not a history of Christian Mythology.… After description, we shall attempt an interpretation of the myth alon ...more
Paperback, 280 pages
Published June 1st 1971 by Beacon Press (first published 1955)
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4.21  · 
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 ·  132 ratings  ·  7 reviews


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Yvonne
Oct 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Christians and those who want to know Christianity
Recommended to Yvonne by: after The Wisdome of Insecurity I'm seeking out Alan Watts
"Alan Wilson Watts (6 January 1915 – 16 November 1973) was a British-born philosopher, writer, and speaker, best known as an interpreter and populariser of Eastern philosophy for a Western audience." (Wikipedia) Also a former Episcopal priest, although in Myth and Ritual in Christianity, I often wondered if I had that wrong and he had instead been a Catholic priest!

As I have been reading the book in the last few days, I have wondered how I was going to encapsulate what the book is. Then in the l
...more
Margaret Langstaff
Jun 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: metaphysics, myth
First, and very importantly, "myth" does NOT mean "false" in the context of this book. Quite the contrary. It means a higher, the highest, truth. Watts' book is in the same lineage as Joseph Campbell's THE MASKS OF GOD (4 vols.).

Having said that, onto brass tacks. Though I don't have time to write a full blown, decent review of this very intelligent, provocative work, I want to go on record (in kind of a public service announcement)about it by giving it a top rating and to recommend it to reader
...more
Marti Martinson
Jul 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I first read this book more than 6 years ago as a course at the St. Alban Liberal Catholic Seminary. It was absolutely revelatory then and has been so with each of my two subsequent readings. It would take far more space than this Review box to do a proper review (as another has pointed out), and I can only echo that "This is not your mother's catechism." And thank goodness for that! The deeply rooted aspects of the collective unconscious, the "dignity of myth" (Watts' term), and generally unack ...more
Owen Thaxton
Nov 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing
A thorough analysis of Christianity in the mid-1950's, Watts' comprehension of history and profound understanding of spirituality allow for an engaging story that dissects a religion which has more persuasion over Western thought than we would care to admit.

On many levels, Christianity is a deep and powerful source of spirituality, promising eternal hope for those who are faithful but condemning those who choose not to believe in a religion formed 2000 years ago which claims to have intimate kno
...more
Martin Hassman
Dec 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mythology, religion
Ke knize jsem přistupoval skepticky. Říkal jsem si: “Alan Watts a křesťanství? Vždyť je expert na filosofie východu.” Kniha mě nakonec příjemně potěšila. Watts do hloubky rozebírá některé stavební kameny křesťanství a používá k tomu své zkušenosti s východními filosofiemi. Výsledek je zajímavý a inspirující.
Meredith
Feb 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book was truly eye-opening! I've read several of Watts's books on Buddhism (The Spirit of Zen and Zen and the Beat Way) and value his thoughts on the subject of religion. This book showed me the beauty of Christianity through an in-depth discussion of its myths and rituals. It is a very dense book and rather hard to get through because it is packed with so much information. But I was fascinated to see how closely Christianity resembles other religions. Watts gives many, many connections tha ...more
Shawn
Apr 10, 2019 rated it it was ok
Inside is exactly what is says on the tin. Alongside detailed instructions on how to perform certain rituals is Watts' commentary on the mystical meanings. Also included where appropriate are the distinct similarities to be found in Eastern religions, bolstering on of the main themes of this work that through a shared unconscious Man consistently dreams up and creates the same myths, and to understand and benefit from these one must throw off theological interpretations that obfuscate the innerm ...more
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Alan Wilson Watts was a British philosopher, writer and speaker, who held both a Master's in Theology and a Doctorate of Divinity. Famous for his research on comparative religion, he was best known as an interpreter and popularizer of Asian philosophies for a Western audience. He wrote over 25 books and numerous articles on subjects such as personal identity, the true nature of reality, higher con ...more