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Between Dancing and WritingThe Practice of Religious Studies$
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Kimerer L. LaMothe

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780823224036

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: March 2011

DOI: 10.5422/fso/9780823224036.001.0001

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A Practice of Understanding

A Practice of Understanding

(p.129) Chapter 6 A Practice of Understanding
Between Dancing and Writing

Kimerer L. LaMothe

Fordham University Press

This chapter looks deeply into van der Leeuw's phenomenology of religion in order to examine what he means by “phenomenon” and what he recommends to a phenomenologist interested in understanding it. For van der Leeuw, a phenomenon is simply “what appears”, and the job of the phenomenologist is to recreate the conditions that enable a given phenomenon to appear to her or him by practicing skills of imaginative empathy, intellectual restraint, and a constant oscillating attention between the folds of her own experience and knowledge and the stuff of history. It contends that the task of the phenomenologist is to cultivate his ability to move back and forth between reason and experience, history and theology, form and chaos, and thereby cultivate his receptivity to appearances of meaning.

Keywords:   understanding, history, knowledge, theology, phenomenon, form and chaos

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