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User Review  - deusvitae - LibraryThing

An immense, sweeping, magisterial exploration of Western civilization, primarily over the past 500 years, as a quest to answer the question: how come in 1500 everyone believed in God and took it for ... Read full review

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This is a mature work of breathtaking scope and depth. Taylor pulls together a broad range of topics and disciplines in trying to give an attentive account of how the late modern West has become "secular", and what that might mean. In so doing, he makes a strong case for an analysis of this topic that is necessarily nuanced and modest, even for all its painstaking detail and sheer volume. Indeed, he cogently demonstrates that the shortcomings of most other contemporary attempts at modernity/secularity analysis have to do precisely with a lack of such nuance and caution. Unexamined assumptions and unacknowledged adherence to intellectual biases have been the unfortunate characteristics of much contemporary scholarship on these topics and have contributed to a narrow and skewed understanding of social and cultural forces vital to our own self-understanding. Taylor does a masterful job in beginning the work of rethinking these matters. Anyone interested in serious engagement with modernity and/or religious studies must become familiar with this tremendous work.
My only criticism is of the book's many grammatical errors and awkward phrases. I should think that a Harvard publication would have been thoroughly scrutinized by a good editor prior to publication.
 

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