Panentheism Across the World’s Traditions
Philip Clayton and Loriliai Biernacki, Eds
New York, Oxford University Press, 2013
Not to be confused with pantheism-the ancient Greek notion that God is everywhere, an animistic force in rocks and trees-the concept of panentheism suggests that God is both in the world, immanent, and also beyond the confines of mere matter, transcendent.
One of the fundamental premises of this groundbreaking collection of essays is that panentheism, despite being unlabeled until the nineteenth century, is not merely a modern Western invention. The contributors examine a number of the world’s established and ancient religious traditions-Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, and others-to draw out the panentheistic dimensions of these traditions and the possibilities they suggest. Panentheism is not only an esoteric, potentially heretical, and deeply mystical vision of the world’s great religious pasts; it is also a key feature of contemporary global spirituality. As this volume demonstrates, the metaphors and practices associated with modern panentheism speak powerfully to the realities of our evolving species and our evolving technological world. Panentheism’s enticingly heretical vision of the relationship between the divine and matter has historically been denied a serious place in scholarship. As Panentheism across the World’s Traditionsshows, the dynamism between matter and spirit that panentheism offers has had a profound influence in the modern world.