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Sense of the FaithfulHow American Catholics Live Their Faith$
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Jerome P. Baggett

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195326956

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195326956.001.0001

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Tradition in a Posttraditional Society

(p.205) 7 Paradox
Sense of the Faithful

Jerome P. Baggett (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter reflects on an inherent paradox of religious traditions. Characterized by both stasis and flux, traditions conserve cultural meanings for new generations of people who, in reinterpreting these as novel situations require, ultimately alter those very meanings. To comprehend this is to grasp more fully the perennial and dynamic nature of religious faith. This pushes us to acknowledge two additional points. The first is that the analytical categories we frequently utilize in investigating religious traditions must also adapt if we are truly to do justice to tradition's paradoxical character. The second point is that the ending of one iteration of a religious tradition is often tantamount to the beginning of another.

Keywords:   American Catholicism, Catholics, religious traditions, religious culture

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