181 REVIEWS James L. Cox, Expressing the Sacred: An Introduction to the Phenomenology of Religion Harare: University of Zimbabwe Publications, 1992. xi + 172 pp. ISBN 0-908307-28-4. James L. Cox, Rational Ancestors: Scientific Rationality and African Indig- enous Religions Cardiff: Cardiff Academic Press, 1998. iv + 266 pp. ISBN 1-899025-08-1. JEFFREY CARTER Phenomenology remains a controversial method in the academic study of religion. With its roots in philosophical phenomenology and a long history of various definitions and applications, it is a difficult term to summarize and defend. Nevertheless, this is precisely the goal of James Cox in these two recent books. Generally speaking, he aims to define the phenomenology of religion, provide a step-by-step pro- tocol for students to apply it, suggest its limits as an academic method, and respond to some of its major criticisms. All this he attempts while working with material drawn from several indigenous religions in Zimbabwe (e.g., Shona, Ndebele, Khalanga). The intended audience for Expressing the Sacred is the undergraduate student, and consequently this book has significant strengths, but also weaknesses. It is a readable and well organized introduction to the major concepts and characteristics of phenomenology. Working with well-known sources (Husserl, Eliade,
Method & Theory in the Study of Religion – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 1999
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