Contemplative Studies and the Liberal Arts

Contemplative Studies and the Liberal Arts Andrew O. Fort Texas Christian University Contemplative Studies--meaning both standard "third-person" study of contemplative traditions in history and various cultures as well as actual "first-person" practice of contemplative exercises as part of coursework--is a new field in academia, and aspects have been controversial in some quarters, seen as not completely compatible with the rigorous "critical inquiry" of liberal arts study. While there are agendas within contemplative studies (CS) that go beyond the traditional questions and issues of liberal education, I want to argue that CS has, for a number of reasons, a place right at the heart of such inquiry. CS can be approached from many disciplines, including psychology, medicine, and neuroscience, as well as literature and visual, fine, and performing arts, but here I will focus on its place in liberal arts generally, and in religious studies specifically.1 Given my specific focus, I will skip defining some broad terms frequently used in and beyond CS (such as "religion," "spirituality," or "meditation"), but, in view of my topic, I do need to say a few words about what I mean by "contemplation" and "liberal arts." "Contemplation" refers to ways of knowing and focusing attention, often but certainly not http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Buddhist-Christian Studies University of Hawai'I Press

Contemplative Studies and the Liberal Arts

Buddhist-Christian Studies, Volume 33 (1)

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Publisher
University of Hawai'I Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2008 The University of Hawai'i Press.
ISSN
1527-9472
Publisher site
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Abstract

Andrew O. Fort Texas Christian University Contemplative Studies--meaning both standard "third-person" study of contemplative traditions in history and various cultures as well as actual "first-person" practice of contemplative exercises as part of coursework--is a new field in academia, and aspects have been controversial in some quarters, seen as not completely compatible with the rigorous "critical inquiry" of liberal arts study. While there are agendas within contemplative studies (CS) that go beyond the traditional questions and issues of liberal education, I want to argue that CS has, for a number of reasons, a place right at the heart of such inquiry. CS can be approached from many disciplines, including psychology, medicine, and neuroscience, as well as literature and visual, fine, and performing arts, but here I will focus on its place in liberal arts generally, and in religious studies specifically.1 Given my specific focus, I will skip defining some broad terms frequently used in and beyond CS (such as "religion," "spirituality," or "meditation"), but, in view of my topic, I do need to say a few words about what I mean by "contemplation" and "liberal arts." "Contemplation" refers to ways of knowing and focusing attention, often but certainly not

Journal

Buddhist-Christian StudiesUniversity of Hawai'I Press

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