Ritual and thought : Spirituality and method in philosophy of religion

Journal article

Connelly, William L.. (2021). Ritual and thought : Spirituality and method in philosophy of religion. Religions. 12(12), p. Article 1045. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12121045
AuthorsConnelly, William L.

This paper outlines a strain of French Spiritualism, a philosophical tradition extending from Maine de Biran, Félix Ravaisson, and Jules Lachelier to their reception in the work of Maurice Blondel and his protégé Henry Duméry. In receiving and transforming this tradition, Blondel and Duméry have helped to provide a distinct philosophical paradigm in philosophy of religion, capable of providing insight into the spiritual nature of the human being, both in how spirituality relates to the advanced stages of religious culture in addition to its primitive presence in spontaneous action. As a tradition consecrated to the study of human consciousness, and the operations of the mind [l’esprit], the French spiritualist tradition provides a rich conceptual matrix for analyzing the nature of human thinking and its relationship to action. In such an analysis of human thought, Maurice Blondel set up a moral psychology and metaphysical anthropology, highlighting how the consciousness of the human being is linked to the objective order of existence, both in its material form and in the intelligible realities behind the nature of existence. This philosophical matrix helps to show how religious practices, through embodied engagement with the material world, are effective at generating a consciousness of metaphysical or transcendent realities. As such, this philosophical paradigm provides the means for constructing a theory of ritual, where ritual acts with symbols and signs may be rendered intelligible as the sensible means for the cognitive expression of spiritual activity.

Keywordsphilosophy of religion; French spiritualism; realism; phenomenology; metaphysics; cultural anthropology; cognitive archaeology; comparative religion
Journal citation12 (12), p. Article 1045
PublisherMultidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute (MDPI AG)
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12121045
Scopus EID2-s2.0-85120157197
Open accessPublished as ‘gold’ (paid) open access
Page range1-36
Publisher's version
File Access Level
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online25 Nov 2021
Publication process dates
Accepted10 Nov 2021
Deposited20 Jan 2023
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