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The Sacred: Differentiating, Clarifying and Extending Concepts

Matthew T. Evans
Review of Religious Research
Vol. 45, No. 1 (Sep., 2003), pp. 32-47
DOI: 10.2307/3512498
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3512498
Page Count: 16
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The Sacred: Differentiating, Clarifying and Extending Concepts
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Abstract

Disparate uses of the term "sacred" are illustrated, and three categories of meaning are suggested: religious, transcendent, and set apart. The latter concept is differentiated from the other two, and its conceptual and linguistic relationships to them explored. The set-apart sacred is then clarified, and extended to include things set apart 1) by both individuals and social groups, and 2) because of both natural and supernatural association. A new typology of the sacred is introduced by intersecting these dimensions, a nomenclature is suggested, and the conceptual utility of the resulting constructs demonstrated by applying them to texts from the New York Times and other discourse.

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