The book sums up several years of research into religion from a perspective informed by history, phenomenology and psychology. It is typical of humans to create forms of understanding at a symbolic level of the biological and physiological reality which confronts them. This gives meaning and a coherent structure to the often chaotic nature of that reality. Religion has been a means of creating such symbolic understandings. The similarities between various religions are actually very great, although their differences tend to dominate our view of them. Everything in the world of religion can be traced back to everyday and simple circumstances which, through the construction of symbols at both the cognitive and the behavioural levels, acquire a more elevated and "sacred" character. This book provides an introduction to the key aspects of a psycho-phenomenological study of the forms of expression within religions.
Nils G. Holm is professor emeritus of Science of Religion at Åbo Akademi University, Finland