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Article

Is Liturgy Ludic? Distinguishing between the Phenomena of Play and Ritual

Department of Philosophy, Fordham University, New York, NY 10458, USA
Academic Editor: Edward Foley
Religions 2021, 12(4), 232; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12040232
Received: 8 February 2021 / Revised: 2 March 2021 / Accepted: 5 March 2021 / Published: 25 March 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Phenomenology and Liturgical Practice)
What is the nature (or “Wesen”) of the liturgical phenomenon? It has become immensely popular to describe liturgical or ritual practice as a kind of “holy play,” whether as metaphor, as productive analogy for pragmatic or theological purposes, or even as making an ontological claim about what liturgy “is” in its essence. The present article seeks to complicate the association of the phenomena of liturgy and of play. The first part traces the origins of the notion of play and the development of its application to ritual in the most influential sources from Kant to Gadamer. The second part highlights its prevalence in the contemporary discussion and elucidates how it is being used. The third part provides a phenomenological analysis to demonstrate important differences between the two phenomena and to question the contention that liturgy is a form of play. The final part tries to ascertain the broader practical and theological aims being served by the association of the two phenomena and—via a return to the question of the nature of the liturgical phenomenon in a more theological mode—suggests that these aims might be accomplished more productively in ways that avoid the downsides of identifying ritual or liturgy with play. View Full-Text
Keywords: liturgy; ritual; play; phenomenology; liturgical theology liturgy; ritual; play; phenomenology; liturgical theology
MDPI and ACS Style

Gschwandtner, C.M. Is Liturgy Ludic? Distinguishing between the Phenomena of Play and Ritual. Religions 2021, 12, 232. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12040232

AMA Style

Gschwandtner CM. Is Liturgy Ludic? Distinguishing between the Phenomena of Play and Ritual. Religions. 2021; 12(4):232. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12040232

Chicago/Turabian Style

Gschwandtner, Christina M. 2021. "Is Liturgy Ludic? Distinguishing between the Phenomena of Play and Ritual" Religions 12, no. 4: 232. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12040232

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