Date of Award

Fall 1999

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Committee Director

Lawrence Hatab

Committee Member

Douglas Greene

Committee Member

David Metzger

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.H85 J35


There is good reason to believe that sacred experience is available to all humans. Yet the question of the sacred is frequently reduced to a debate between believers of various religions. As the focus of contention narrows, the ubiquity of sacred experience is neglected. Keeping this in mind, this analysis of the sacred confines itself strictly to the phenomenon of the sacred as a human experience, without confirming or denying the existence of a god or the veracity of any system of belief. Heidegger's Phenomenology is a useful model for such an analysis precisely because it lays aside conjecture about the existence of realities beyond human capacity, striving instead to engage reality as it is experienced by human beings in order to gain insight into the human condition.

Being and sacred experience are equiprimordial. The sacred is a part of every Dasein's world; even those Daseins who never directly experience the sacred still receive the foundational premises of meaningfulness by way of the values put forth in myths, sacred texts and social customs. Dasein understands its self and the world as participating in the structure of sense established by sacred experience prior to any rational or conscious action it may undertake in its everyday life.


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