Paper about Ruf’s book on Bewildered Travel

It must be 4 pages minimum in length; typed (12 font, doubled-spaced, w/ 1” margins);

Theme – Religious Traveling & Absolute Interruptions

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Your job is to interpret, in your own words, what the following statements and claims might entail. In other words, write a well-organized, argued, and theoretically persuasive essay about the nature and significance of ‘bewilderment’ in Religious Studies.

Please consider Frederick J. Ruf’s position in Bewildered Travel: The Sacred Quest for Confusion:

It’s not the only way to see travel, but it’s what this book will urge: that what travel means is not just misfortune but seeking misfortune. In some sense, wanting it. And it is of such crucial importance to us that we must call it religious. (4)

Citing William James, Ruf describes such religious travel thusly:

Fronting life. Looking for a beating. Wanting to be robbed. Craving the sacred. (4)

More specifically, argues Ruf:

The definition of religion as “absolute interruption” suggests that we are halted and even intimidated. (67)

And therefore Ruf asks:

Why do we seek the confusions of passage, the prolonged encounter with danger, discomfort, disequilibrium, stupor, and failed activities? (94)

Seeming to answer his own question, Ruf states:

Why do we travel? In part it’s in hope that we’ll see a man change into a goat in the Djemaa el Fna. What’s more, we always do. (102)

Please feel free to creatively and critically utilize all resources provided thus far by the course, including the centrality of Ruf’s Bewildered Travel, daily lectures, as well as any image/video material shown in class thus far. Of course, you may use outside resources – just cite appropriately.

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