Encyclopedia of Religion
and Society

William H. Swatos, Jr. Editor

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Belief that spiritual powers are present in this world and infuse people, organizations, and objects. Expressions of immanence are found in traditional magical practices, the theologies of ancient Judaism and of Islam, the pantheism of classical Greece and Rome, and the Catholic sacramental tradition as well as in many contemporary "New Age" religions. Immanence is commonly contrasted with the Protestant view of God as exclusively transcendent. In Religion and Regime (University of Michigan Press 1967), Guy E. Swanson links the beliefs to a particular social structure, arguing that the rejection of immanence—indicated by the spread of the Protestantism in Europe—is explained by the prior development of associational forms of governance. The Catholic emphasis on immanence continued where the state was primarily organized as a social system.

David Yamane

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