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"What has Athens to do with Jerusalem?" Asked by the early Christian Tertullian, the question was vigorously debated in the nineteenth century. While classics dominated the intellectual life of Europe, Christianity still prevailed and conflicts raged between the religious and the secular. Taking on the question of how the glories of the classical world could be reconciled with the Bible, "Socrates and the Jews "explains how Judaism played a vital role in defining modern philhellenism.Exploring the tension between Hebraism and Hellenism, Miriam Leonard gracefully probes the philosophical tradition behind the development of classical philology and considers how the conflict became a preoccupation for the leading thinkers of modernity, including Matthew Arnold, Moses Mendelssohn, Kant, Marx, Nietzsche, and Freud. For each, she shows how the contrast between classical and biblical traditions is central to writings about rationalism, political subjectivity, and progress. Illustrating how the encounter between Athens and Jerusalem became a lightning rod for intellectual concerns, this book is a sophisticated addition to the history of ideas.
Spinoza's Ethics, and its project of proving ethical truths through the geometric method, have attracted and challenged readers for more than three hundred years. In Spinoza and the Cunning of Imagination, Eugene Garver uses the imagination as a guiding thread to this work. Other readers have looked at the imagination to account for Spinoza's understanding of politics and religion, but this is the first inquiry to see it as central to the Ethics as a whole--imagination as a quality to be cultivated, and not simply overcome. Spinoza initially presents imagination as an inadequate and confused way of thinking, always inferior to ideas that adequately represent things as they are. It would seem to follow that one ought to purge the mind of imaginative ideas and replace them with rational ideas as soon as possible, but as Garver shows, the Ethics don't allow for this ultimate ethical act until one has cultivated a powerful imagination. This is, for Garver, "the cunning of imagination." The simple plot of progress becomes, because of the imagination, a complex journey full of reversals and discoveries. For Garver, the "cunning" of the imagination resides in our ability to use imagination to rise above it.
Contemporary conversations about religion and culture are framed by two reductive definitions of secularity. In one, multiple faiths and nonfaiths coexist free from a dominant belief in God. In the other, we deny the sacred altogether and exclude religion from rational thought and behavior. But is there a third way for those who wish to rediscover the sacred in a skeptical society? What kind of faith, if any, can be proclaimed after the ravages of the Holocaust and the many religion-based terrors since? Richard Kearney explores these questions with a host of philosophers known for their inclusive, forward-thinking work on the intersection of secularism, politics, and religion. An interreligious dialogue that refuses to paper over religious difference, these conversations locate the sacred within secular society and affirm a positive role for religion in human reflection and action. Drawing on his own philosophical formulations, literary analysis, and personal interreligious experiences, Kearney develops through these engagements a basic gesture of hospitality for approaching the question of God. His work facilitates a fresh encounter with our best-known voices in continental philosophy and their views on issues of importance to all spiritually minded individuals and skeptics: how to reconcile God's goodness with human evil, how to believe in both God and natural science, how to talk about God without indulging in fundamentalist rhetoric, and how to balance God's sovereignty with God's love.
When wealthy Jewish industrialist David Friedlander proposed in 1799 that Berlin's Jews undergo a sham conversion to Christianity in return for full German citizenship, he touched off a political and theological debate that would continue to define the relation between Jewish and German identity for more than a century. In the series of provocative letters collected here, Friedlander, Protestant leader Wilhelm Abraham Teller, and young Christian theologian Friedrich Schleiermacher debate Friedlander's radical proposal. In so doing, they grapple with many of the thorny problems -- such as citizenship, religious tolerance, and assimilation -- that continue to vex world political leaders today. Richard Crouter's Introduction provides the cultural, religious, and historical context for this compelling exchange; a postscript by Julie Klassen reveals the ways in which Germany's minorities continue to be marginalised more than two hundred years after Friedlander made his passionate appeal for political liberty and human rights.
Comparative Religious Law provides for the first time a study of the regulatory instruments of Jewish, Christian and Muslim religious organisations in Britain in light of their historical religious laws. Norman Doe questions assumptions about the pervasiveness, character and scope of religious laws, from the view that they are not or should not be recognised by civil law, to the idea that there may be a fundamental incompatibility between religious and civil law. It proposes that religious laws pervade society, are recognised by civil law, have both a religious and temporal character, and regulate wide areas of believers' lives. Subjects include sources of law, faith leaders, governance, worship and education, rites of passage, divorce and children, and religion-State relations. A Charter of 'the principles of religious law' common to all three Abrahamic faiths is proposed, to stimulate greater mutual understanding between religion and society and between the three faiths themselves.
Philosophy of Religion: The Basics offers a concise introduction to philosophy of religion, distilling key discussions and concepts of the subject to their succinct essence, providing a truly accessible entry into the subject. * A truly accessible introduction to philosophy of religion for beginners * Takes a topical approach, starting with the nature of religion and moving the reader through the major concepts, explaining how topics connect and point to one another * Offers a thorough and full treatment of diverse conceptions of God, the ontological argument, and divine attributes and dilemmas * A genuinely concise introduction, this text can be used alongside other resources without overtaxing students * Represents 30 years of experience teaching to undergraduates * Includes a free downloadable file with key excerpts and additions to help students study
After years of discussion within the field of anthropology concerning how to properly engage with theology, a growing number of anthropologists now want to engage with theology as a counterpart in ethnographic dialogue. Theologically Engaged Anthropology focuses on the theological history of anthropology, illuminating deeply held theological assumptions that humans make about the nature of reality, and illustrating how these theological assumptions manifest themselves in society. This volume brings together leading anthropologists and theologians to consider what theology can contribute to cultural anthropology and ethnography. It provides anthropologists and theologians with a rationale and framework for using theology in anthropological research.
In the post-Newtonian world motion is assumed to be a simple category which relates to the locomotion of bodies in space, and is usually associated only with physics. This book shows this to be a relatively recent understanding of motion and that prior to the scientific revolution motion was a broader and more mysterious category, applying to moral as well as physical movements. Simon Oliver presents fresh interpretations of key figures in the history of western thought including Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas and Newton, examining the thinkers' handling of the concept of motion. Through close readings of seminal texts in ancient and medieval cosmology and early modern natural philosophy, the books moves from antique to modern times investigating how motion has been of great significance within theology, philosophy and science. Particularly important is the relation between motion and God, following Aristotle traditional doctrines of God have understood the divine as the `unmoved mover' while post-Holocaust theologians have suggested that in order to be compassionate God must undergo the motion of suffering. The text argues that there may be an authentically theological, as well as a natural scientific understanding of motion. This volume will prove a major contribution to theology, the history of Christian thought and to the growing field of science and religion.
Widely regarded as one of the most profound critics of our time, Rene Girard has pursued a powerful line of inquiry across the fields of the humanities and the social sciences. His theories, which the French press has termed "l'hypothese girardienne," have sparked interdisciplinary, even international, controversy. In The Scapegoat, Girard applies his approach to "texts of persecution," documents that recount phenomena of collective violence from the standpoint of the persecutor-documents such as the medieval poet Guillaume de Machaut's Judgement of the King of Navarre, which blames the Jews for the Black Death and describes their mass murder. Girard compares persecution texts with myths, most notably with the myth of Oedipus, and finds strikingly similar themes and structures. Could myths regularly conceal texts of persecution? Girard's answers lies in a study of the Christian Passion, which represents the same central event, the same collective violence, found in all mythology, but which is read from the point of view of the innocent victim. The Passion text provides the model interpretation that has enabled Western culture to demystify its own violence-a demystification Girard now extends to mythology. Underlying Girard's daring textual hypothesis is a powerful theory of history and culture. Christ's rejection of all guilt breaks the mythic cycle of violence and the sacred. The scapegoat becomes the Lamb of God; "the foolish genesis of blood-stained idols and the false gods of superstition, politics, and ideologies" are revealed.
Aquinas's discussions of moral issues are extensive, and range well beyond the narrowly defined set of issues in the modern tradition of moral philosophy. This volume explores the ethical dimensions of a wide selection of philosophical and theological topics in Aquinas's texts. It covers topics central to ethics, such as happiness, moral virtue, and natural law, as well as related topics pertaining to the metaphysical basis of Aquinas's account of goodness, the ramifications of his ethical concerns for his philosophy of language, and the significance of his philosophical psychology for his ethics.
The volume is divided into three sections focusing, respectively, on issues concerning moral theory and moral theology, moral psychology and practical reason, and moral theory in philosophy of language and metaphysics. The authors distinguished scholars of medieval philosophy bring to these issues a variety of approaches and viewpoints. By creatively sampling the breadth of Aquinas's reflections on ethical issues and exploring some of the significant connections that tie his moral thought to other parts of his philosophical and theological system, they display the richness and depth of Aquinas's moral thinking.
Contributors: Jan A. Aertsen, Thomas-Institut, Cologne; E. Jennifer Ashworth, University of Waterloo; John Boler, University of Washington; Mark D. Jordan, Emory University; Anthony Kenny, Oxford University; Peter King, University of Toronto; Scott MacDonald, Cornell University; Gareth B. Matthews, University of Massachusetts, Amherst; Paul Vincent Spade, Indiana University; Eleonore Stump, Saint Louis University"
First published in 1968, Ninian Smart's The Yogi and the Devotee: The Interplay Between the Upanishads and Catholic Theology is based on lectures given in Delhi and explores in a novel way the relation between Hinduism and Christianity. The author puts forward a general theory of the relationship between religious experience and doctrines, a theory he had developed in earlier works. He argues that a new form of `natural theology' should be presented, which would show the relevance of religious experience and ritual to what is given in revelation. Smart believes this could be the key to a new understanding between Christianity and Indian religions, and also examines what Christians can learn from other faiths. During a career as a Professor of Religious Studies and Philosophy, Ninian Smart was hugely influential in the way Religious Studies was taught, not only in Britain but around the world.
The law of God: these words conjure an image of Moses breaking the
tablets at Mount Sinai, but the history of the alliance between law
and divinity is so much longer, and its scope so much broader, than
a single Judeo-Christian scene can possibly suggest. In his
stunningly ambitious new history, Remi Brague goes back three
thousand years to trace this idea of divine law in the West from
prehistoric religions to modern times--giving new depth to today's
discussions about the role of God in worldly affairs.
Utilizing both clinical material based on the life histories of
twenty patients and theoretical insights from the works of Freud,
Erikson, Fairbairn, and Winnicott, Ana-Maria Rizzuto examines the
origin, development, and use of our God images. Whereas Freud
postulated that belief in God is based on a child's idea of his
father, Rizzuto argues that the God representation draws from a
variety of sources and is a major element in the fabric of one's
view of self, others, and the world.
Mind and Body in Early China critiques Orientalist accounts of early China as the radical, "holistic" other. The idea that the early Chinese held the "strong" holist view, seeing no qualitative difference between mind and body, has long been contradicted by traditional archeological and qualitative textual evidence. New digital humanities methods, along with basic knowledge about human cognition, now make this position untenable. A large body of empirical evidence suggests that "weak" mind-body dualism is a psychological universal, and that human sociality would be fundamentally impossible without it. Edward Slingerland argues that the humanities need to move beyond social constructivist views of culture, and embrace instead a view of human cognition and culture that integrates the sciences and the humanities. Our interpretation of texts and artifacts from the past and from other cultures should be constrained by what we know about the species-specific, embodied commonalities shared by all humans. This book also attempts to broaden the scope of humanistic methodologies by employing team-based qualitative coding and computer-aided "distant reading" of texts, while also drawing upon our current best understanding of human cognition to transform our basic starting point. It has implications for anyone interested in comparative religion, early China, cultural studies, digital humanities, or science-humanities integration.
In his latest book, William Egginton laments the current debate over religion in America, in which religious fundamentalists have set the tone of political discourse-no one can get elected without advertising a personal relation to God, for example-and prominent atheists treat religious belief as the root of all evil. Neither of these positions, Egginton argues, adequately represents the attitudes of a majority of Americans who, while identifying as Christians, Jews, and Muslims, do not find fault with those who support different faiths and philosophies. In fact, Egginton goes so far as to question whether fundamentalists and atheists truly oppose each other, united as they are in their commitment to a "code of codes." In his view, being a religious fundamentalist does not require adhering to a particular religious creed. Fundamentalists-and stringent atheists-unconsciously believe that the methods we use to understand the world are all versions of an underlying master code. This code of codes represents an ultimate truth, explaining everything. Surprisingly, perhaps the most effective weapon against such thinking is religious moderation, a way of believing that questions the very possibility of a code of codes as the source of all human knowledge. The moderately religious, with their inherent skepticism toward a master code, are best suited to protect science, politics, and other diverse strains of knowledge from fundamentalist attack, and to promote a worldview based on the compatibility between religious faith and scientific method.
A powerful consideration of the lessons imparted in the final works of essential writers and philosophers For many today, retirement and the leisure said to accompany it have become vestiges of a slower, long-lost time. In a world where the sense of identity is tied to work and careers, to stop working often is to become nobody. In this deeply perceptive and personal exploration of last works, Mark C. Taylor poignantly explores the final reflections of writers and thinkers from Kierkegaard to David Foster Wallace. How did they either face or avoid ending and leaving? What do their lessons in ending teach us about living in the time that remains for us? Some leavings brought relief, even joy, while others brought pain and suffering. Whether the cause was infirmity, impending death, or simply exhaustion and ennui, the ways these influential voices fell silent offer poignant examples of people withdrawing from the world's stage. Throughout this learned and moving book, Taylor probes how the art of living involves learning to leave gracefully.
In this passionate and searching book, Anthony Kronman offers a third way-beyond atheism and religion-to the God of the modern world "An astonishing, . . . epically ambitious book. . . . An intellectual adventure story based on the notion that ideas drive history, and that to dedicate yourself to them is to live a bigger, more intense life."-David Brooks, New York Times We live in an age of disenchantment. The number of self-professed "atheists" continues to grow. Yet many still feel an intense spiritual longing for a connection to what Aristotle called the "eternal and divine." For those who do, but demand a God that is compatible with their modern ideals, a new theology is required. This is what Anthony Kronman offers here, in a book that leads its readers away from the inscrutable Creator of the Abrahamic religions toward a God whose inexhaustible and everlasting presence is that of the world itself. Kronman defends an ancient conception of God, deepened and transformed by Christian belief-the born-again paganism on which modern science, art, and politics all vitally depend. Brilliantly surveying centuries of Western thought-from Plato to Augustine, Aquinas, and Kant, from Spinoza to Nietzsche, Darwin, and Freud-Kronman recovers and reclaims the God we need today.
This wide ranging and challenging book explores the relationship between subjectivity and mortality as it is understood by a number of twentieth-century French philosophers including Sartre, Lacan, Levinas and Derrida. Making intricate and sometimes unexpected connections, Christina Howells draws together the work of prominent thinkers from the fields of phenomenology and existentialism, religious thought, psychoanalysis, and deconstruction, focussing in particular on the relations between body and soul, love and death, desire and passion. From Aristotle through to contemporary analytic philosophy and neuroscience the relationship between mind and body (psyche and soma, consciousness and brain) has been persistently recalcitrant to analysis, and emotion (or passion) is the locus where the explanatory gap is most keenly identified. This problematic forms the broad backdrop to the work's primary focus on contemporary French philosophy and its attempts to understand the intimate relationship between subjectivity and mortality, in the light not only of the 'death' of the classical subject but also of the very real frailty of the subject as it lives on, finite, desiring, embodied, open to alterity and always incomplete. Ultimately Howells identifies this vulnerability and finitude as the paradoxical strength of the mortal subject and as what permits its transcendence. Subtle, beautifully written, and cogently argued, this book will be invaluable for students and scholars interested in contemporary theories of subjectivity, as well as for readers intrigued by the perennial connections between love and death.
Martin Luther King Jr. has charisma--as does Adolf Hitler. So do Brad Pitt, Mother Teresa, and many a high school teacher. Charisma marks, or masks, power; it legitimates but also attracts suspicion. Sociologists often view charisma as an irrational, unstable source of authority, superseded by the rational, bureaucratic legitimacy of modernity. Yet charisma endures in the modern world; perhaps it is reinvigorated in the postmodern, as the notoriety of celebrities, politicians, and New Age gurus attests. Is charisma a tool of oppression, or can it help the fight against oppression? Can reexamining the concept of charisma teach us anything useful about contemporary movements for social justice? In Defense of Charisma develops an account of moral charisma that weaves insights from politics, ethics, and religion together with reflections on contemporary culture. Vincent W. Lloyd distinguishes between authoritarian charisma, which furthers the interests of the powerful, naturalizing racism, patriarchy, and elitism, and democratic charisma, which prompts observers to ask new questions and discover new possibilities. At its best, charisma can challenge the way we see ourselves and our world, priming us to struggle for justice. Exploring the biblical Moses alongside Charlton Heston's performance in The Ten Commandments, the image of Martin Luther King Jr., together with tweets from the Black Lives Matter movement, and the novels of Harper Lee and Sherman Alexie juxtaposed with the writings of Emmanuel Levinas, In Defense of Charisma challenges readers to turn away from the blinding charisma of celebrities toward the humbler moral charisma of the neighbor, colleague, or relative.
'It is written ...,' says the believer in a sacred text, and proceeds to justify all manner of terrifying things. Or so runs a popular caricature of religious faith today. Religions that center around a revelation-around a 'good book,' like the Torah or Gospels or Quran, which is seen as God's word-are widely regarded as irrational and dangerous: as based on outdated science and conducive to illiberal, inhumane moral attitudes. The Good and the Good Book defends revealed religion and shows how it can be reconciled with science and liberal morality. Samuel Fleischacker invites us to see revealed texts as aiming to teach neither scientific nor moral doctrines but a vision of what life is about overall. Purely naturalistic ways of thinking, he argues, cannot make much sense of our overall or ultimate good; revealed texts, by contrast, do precisely that. But these texts also need to be interpreted so as to accord with our independent understanding of morality. A delicate balance is required for this process of interpretation-between respecting the uncanny obscurity of our sacred texts and rendering them morally familiar. The book concludes with an account of how believers in one religion can respect believers in other religions, and secular people.
The experience of the impossible churns up in our epoch whenever a collective dream turns to trauma: politically, sexually, economically, and with a certain ultimacy, ecologically. Out of an ancient theological lineage, the figure of the cloud comes to convey possibility in the face of the impossible. An old mystical nonknowing of God now hosts a current knowledge of uncertainty, of indeterminate and interdependent outcomes, possibly catastrophic. Yet the connectivity and collectivity of social movements, of the fragile, unlikely webs of an alternative notion of existence, keep materializing--a haunting hope, densely entangled, suggesting a more convivial, relational world. Catherine Keller brings process, feminist, and ecopolitical theologies into transdisciplinary conversation with continental philosophy, the quantum entanglements of a "participatory universe," and the writings of Nicholas of Cusa, Walt Whitman, A. N. Whitehead, Gilles Deleuze, and Judith Butler, to develop a "theopoetics of nonseparable difference." Global movements, personal embroilments, religious diversity, the inextricable relations of humans and nonhumans--these phenomena, in their unsettling togetherness, are exceeding our capacity to know and manage. By staging a series of encounters between the nonseparable and the nonknowable, Keller shows what can be born from our cloudiest entanglement.
'beauty has purport and significance only for human beings, for beings at once animal and rational' In the Critique of Judgement (1790) Kant offers a penetrating analysis of our experience of the beautiful and the sublime, discussing the objectivity of taste, aesthetic disinterestedness, the relation of art and nature, the role of imagination, genius and originality, the limits of representation and the connection between morality and the aesthetic. He also investigates the validity of our judgements concerning the apparent purposiveness of nature with respect to the highest interests of reason and enlightenment. The work profoundly influenced the artists and writers of the classical and romantic period and the philosophy of Hegel and Schelling. It has remained a central point of reference from Schopenhauer and Nietzsche through to phenomenology, hermeneutics, the Frankfurt School, analytical aesthetics and contemporary critical theory. J. C. Meredith's classic translation has been revised in accordance with standard modern renderings and provided with a bilingual glossary. This edition also includes the important 'First Introduction' that Kant originally composed for the work. ABOUT THE SERIES: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the widest range of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, helpful notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.
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