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Religious Experience and the End of Metaphysics

Edited by Jeffrey Bloechl

Publication Year: 2003

Does religious thinking stand in opposition to postmodernity? Does the existence of God present the ultimate challenge to metaphysics? Strands of continental thought, especially those running from Kant, Husserl, and Heidegger, focus on individual consciousness as the horizon for all meaning and provide modern philosophy of religion with much of its present ferment. In Religious Experience and the End of Metaphysics, 11 influential continental philosophers share the conviction that religious thinking cannot afford to disengage from the challenges of modern European philosophy. Together they provide a rich and intriguing set of answers to questions surrounding the meaning of religious experience. Topics include subjectivity, selfhood, and rationality; language, community, and ethics; the influence of Jewish and eastern religions on religious experience; God as phenomenology; and religion in the postmodern age. These lucid and arresting essays bring together many of the leading voices in the contemporary continental debate on God and religion.

Published by: Indiana University Press

Series: Indiana Series in the Philosophy of Religion

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pp. vii-x

A number of the contributions to this volume are elaborations of texts presented in a seminar on ‘‘Religion Experience in the Wake of Modernity,’’ itself a component of a research project exploring the nature and expression of sacramental presence in a context often identified, with persistent ambiguity, as postmodern. The research project was conducted between 1996 and 200...

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Editor’s Introduction

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pp. 1-13

The authors contributing to the present collection share a conviction that religious thinking cannot afford to disengage from the challenges of modern European philosophy, and more specifically from the strand running from Kant to Husserl and Heidegger before fraying into the diverse lines visible today. Until the late twentieth century, most philosophy of religion drawing...

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1. The Disappearance of Philosophical Theology in Hermeneutic Philosophy: Historicizing and Hermeneuticizing the Philosophical Ideaof God

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pp. 14-30

In this essay I present a number of perspectives that are, in my view, typical of a hermeneutical approach to the ‘‘philosophy of God.’’ What is implied in such a hermeneutical approach? The simple fact that the hermeneutical task is by definition endless already brings some special problems to the philosophy of God. From that endlessness, as developed in the work of Schleiermacher, Dilthey, Heidegger, and, joined specifically to dialogue, Gadamer, there arises...

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2. Rethinking God: Heidegger in the Light of Absolute Nothing, Nishida in the Shadow of Onto-theology

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pp. 31-49

The following engagement with the thought of Nishida Kitaro (1870– 1945) and Martin Heidegger (1889–1976) puts the two in confrontation with each other and certainly in a place they never met, despite their acquaintance with each other’s work. Out of the enormous corpus that each produced, the following meditation confines itself to parts of only four texts. It casts Heidegger...

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3. Light and Shadows from the Heideggerian Interpretation of the Sacred

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pp. 50-67

The present exposition attempts to place in evidence both the considerable assets and the serious deficiencies of the Heideggerian interpretation of the sacred. This interpretation has the merit of overcoming approaches that tend to reduce the sacred either to an a priori category of reason (in the direction of Kant) or to an intuitive sentiment of the non-rational (in the line of Schleiermacher). In avoiding the double trap of a subjectivism of illusory...

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4. The Work and Complement of Appearing

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pp. 68-93

At the heart of phenomenology, a paradox: the real is always already there for those who have ‘‘eyes’’ to ‘‘see,’’ an opening that permits it to appear—yet thought is always defined as a quest for the real. We do not inhabit a world of appearance from which it would be necessary to take leave in order to reach the essential; we inhabit the field of appearing where being is given to us...

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5. Affective Theology, Theological Affectivity

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pp. 94-105

Complaints about ‘‘the God of the philosophers’’ have become commonplace. But why should we care? Have we not agreed that philosophy is secular through and through?1 What about theology, however? Is its God better? Is its God more desirable, admirable, lovable, adorable? In order to be true, the God of theology should be as inspiring as the God of meditation,...

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6. Immanent Transcendence as Way to ‘‘God’’: Between Heidegger and Marion

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pp. 106-118

After Nietzsche and Heidegger, philosophy seems to have written off the metaphysical theme of an ascending desire (eros) for God or the divine. There are no more worlds ‘‘beyond’’ or ‘‘above’’ this one for that desire to aim at. Through the collapse of the classical responses, the human capacity for transcendence has become a riddle. And with this, so too has our human being-in-motion...

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7. Derrida and Marion: Two Husserlian Revolutions

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pp. 119-134

Jacques Derrida and Jean-Luc Marion have each undertaken to extend or radicalize Husserl’s phenomenology, to push his phenomenology to its limits—indeed beyond its limits—all the way up to the breaking point, all the way to the possibility of what is impossible in phenomenology. But they have done so in radically opposing ways. They each may be viewed as radical...

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8. The Universal in Jewish Particularism: Benamozegh and Levinas

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pp. 135-152

A flame needs a candle as much as a candle needs a flame. Judaism finds the universal, the holy—the ‘‘image and likeness’’ of God—not in another world, a heaven hovering above or a ‘‘soul’’ or ‘‘spirit’’ detached from matter here below. Rather, holiness is found here and now in the unending divine–human partnership of sanctification. The world’s ascent is God descent. To...

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9. The Kingdom and the Trinity

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pp. 153-173

The principal motifs of Christianity are the Kingdom and the Trinity, and the main difficulty that Christianity has faced, still faces, and will continue to face, is how to relate them. I realize that this is a statement in need of commentary at every level, and that it would take volumes to justify it in satisfying detail. Each word, Kingdom and Trinity, is nested in related problems that, if...

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10. Ultimacy and Conventionality in Religious Experience

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pp. 174-199

To what extent is mystical experience shaped by language? To what extent does it touch on an absolute, immediately given, beyond the grasp of language? This is a tired old question, but we can perhaps renew it and make it fruitful by drawing on the Indian topos of the two-fold truth (dva-satya), taken as a theory of how conventional historical religious languages can serve as...


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pp. 201-202


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pp. 203-209

E-ISBN-13: 9780253110121
E-ISBN-10: 0253110122
Print-ISBN-13: 9780253342263

Page Count: 224
Illustrations: 1 index
Publication Year: 2003

Series Title: Indiana Series in the Philosophy of Religion