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Chris L. Firestone and Nathan Jacobs integrate and interpret the work of leading Kant scholars to come to a new and deeper understanding of Kant's difficult book, Religion within the Boundaries of Mere Reason. In this text, Kant's vocabulary and language are especially tortured and convoluted. Readers have often lost sight of the thinker's deep ties to Christianity and questioned the viability of the work as serious philosophy of religion. Firestone and Jacobs provide strong and cogent grounds for taking Kant's religion seriously and defend him against the charges of incoherence. In their reading, Christian essentials are incorporated into the confines of reason, and they argue that Kant establishes a rational religious faith in accord with religious conviction as it is elaborated in his mature philosophy. For readers at all levels, this book articulates a way to ground religion and theology in a fully fledged defense of Religion which is linked to the larger corpus of Kant's philosophical enterprise.
This intellectual history and textual analysis of Hans-Georg Gadamer’s famous and obscure theme of the verbum interius, or “inner word,” serves as an indispensable guide to and reference for hermeneutic theory. John Arthos here gives a full exposition and interpretation of the medieval doctrine of the inner word, long one of the most challenging ideas in Gadamer’s Truth and Method. The scholastic idea of a word that is thought but not yet spoken served Augustine as an analogy for the procession of the Trinity, served Aquinas as the medium between divine ideas and human expression, and serves Gadamer as an expression of the embodied nature of human language. Arthos offers a history of the idea of the inner word in ancient and medieval thought, its place in German philosophy, and its significance for probing the deepest implications of hermeneutic understanding. Arthos also provides a close reading of Gadamer’s exegesis of the source texts of the doctrine of the inner word. He cross-references Gadamer’s analyses with the original texts and draws out their Heideggerian and Hegelian overtones. Through this close reading, Arthos deepens our understanding of the radical nature of Gadamer’s thought, which not only calls upon the authority of tradition but also develops some of the profoundest insights of classical and Judaeo-Christian teaching about language.
A Theology of Perhaps
The Insistence of God presents the provocative idea that God does not exist, God insists, while God’s existence is a human responsibility, which may or may not happen. For John D. Caputo, God’s existence is haunted by "perhaps," which does not signify indecisiveness but an openness to risk, to the unforeseeable. Perhaps constitutes a theology of what is to come and what we cannot see coming. Responding to current critics of continental philosophy, Caputo explores the materiality of perhaps and the promise of the world. He shows how perhaps can become a new theology of the gaps God opens.
John Henry Newman on the Path to Wisdom
Searching for better ways to inspire people to pursue wisdom, Frederick D. Aquino argues that teachers and researchers should focus less on state-of-the-art techniques and learning outcomes and instead pay more attention to the intellectual formation of their students. We should, Aquino contends, encourage the development of an integrative habit of mind, which entails cultivating the capacity to grasp how various pieces of data and areas of inquiry fit together and to understand how to apply this information to new situations. To fully explore this notion, An Integrative Habit of Mind brings the work of the great religious figure and educator John Henry Newman into fruitful conversation with recent philosophical developments in epistemology, cognition, and education. Aquino unearths some crucial but neglected themes from Newman’s writings and carries them forward into the contemporary context, revealing how his ideas can help us broaden our horizons, render apt judgments, and better understand our world and how we think about it.
A Theological Grammar
The appetite for knowledge--wanting to know things--is very strong in humans. Some will sacrifice all other goods (sex, power, food, life itself) for it. But this is not a simple appetite, and this book treats some of its complications, deformations, beauties, and intensities.
Jewish Thought in a Century of Crisis
Jewish Thought in a Century of Crisis
Michael L. Morgan
Probes the impact of the 20th century on Jewish belief and practice.
Confronting the challenges of the 20th century, from modernity and the Great War to the Holocaust and postmodern culture, Jewish thinkers have wrestled with such fundamental issues as redemption and revelation, eternity and history, messianism and politics. From the turn of the century through the 1920s, European Jewish intellectuals confronted alienation and the challenges of modernity by seeking secure grounds for a meaningful life. After the Holocaust and the fall of Nazism, the rich results of their thinking -- on topics such as transcendence, redemption, revelation, and politics -- were reinterpreted in an atmosphere of increasing disillusion and fragmentation. In Interim Judaism, Michael L. Morgan traces the evolution of this shift in values, as expressed in the work of social thinkers, novelists, artists, and poets as well as philosophers and theologians at the beginning and end of the century. Focusing on the problem of objectivity, the experience of the transcendent, and the relationship between redemption and politics, he argues that the outcome for contemporary Jews is a pragmatic style of religiosity that has abandoned traditional conceptions of Judaism and is searching and waiting for new ones, a condition that he describes as "interim Judaism."
Michael L. Morgan is Professor of Philosophy and Jewish Studies at Indiana University, Bloomington. He is author of Platonic Piety and Dilemmas in Modern Jewish Thought (Indiana University Press). He has edited The Jewish Thought of Emil Fackenheim; Classics in Moral and Political Theory; Jewish Philosophers and Jewish Philosophy (Indiana University Press); and A Holocaust Reader: Responses to the Nazi Extermination. With Paul Franks, he has translated and edited Franz Rosenzweig: Philosophical and Theological Writings.
Published with the generous support of Hebrew Union College--Jewish Institute of Religion, Cincinnati
128 pages, 5 1/2 x 8 1/4
cloth 0-253-33856-5 $35.00 L /
Jean-Luc Marion, Saturated Phenomena, and Hermeneutics
JJean-Luc Marion's theory of saturated phenomena is one of the most exciting developments in phenomenology in recent decades. It opens up new possibilities for understanding phenomena by beginning from rich and complex examples such as revelation and works of art. Rather than being curiosities or exceptions, these excessiveor saturatedphenomena are, in Marion's view, paradigms. He understands more straightforward phenomena, such as the objects of the natural sciences, as reduced and impoverished versions of the excess given in saturated phenomena.Interpreting Excess is a systematic and comprehensive study of Marion's texts on saturated phenomena and their place in his wider phenomenology of givenness, tracing both his theory and his examples across a wide range of texts spanning three decades.The author argues that a rich hermeneutics is implicit in Marion's examples of saturated phenomena but is not set out in his theory. This hermeneutics makes clear that attempts to overthrow the much-criticized sovereignty of the Cartesian ego will remain unsuccessful if they simply reverse the subject-object relation by speaking of phenomena imposing themselves with an overwhelming givenness on a recipient. Instead, phenomena should be understood as appearing in a hermeneutic space already opened by a subject's active reception. Thus, a phenomenon's appearing depends not only on its givenness but also on the way it is interpreted by the receiving subject. All phenomenology is, therefore, necessarily hermeneutic.Interpreting Excess provides an indispensable guide for any study of Marion's saturated phenomena. It is also a significant contribution to ongoing debates about philosophical ways of thinking about God, the relation between hermeneutics and phenomenology, and philosophy after the subject.
Theology and Psychoanalytic Theory
Interstices of the Sublime represents a powerful theological engagement with psychoanalytic theory in Freud, Lacan, Kristeva and Zizek, as well as major expressions of contemporary Continental philosophy, including Deleuze, Derrida, Marion, and Badiou. Through creative and constructive psycho-theological readings of topics such as sublimation, schizophrenia, God, and creation ex nihilo, this book contributes to a new form of radical theological thinking that is deeply involved in the world. Here the idea of the Kantian sublime is read into Freud and Lacan, and compared with sublimation. The sublime refers to a conflict of the Kantian faculties of reason and imagination, and involves the attempt to represent what is intrinsically unrepresentable. Sublimation, by contrast, involves the expression and partial satisfaction of primal desires in culturally acceptable terms. The sublime is negatively expressed in sublimation, because it is both the sourceof sublimation as well as that which resists being sublimated. That is, the Freudian sublime is related to the process of sublimation, but it also distorts or disrupts sublimation, and invokes what Lacan calls the Real. The effects of the sublime are not just psychoanalytic but, importantly, theological, because the sublime is the main form that Godtakes in the modern world. A radical postmodern theology attends to the workings of the sublime in our thinking and living, and provides resources to understand the complexity of reality. This book is one of the first sustained theological readings of Lacan in English.
Levinas and Infinite Responsibility
“The essential theme of my research is the deformalization of the notion of time,” asserted Emmanuel Levinas in a 1988 interview, as he approached the end of his long philosophical career. But while the notion of time is fundamental to the development of every key theme in Levinas’s thought — the idea of the infinite, the issue of the alterity of the other, the face of the other, the question of our ethical relations with other people, the role of fecundity, speech and language, and radical responsibility — his view of time remains obscure. Yael Lin’s exhaustive look at Levinas’s primary texts, both his philosophical writings and his writings on Judaism, brings together his various perspectives on time. Lin concludes that we can, indeed, extract a coherent and consistent conception of time from Levinas’s thought, one that is distinctly political. First situating Levinas’s views against the background of two of his most influential predecessors, Henri Bergson and Martin Heidegger, The Intersubjectivity of Time demonstrates that Levinas’s interpretation of time seeks to fill a void created by the egological views those thinkers emphasized. For Levinas, time is neither considered from the perspective of the individual nor is it a public dimension belonging to everyone, but it occurs in the encounter between the self and the other person, and the infinite responsibility inherent in that relation. Yet Levinas himself is surprisingly vague as to how exactly this relation to the other person creates time’s structure or how it is experienced in our everyday lives, and he does not make an explicit move from this intersubjective ethical dimension to the broader collective-political dimension. Lin offers a unique perspective to address this crucial question of the political dimension of Levinas’s project. By turning to Levinas’s talmudic writings and examining aspects of Jewish life, traditions of communal prayer, and ritual, Lin sketches out a multivocal account of time, deepening Levinas’s original claim that time is constituted via social relationships. This imaginative and evocative discussion truly opens the subject to further research.
Alasdair MacIntyre and Critics
Both as cardinal and as Pope Benedict XVI, one of Josef Ratzinger’s consistent concerns has been the foundational moral imperatives of the natural law. In 2004, then Cardinal Ratzinger requested that the University of Notre Dame study the complex issues embedded in discussions about “natural rights” and “natural law” in the context of Catholic thinking. To that end, Alasdair MacIntyre provided a substantive essay on the foundational problem of moral disagreements concerning natural law, and eight scholars were invited to respond to MacIntyre’s essay, either by addressing his work directly or by amplifying his argument along other yet similar paths. The contributors to this volume are theologians, philosophers, civil and canon lawyers, and political scientists, who reflect on these issues from different disciplinary perspectives. Once the contributors’ essays were completed, MacIntyre responded with a closing essay. Throughout the book, the contributors ask: Can a persuasive case for a foundational morality be made etsi Deus daretur (as if God did not exist)? And, of course, persuasive to whom? The exchanges that take place between MacIntyre and his interlocutors result, not in answers, but in rigorous attempts at clarification. Intractable Disputes about the Natural Law will interest ethicists, moral theologians, and students and scholars of moral philosophy.