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"Reason Is But Choosing"
Recent critical conversation has described John Milton’s major works as sites of uncertainty, irreconcilability, or even confusion—as texts that actually reflect radical incoherence and openness. These newer critical voices posit, moreover, that traditional critics must strain to find coherence and authorial control in Milton’s poetry. Richard J. DuRocher and Margaret Olofson Thickstun, together with an esteemed group of Milton scholars from a wide range of critical and theoretical backgrounds, respond to this challenge. While accepting the presence of uncertainty and welcoming the multiple perspectives that Milton builds into his works, this volume offers a variety of nuanced approaches to Milton’s texts. As these 11 essays demonstrate, Milton’s own acts of interpretation compel readers to reflect not only on the rival hermeneutics they find within his works but also on their own hermeneutic principles and choices—an interpretive complexity that is integral to his poetry’s enduring appeal. Thus, each of the contributors takes up the problem of this interpretive dilemma in some way: several explore Milton’s own engagement with the texts of Scripture and the classics; some examine the ways in which Milton represents the process of interpretation in his narrative poems; and still others are intrigued by the challenges that Milton’s works present for the reader’s own interpretive skills. Milton's Rival Hermeneutics, in responding directly to the “incertitude critics” of Milton, will be of interest to those on all sides of this debate and will certainly redirect the ongoing conversation.
From Hegel to Heidegger
In An Ontological Study of Death: From Hegel to Heidegger, Sean Ireton examines conceptions of death as manifested in German literature and philosophy from the late eighteenth to the early twentieth century, expanding on thanatological theories that distinguish between a metaphysical and an ontological view of human finitude. Whereas metaphysics separates life from death and posits a transcendent reality beyond the physical world, the ontological perspective integrates death into the very core of being where it functions as a fundamental phenomenon of life. Arguing that the dialectical thinking of Hegel and Hölderlin erases the metaphysical paradigm of death and sets the stage for the existential interpretations advanced by Nietzsche, Rilke, and Heidegger, Ireton maintains that each of these authors ultimately seeks to incorporate the traditional realm of nonbeing into the heart of existence. Framed by the opposing philosophies of Hegel, who deems that death has little personal meaning but is vital for the life of Spirit, and Heidegger, who converts death into the determining factor of selfhood, Ireton’s study finds common ground in the way death is viewed—as the promise of possibility, freedom and wholeness. Though primarily focused on the Germanic tradition, Ireton’s study also addresses the modern French philosophical treatment of death by Blanchot, Kojève, Sartre, Merleau-Ponty and Foucault in the wake of their German predecessors. Ireton concludes by placing the dialectical and existential views discussed in his study within the context of modern thanatology, specifically demonstrating how themes of human finitude and freedom have a direct bearing on the current debate surrounding the dignity of death and the right to die.
Levinas and Plato on Loving Beyond Being
What is the philosophical sense of transcendence? What meaning can transcendence have in philosophy? What direction, organization, and order might it give to philosophy? And how does transcendence transform or inspire philosophical thinking?
Sarah Allen confronts these questions as she explores Emmanuel Levinas’s approach to transcendence, which is set within a phenomenological context. Levinas seeks an approach that does not subordinate transcendence to the self-referential activities of human consciousness, and which does not simply fall into ontotheological, metaphysical language about God. Allen's novel approach explores Levinas's use of the language of the beyond and otherwise than being to speak of this ethically and religiously invested transcendence. She traces the beyond being back to its precursors in Plato and Plotinus, noting in particular the relation between Platonic eros and Levinasian desire as affective inspiration of the movement of transcendence and way toward the Good beyond being. This close and nuanced reading of Levinas and Plato on topics of transcendence and affectivity, her consideration of other central influences on Levinas's conception of transcendence, and her depiction of Levinas's "return" to Platonism, all go beyond what has previously been published in the field of Levinas studies.
Looking for the philosophical sense of transcendence, Allen asserts, requires not only a questioning into transcendence, but a questioning of philosophy itself. Any reflection on human affectivity brings us up to the limits of philosophical thought and suggests that there are senses to transcendence that will always escape formulation in philosophical language.
“A significant contribution in the field of modern contemporary philosophy and more specifically to Levinasian studies.” — Jean Marc-Narbonne
For most philosophers, the work of Edith Stein continues to be eclipsed and relegated to obscurity. This work presents an excellent cross-section of Stein’s writings and demonstrates the timeliness and relevance of her ideas for contemporary philosophical scholarship. Antonio Calcagno covers most of Edith Stein’s philosophical life, from her early work with Husserl to her later encounters with medieval Christian thought, as well as a critical and analytical reading of major Steinian texts. Stein was an original thinker who challenged not only the direction in which Husserlian phenomenology was progressing but also sought to bring to philosophical light the relevance of certain key questions, including the meaning of what it is to be human, the relevance of metaphysics to science, and fundamental questions about the nature of God. Working to correct the perception that Stein is either an “unfaithful and distorting” phenomenologist or a pious Catholic mystic, Calcagno presents important work that has been neglected by both secular and religious scholars. The essays are not merely expository, but discuss the philosophical questions raised by Stein’s work from a contemporary perspective, using Stein’s original German texts. In its attention to the breadth and depth of Stein’s philosophy from its initial development to its more mature form, The Philosophy of Edith Stein offers a new understanding of an individual who left behind an incredible philosophical and literary legacy worthy of scholarly attention. The book will be of interest not only to Stein scholars, but to feminists, phenomenologists, and Heideggerians.
Essential Elizabethan Sources, 1558-1603
Although we are currently bombarded with numerous health scares—AIDS, West Nile virus, avian flu, and the recent swine flu, just to name a few that now fill our media reports and instill dread in the population—we can scarcely imagine the outlook that dominated the mindset of those who endured the bubonic plague in England during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Between the time of the Black Death and the Great Plague, this horrifying bubonic plague struck the country at such regular intervals that it shaped the general consciousness and even produced a popular genre of plague writing. In The Plague in Print, Rebecca Totaro takes the reader into the world of plague-riddled Elizabethan England, documenting the development of distinct subgenres related to the plague and providing unprecedented access to important original sources of early modern plague writing. Totaro elucidates the interdisciplinary nature of plague writing, which raises religious, medical, civic, social, and individual concerns in early modern England.
Each of the primary texts in the collection offers a glimpse into a particular subgenre of plague writing, beginning with Thomas Moulton’s plague remedy and prayers published by the Church of England and devoted to the issue of the plague. William Bullein’s A Dialogue both pleasant and pietyful, a work that both addresses concerns related to the plague and offers humorous literary entertainment, exemplifies the multilayered nature of plague literature. The plague orders of Queen Elizabeth I highlight the community-wide attempts to combat the plague and deal with its manifold dilemmas. And after a plague bill from the Corporation of London, the collection ends with Thomas Dekker’s The Wonderful Year, which illustrates plague literature as it was fully formed, combining attitudes toward the plague from both the Eizabethan and Stuart periods.
These writings offer a vivid picture of important themes particular to plague literature in England, providing valuable insight into the beliefs and fears of those who suffered through bubonic plague but also illuminating the cultural significance of references to the plague in the more familiar early modern literature by Spenser, Donne, Milton, Shakespeare, and others. As a result, The Plague in Print will be of interest to students and scholars in a number of fields, including sixteenth and seventeenth century English literature, cultural studies, medical humanities, and the history of medicine.
Pursuing the Common Weal
Pleasure and Gender in the Writings of Thomas More argues that, from what appears to be his earliest nonpolemical work, “Pageant Verses,” until what we know to be his last, De tristitia Christi, More sees the will to pleasure as central to the experience of being human: as a primary human impulse or, at the least, a compelling power within the human consciousness. In tracing how More examines the will to pleasure in our lives, Cousins also examines More’s recurrent concern with gender’s inflecting and expressing this desire. More clearly views gender as potentially restrictive or empowering in many respects, which is discussed in relation to several of More’s texts.
Exploring pleasure and gender in relation to issues of the common good and of the (good) state, More probes how people make sense of chance (and, alternatively, how they do not), how friendship works interpersonally and beyond national boundaries, and what roles people play (as well as to what roles they can aspire). As Cousins asserts, pursuing the common weal was for More both necessary and desirable, and he himself pursued this on behalf of his country, the republic of letters, and the Church Militant.
A masterful survey, Psychotherapy as a Human Science provides a critical and clinical introduction to the core themes and influential thinkers that helped to shape contemporary human science approaches to psychotherapy. Daniel Burston and Roger Frie present an excellent and concise journey through the historical background that informs the development of psychotherapy, and then proceed to deal with many of the important facets of modern psychology and psychiatry from Dilthey and Husserl to the postmodern. Perennial issues in philosophy—the nature and scope of self, knowledge and self-deception, the roots of inner and interpersonal conflicts, the nature of love and reason, the relationship between reason and faith and imagination—took on new depth and meaning in light of nineteenth and twentieth century concepts of the unconscious, alienation, authenticity, alterity and the like. Burston and Frie not only demonstrate that European philosophers laid the foundations for the way many contemporary clinicians think and practice today but provide a theoretical orientation that is too often missing in today’s medicalized practice environment. This book invites readers to delve deeply into the history and theory of existentialism, phenomenology, psychoanalysis, depth psychology and humanistic psychology. The authors both explore the implications of these approaches for clinical practice and assert the significance of theory for clinical endeavors, encouraging mental health professionals, students and theorists to widen the scope of psychotherapy practice and training.
Essays on the 1667 First Edition
This two-volume set includes “Paradise Lost: A Poem Written in Ten Books” An Authoritative Text of the 1667 First Edition and its companion volume, “Paradise Lost: A Poem Written in Ten Books” Essays on the 1667 First Edition.
An Authoritative Text of the 1667 First Edition
“Paradise Lost: A Poem Written in Ten Books”: An Authoritative Text of the 1667 First Edition is the first such presentation of the first edition of this major epic of English literature. Constructed as a 10-book version, the 1667 edition is a finished piece that is architecturally and numerically balanced, significantly differing from the now-standard 1674 version that appeared in 12 books.
This edition of the 1667 text also provides the opportunity to view the second edition of 1674 from a fresh perspective. Although the 1674 edition has customarily been adopted as the basis for modern publications of the poem, the availability now of this authoritative text of the 1667 edition invites a reconsideration of Milton’s original intentions in light of the changes made evident in the revised text. Full discussions include information about the alterations made in states of the text, errors that persisted, and the rationale of the edition presented here.
Toward a Religion <i>with</i> Religion
Reexamining Deconstruction and Determinate Religion addresses the conventional conflicts between those who desire a more objective, determinate, and quasi-evidentialist perspective on faith and religious truth and those who adopt a more poetic, indeterminate, relativistic, and radical one. Drawing on both continental and analytic philosophy, this unique volume offers a sustained challenge to the prominent paradigm of a “religion without religion,” proposed in a deconstructive philosophy of religion. Articulated by Jacques Derrida and advanced by John D. Caputo, “religion without religion” challenges the epistemic certainty, political exclusivism, and theological absolutism with which specific religious traditions have tended to operate and recommends rejecting or maintaining an ironic distance from the determinate truth-claims and practices of particular religious communities. Without simplistically rejecting deconstruction, Simmons and Minister maintain that a specifically deconstructive approach to religion does not necessarily dictate the complete indeterminancy of a “religion without religion.” Rather, “religion with religion” is offered as a particular way of practicing determinate religions that rejects binary options between undecidability and safety, or between skepticism and dogmatism. Thus, the truths of determinate religions are not assumed, but their possibility is embraced, which invites vigorous and charitable dialogue. Within this framework, the contributors assert that postmodern religious identity is necessary for contemporary ethical and political existence. Organized in what might be called a “polylogue,” chapters 1–5 function dialogically, including two response essays to each of the primary essays. In these chapters, the authors explore topics including politics, faith, and biblical interpretation, but ultimately focus on the philosophical basis for a “religion with religion” and the practice or application of it. Finally, the book ends with two important new essays by Merold Westphal and John D. Caputo, respectively, that consider the conversation of the book as a whole and the very idea of “religion with religion.” Westphal’s essay offers a rigorous analysis and productive response to the essays by the other contributing authors, while Caputo’s lengthy chapter offers a clear and accessible introduction to his philosophical theology. While especially relevant to anyone interested in an overview of and constructive dialogue with deconstructive philosophy of religion, Reexamining Deconstruction and Determinate Religion will be of interest to scholars and students interested in all areas of continental philosophy of religion and its potential benefit to determinate faith practices.