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Indiana Series in the Philosophy of Religion

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Indiana Series in the Philosophy of Religion

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Levinas and Kierkegaard in Dialogue

Merold Westphal

Few philosophers have devoted more than passing attention to similarities between the thought of Søren Kierkegaard, a Danish Christian, and Emmanuel Levinas, a French Jew. Here, one of philosophy of religion's most distinctive voices offers a sustained comparison. Focusing on questions surrounding otherness, transcendence, postmodernity, and the nature of religious thought, Merold Westphal draws readers into a dialogue between the two thinkers. Westphal's masterful command of both philosophies shows that each can learn from the other. Levinas and Kierkegaard in Dialogue is an insightful and accessible contribution to philosophical considerations of ethics and religion.

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Levinas and the Philosophy of Religion

Jeffrey L. Kosky

Levinas and the Philosophy of Religion

Jeffrey L. Kosky

Reveals the interplay of phenomenology and religion in Levinas's thought.

"Kosky examines Levinas's thought from the perspective of the philosophy of religion and he does so in a way that is attentive to the philosophical nuances of Levinas's argument.... an insightful, well written, and carefully documented study... that uniquely illuminates Levinas's work." -- John D. Caputo

For readers who suspect there is no place for religion and morality in postmodern philosophy, Jeffrey L. Kosky suggests otherwise in this skillful interpretation of the ethical and religious dimensions of Emmanuel Levinas's thought. Placing Levinas in relation to Hegel and Nietzsche, Husserl and Heidegger, Derrida and Marion, Kosky develops religious themes found in Levinas's work and offers a way to think and speak about ethics and morality within the horizons of contemporary philosophy of religion. Kosky embraces the entire scope of Levinas's writings, from Totality and Infinity to Otherwise than Being, contrasting Levinas's early religious and moral thought with that of his later works while exploring the nature of phenomenological reduction, the relation of religion and philosophy, the question of whether Levinas can be considered a Jewish thinker, and the religious and theological import of Levinas's phenomenology. Kosky stresses that Levinas is first and foremost a phenomenologist and that the relationship between religion and philosophy in his ethics should cast doubt on the assumption that a natural or inevitable link exists between deconstruction and atheism.

Jeffrey L. Kosky is translator of On Descartes' Metaphysical Prism: The Constitution and the Limits of Onto-theo-logy in Cartesian Thought by Jean-Luc Marion. He has taught at Williams College.

Indiana Series in the Philosophy of Religion -- Merold Westphal, general editor

May 2001
272 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4, bibl., index, append.
cloth 0-253-33925-1 $39.95 s /

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Levinas, Judaism, and the Feminine

The Silent Footsteps of Rebecca

Claire Elise Katz

Challenging previous interpretations of Levinas that gloss over his use of the feminine or show how he overlooks questions raised by feminists, Claire Elise Katz explores the powerful and productive links between the feminine and religion in Levinas's work. Rather than viewing the feminine as a metaphor with no significance for women or as a means to reinforce traditional stereotypes, Katz goes beyond questions of sexual difference to reach a more profound understanding of the role of the feminine in Levinas's conception of ethical responsibility. She combines feminist interpretations of Levinas with interpretations that focus on his Jewish writings to reveal that the feminine provides an important bridge between his philosophy and his Judaism. Katz's reading of Levinas's conception of the feminine against the backdrop of discussions of women of the Hebrew bible points to important shifts in contemporary philosophy toward the creation of life and care for the other.

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Loneliness and Lament

A Journey to Receptivity

Patricia Joy Huntington

Patricia Joy Huntington reflects that loneliness does not only consist of the heartfelt absences of a friend, partner, spouse, or child, but rather stems from a radical breach in one's life journey. In this conceptually rigorous and warmly poetic book, Huntington develops a unique philosophy of receptivity and an original portrait of redemptive suffering. By fully exploring notions of pain, she also examines how the relation between the heart's musical attunement and meaning-filled life passages can lead one to a more spiritual philosophy and a more independent life. Huntington reveals the maternal face of God and encourages the feminine divine in her poignant narrative of overcoming. This deeply philosophical meditation offers a nuanced view of religious experience, providence, and transcendence.

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Monotheism and Tolerance

Recovering a Religion of Reason

Robert Erlewine

Why are religious tolerance and pluralism so difficult to achieve? Why is the often violent fundamentalist backlash against them so potent? Robert Erlewine looks to a new religion of reason for answers to these questions. Drawing on Enlightenment writers Moses Mendelssohn, Immanuel Kant, and Hermann Cohen, who placed Christianity and Judaism in tension with tolerance and pluralism, Erlewine finds a way to break the impasse, soften hostilities, and establish equal relationships with the Other. Erlewine's recovery of a religion of reason stands in contrast both to secularist critics of religion who reject religion for the sake of reason and to contemporary religious conservatives who eschew reason for the sake of religion. Monotheism and Tolerance suggests a way to deal with the intractable problem of religiously motivated and justified violence.

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The Paradoxical Rationality of Søren Kierkegaard

Richard McCombs

Søren Kierkegaard deliberately feigned irrationality in many of his pseudonymous writings in order to present a rational argument about reason and faith. Richard McCombs posits that Kierkegaard’s strategy of revealing the philosophical and religious underpinnings of his thought was both instructive and misguided. Focusing on pseudonymous works by Johannes Climacus and Anti-Climacus, McCombs discusses Kierkegaard’s irrationality and the manner in which it bolsters important truths about rationality. He reveals Kierkegaard striving for a single, integrated self that thinks, feels, wills, acts, and communicates with purpose. This fresh reading of Kierkegaard engages an essential problem in the philosophy of religion—the difference between what is understood by reason and what must be taken on faith.

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Paul Ricoeur between Theology and Philosophy

Detour and Return

Boyd Blundell

Paul Ricoeur (1913--2005) remains one of philosophy of religion's most distinctive voices. Ricoeur was a philosopher first, and while his religious reflections are very relevant to theology, Boyd Blundell argues that his philosophy is even more relevant. Using Ricoeur's own philosophical hermeneutics, Blundell shows that there is a way for explicitly Christian theology to maintain both its integrity and overall relevance. He demonstrates how the dominant pattern of detour and return found throughout Ricoeur's work provides a path to understanding the relationship between philosophy and theology. By putting Ricoeur in dialogue with current, fundamental, and longstanding debates about the role of philosophy in theology, Blundell offers a hermeneutically sensitive engagement with Ricoeur's thought from a theological perspective.

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Phenomenology and Mysticism

The Verticality of Religious Experience

Anthony J. Steinbock

Exploring the first-person narratives of three figures from the Christian, Jewish, and Islamic mystical traditions -- St. Teresa of Avila, Rabbi Dov Baer, and Rūzbihān Baqlī -- Anthony J. Steinbock provides a complete phenomenology of mysticism based in the Abrahamic religious traditions. He relates a broad range of religious experiences, or verticality, to philosophical problems of evidence, selfhood, and otherness. From this philosophical description of vertical experience, Steinbock develops a social and cultural critique in terms of idolatry -- as pride, secularism, and fundamentalism -- and suggests that contemporary understandings of human experience must come from a fuller, more open view of religious experience.

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A Phenomenology of Christian Life

Glory and Night

Felix Ó Murchadha

How does Christian philosophy address phenomena in the world? Felix Ó Murchadha believes that seeing, hearing, or otherwise sensing the world through faith requires transcendence or thinking through glory and night (being and meaning). By challenging much of Western metaphysics, Ó Murchadha shows how phenomenology opens new ideas about being, and how philosophers of "the theological turn" have addressed questions of creation, incarnation, resurrection, time, love, and faith. He explores the possibility of a phenomenology of Christian life and argues against any simple separation of philosophy and theology or reason and faith.

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A Philosophical Anthropology of the Cross

The Cruciform Self

Brian Gregor

What does the cross, both as a historical event and a symbol of religious discourse, tell us about human beings? Brian Gregor draws together a hermeneutics of the self—through Heidegger, Gadamer, Ricoeur, and Taylor—and a theology of the cross—through Luther, Kierkegaard, Bonhoeffer, and Jüngel. He offers a bold and original view of what philosophical anthropology might look like if it took the cross seriously instead of breaking it down into competing philosophical concepts.

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