Rethinking Philosophy of Religion: Approaches from Continental Philosophy

Rethinking Philosophy of Religion: Approaches from Continental Philosophy

Rethinking Philosophy of Religion: Approaches from Continental Philosophy

Rethinking Philosophy of Religion: Approaches from Continental Philosophy

Synopsis

These original essays reconceive the place of religion for critical thought following the recent ‘turn to religion’ in Continental philosophy, framing new issues for exploration, including questions of justice, anxiety, and evil; the sublime, and of the soul haunting genetics; how reason may be reshaped by new religious movements and by ritual and experience.

Excerpt

Criticism of religion is the premise of all criticism.

KARL MARX

WHAT IS a Continental philosophy of religion? Philosophy of religion, in English-speaking countries, has a clear and distinct identity, and has been enjoying a resurgence: it focuses largely on the truth-claims, rationality, and coherence of religious propositions, and particularly those of "classical theism." Yet for those who work in the traditions of philosophy derived from Germany and France, the problems, tasks, concepts, reasoning, and

This is the topic of the call for papers that announced a conference on
"Continental Philosophy of Religion" at St. Martin's College, Lancaster, UK,
in July 2000. All the other essays in this volume were prepared for the confer
ence. Some further essays prepared for the conference, locating thought in rela
tion to religion, gender, tradition, culture and politics, are collected in Philip
Goodchild, ed., Difference in Philosophy of Religion (Aldershot: Ashgate Pub
lications, 2002).

Although few are bold enough to define "philosophy of religion," Charles
Taliaferro lists a number of questions that help identify it in a contemporary
sense, in Contemporary Philosophy of Religion (Oxford: Blackwell, 1998),
4–5. An alternative approach, taken by Brian Davies, is to present "what would
commonly be taken as standard examples of it" (Philosophy of Religion: A
Guide and Anthology
, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000, preface). There
is a strong coherence in the field, demonstrated by the overlap of topics in the
abundance of excellent, recently published textbooks and anthologies. Even
Gary E. Kessler, who wishes to transform philosophy of religion to take a more
global approach, understands it as concerned with "fundamental" questions
and, thus, reproduces a diverse and thought-provoking anthology under the
usual chapter headings (Philosophy of Religion: Toward a Global Perspective,
Belmont, Calif.: Wadsworth, 1999).

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