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Strange Wonder

Author: Mary-Jane Rubenstein
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 0231518595
Size: 10.54 MB
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Strange Wonder confronts Western philosophy's ambivalent relationship to the Platonic "wonder" that reveals the strangeness of the everyday. On the one hand, this wonder is said to be the origin of all philosophy. On the other hand, it is associated with a kind of ignorance that ought to be extinguished as swiftly as possible. By endeavoring to resolve wonder's indeterminacy into certainty and calculability, philosophy paradoxically secures itself at the expense of its own condition of possibility. Strange Wonder locates a reopening of wonder's primordial uncertainty in the work of Martin Heidegger, for whom wonder is first experienced as the shock at the groundlessness of things and then as an astonishment that things nevertheless are. Mary-Jane Rubenstein traces this double movement through the thought of Emmanuel Levinas, Jean-Luc Nancy, and Jacques Derrida, ultimately thematizing wonder as the awesome, awful opening that exposes thinking to devastation as well as transformation. Rubenstein's study shows that wonder reveals the extraordinary in and through the ordinary, and is therefore crucial to the task of reimagining political, religious, and ethical terrain.

Encountering Religion

Author: Tyler Roberts
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 023153549X
Size: 45.29 MB
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Tyler Roberts encourages scholars to abandon the conceptual opposition between "secular" and "religious" to better understand the revival of political and public religion across the world. Roberts approaches the phenomenon as a process of "encounter" and "response," illuminating the agency, creativity, and critical awareness of religious actors. To respond to religion is to ask what religious behaviors and representations mean to us in our worlds, confronting the questions of possibility and becoming that arise from testing our beliefs and practices. He incorporates the work of Hent de Vries, Eric Santner, and Stanley Cavell, who exemplify encounter and response by exposing secular thinking to religious thought and practice.

Radical Democracy And Political Theology

Author: Jeffrey W. Robbins
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 0231156375
Size: 42.71 MB
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Alexis de Tocqueville once wrote that "the people reign over the American political world like God over the universe," unwittingly casting democracy as the political instantiation of the death of God. According to Jeffrey W. Robbins, Tocqueville's assessment remains an apt observation of modern democratic power, which does not rest with a sovereign authority but operates as a diffuse social force. By linking radical democratic theory to a contemporary fascination with political theology, Robbins envisions the modern experience of democracy as a social, cultural, and political force transforming the nature of sovereign power and political authority. Robbins joins his work with Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri's radical conception of "network power," as well as Sheldon Wolin's notion of "fugitive democracy," to fashion a political theology that captures modern democracy's social and cultural torment. This approach has profound implications not only for the nature of contemporary religious belief and practice but also for the reconceptualization of the proper relationship between religion and politics. Challenging the modern, liberal, and secular assumption of a neutral public space, Robbins conceives of a postsecular politics for contemporary society that inextricably links religion to the political. While effectively recasting the tradition of radical theology as a political theology, this book also develops a comprehensive critique of the political theology bequeathed by Carl Schmitt. It marks an original and visionary achievement by the scholar the Journal of the American Academy of Religion hailed "one of the best commentators on religion and postmodernism."

Radical Political Theology

Author: Clayton Crockett
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 023152076X
Size: 45.17 MB
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In the 1960s, the strict opposition between the religious and the secular began to break down, blurring the distinction between political philosophy and political theology. This collapse contributed to the decline of modern liberalism, which supported a neutral, value-free space for capitalism. It also deeply unsettled political, religious, and philosophical realms, forced to confront the conceptual stakes of a return to religion. Gamely intervening in a contest that defies simple resolutions, Clayton Crockett conceives of the postmodern convergence of the secular and the religious as a basis for emancipatory political thought. Engaging themes of sovereignty, democracy, potentiality, law, and event from a religious and political point of view, Crockett articulates a theological vision that responds to our contemporary world and its theo-political realities. Specifically, he claims we should think about God and the state in terms of potentiality rather than sovereign power. Deploying new concepts, such as Slavoj Žižek's idea of parallax and Catherine Malabou's notion of plasticity, his argument engages with debates over the nature and status of religion, ideology, and messianism. Tangling with the work of Derrida, Deleuze, Spinoza, Antonio Negri, Giorgio Agamben, Alain Badiou, John D. Caputo, and Catherine Keller, Crockett concludes with a reconsideration of democracy as a form of political thought and religious practice, underscoring its ties to modern liberal capitalism while also envisioning a more authentic democracy unconstrained by those ties.

Anatheism

Author: Richard Kearney
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 0231519869
Size: 47.46 MB
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Has the passing of the old God paved the way for a new kind of religious project, a more responsible way to seek, sound, and love the things we call divine? Has the suspension of dogmatic certainties and presumptions opened a space in which we can encounter religious wonder anew? Situated at the split between theism and atheism, we now have the opportunity to respond in deeper, freer ways to things we cannot fathom or prove. Distinguished philosopher Richard Kearney calls this condition ana-theos, or God after God-a moment of creative "not knowing" that signifies a break with former sureties and invites us to forge new meanings from the most ancient of wisdoms. Anatheism refers to an inaugural event that lies at the heart of every great religion, a wager between hospitality and hostility to the stranger, the other& mdash;the sense of something "more." By analyzing the roots of our own anatheistic moment, Kearney shows not only how a return to God is possible for those who seek it but also how a more liberating faith can be born. Kearney begins by locating a turn toward sacred secularity in contemporary philosophy, focusing on Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Paul Ricoeur. He then marks "epiphanies" in the modernist masterpieces of James Joyce, Marcel Proust, and Virginia Woolf. Kearney concludes with a discussion of the role of theism and atheism in conflict and peace, confronting the distinction between sacramental and sacrificial belief or the God who gives life and the God who takes it away. Accepting that we can never be sure about God, he argues, is the only way to rediscover a hidden holiness in life and to reclaim an everyday divinity.

To Carl Schmitt

Author: Jacob Taubes
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 0231520344
Size: 21.67 MB
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A philosopher, rabbi, religious historian, and Gnostic, Jacob Taubes was for many years a correspondent and interlocutor of Carl Schmitt (1888–1985), a German jurist, philosopher, political theorist, law professor—and self-professed Nazi. Despite their unlikely association, Taubes and Schmitt shared an abiding interest in the fundamental problems of political theology, believing the great challenges of modern political theory were ancient in pedigree and, in many cases, anticipated the works of Judeo-Christian eschatologists. In this collection of Taubes’s writings on Schmitt, which includes decades of letters exchanged between them, the two intellectuals explore ideas of the apocalypse and other central concepts of political theology. Taubes acknowledges Schmitt’s reservations about the weakness of liberal democracy yet distances himself from his prescription to rectify it, arguing the apocalyptic worldview requires less of a rigid hierarchical social ordering than a community committed to the importance of decision making. In these writings, a sharper and more nuanced portrait of Schmitt’s thought emerges, as well as a more complicated understanding of Taubes, who has shaped the work of Giorgio Agamben, Peter Sloterdijk, and other major twentieth-century theorists.

What Does A Jew Want

Author: Udi Aloni
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 0231527373
Size: 61.62 MB
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"In this book Udi Aloni, causing a power fault in the ruling liberal attitude by way of short-circuiting different levels of ideology, art, and thought; rewrites the Oedipus myth and rejects liberal Zionism. Who but Aloni can combine the tremendous poetic power of creating new myths with the perspicuous mind of a cold theoretician? Who but Aloni can ground his ruthless critique of Zionism into his unconditional fidelity to the Jewish tradition? If anyone needs a proof that political theology is well and alive, here it is!"—Slavoj Žižek In the hopes of promoting justice, peace, and solidarity for and with the Palestine people, Udi Aloni joins with Judith Butler, Alain Badiou, and Slavoj Žižek to confront the core issues of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Their bold question: Will a new generation of Israelis and Palestinians dare to walk together toward a joint Israel-Palestine? Through a collage of meditation, interview, diary, and essay, Aloni and his interlocutors present a personal, intellectual, and altogether provocative account rich with the insights of philosophy and critical theory. They ultimately foresee the emergence of a binational Israeli-Palestinian state, incorporating the work of Walter Benjamin, Edward Said, and Jacques Derrida-as well as Jewish theology-to recast the conflict in secular theological terms.

Philosophical Temperaments

Author: Peter Sloterdijk
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 0231527403
Size: 34.57 MB
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Peter Sloterdijk turns his keen eye to the history of western thought, conducting colorful readings of the lives and ideas of the world’s most influential intellectuals. Featuring nineteen vignettes rich in personal characterizations and theoretical analysis, Sloterdijk’s companionable volume casts the development of philosophical thinking not as a buildup of compelling books and arguments but as a lifelong, intimate struggle with intellectual and spiritual movements, filled with as many pitfalls and derailments as transcendent breakthroughs. Sloterdijk delves into the work and times of Aristotle, Augustine, Bruno, Descartes, Foucault, Fichte, Hegel, Husserl, Kant, Kierkegaard, Leibniz, Marx, Nietzsche, Pascal, Plato, Sartre, Schelling, Schopenhauer, and Wittgenstein. He provocatively juxtaposes Plato against shamanism and Marx against Gnosticism, revealing both the vital external influences shaping these intellectuals’ thought and the excitement and wonder generated by the application of their thinking in the real world. The philosophical “temperament” as conceived by Sloterdijk represents the uniquely creative encounter between the mind and a diverse array of cultures. It marks these philosophers’ singular achievements and the special dynamic at play in philosophy as a whole. Creston Davis’s introduction details Sloterdijk’s own temperament, surveying the celebrated thinker’s intellectual context, rhetorical style, and philosophical persona.

A Radical Philosophy Of Saint Paul

Author: Stanislas Breton
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 0231521766
Size: 22.81 MB
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Newly translated and critically situated, this edition of A Radical Philosophy of Saint Paul takes a fresh approach to the philosopher's classic work, reacquainting readers with the remarkable ways in which an ancient apostle can reset our understanding of the political. Breton begins with Paul's biography and the texts of his conversion, which challenge common conceptions of identity. He broaches the question of allegory and divine predestination, introduces the idea of subjectivity as an effect of power, and he confronts Paul's critique of law, which leads to an exploration of the logics and limits of agency and power. Breton develops these and other insights in relation to Paul's subversive reflections on the crucified messiah, which challenge meaning and reason and upend our current world order.

Religion And The Specter Of The West

Author: Arvind-Pal S. Mandair
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 023151980X
Size: 37.83 MB
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Arguing that intellectual movements, such as deconstruction, postsecular theory, and political theology, have different implications for cultures and societies that live with the debilitating effects of past imperialisms, Arvind Mandair unsettles the politics of knowledge construction in which the category of "religion" continues to be central. Through a case study of Sikhism, he launches an extended critique of religion as a cultural universal. At the same time, he presents a portrait of how certain aspects of Sikh tradition were reinvented as "religion" during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. India's imperial elite subtly recast Sikh tradition as a sui generis religion, which robbed its teachings of their political force. In turn, Sikhs began to define themselves as a "nation" and a "world religion" that was separate from, but parallel to, the rise of the Indian state and global Hinduism. Rather than investigate these processes in isolation from Europe, Mandair shifts the focus closer to the political history of ideas, thereby recovering part of Europe's repressed colonial memory. Mandair rethinks the intersection of religion and the secular in discourses such as history of religions, postcolonial theory, and recent continental philosophy. Though seemingly unconnected, these discourses are shown to be linked to a philosophy of "generalized translation" that emerged as a key conceptual matrix in the colonial encounter between India and the West. In this riveting study, Mandair demonstrates how this philosophy of translation continues to influence the repetitions of religion and identity politics in the lives of South Asians, and the way the academy, state, and media have analyzed such phenomena.