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Philosophy and the Turn to Religion

Hent de Vries

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Originally published in 1999. If religion once seemed to have played out its role in the intellectual and political history of Western secular modernity, it has now returned with a vengeance. In Philosophy and the Turn to Religion, Hent de Vries argues that a turn to religion discernible in recent philosophy anticipates and accompanies this development in the contemporary world. Though the book reaches back to Immanuel Kant, Martin Heidegger, and earlier, it takes its inspiration from the tradition of French phenomenology, notably Emmanuel Levinas, Jean-Luc Marion, and, especially, Jacques…

Originally published in 1999. If religion once seemed to have played out its role in the intellectual and political history of Western secular modernity, it has now returned with a vengeance. In Philosophy and the Turn to Religion, Hent de Vries argues that a turn to religion discernible in recent philosophy anticipates and accompanies this development in the contemporary world. Though the book reaches back to Immanuel Kant, Martin Heidegger, and earlier, it takes its inspiration from the tradition of French phenomenology, notably Emmanuel Levinas, Jean-Luc Marion, and, especially, Jacques Derrida. Tracing how Derrida probes the discourse on religion, its metaphysical presuppositions, and its transformations, de Vries shows how this author consistently foregrounds the unexpected alliances between a radical interrogation of the history of Western philosophy and the religious inheritance from which that philosophy has increasingly sought to set itself apart.

De Vries goes beyond formal analogies between the textual practices of deconstruction and so-called negative theology to address the necessity for a philosophical thinking that situates itself at once close to and at the farthest remove from traditional manifestations of the religious and the theological. This paradox is captured in the phrase adieu (à dieu), borrowed from Levinas, which signals at once a turn toward and a leave-taking from God—and which also gestures toward and departs from the other of this divine other, the possibility of radical evil. Only by confronting such uncanny and difficult figures, de Vries claims, can one begin to think and act upon the ethical and political imperatives of our day.

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Philosophy and the Turn to Religion

Hent de Vries

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Reviews

A quasi-magisterial work, both insofar as its phenomenological rigor gives the reader a comprehension of Derrida's religious writings that transcends their quotability and also insofar as it goes beyond Derrida in its treatment of the relationship between philosophy and religion.

Hent de Vries has given us a very comprehensive, thoughtful, and instructive study of the relation between negative theology and its recent analogues in the writings of Levinas, Heidegger and Derrida. Those puzzled by Derrida's discussion of religion in his recent work will find de Vries' book very useful indeed.

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Book Details

Publication Date
Status
Available
Trim Size
6
x
9
Pages
498
ISBN
9781421437392
Table of Contents

Preface
Abbreviations
Introduction
Chapter 1. Revealing Revelations
Chapter 2. Hypertheology
Chapter 3. Formal Indications
Chapter 4. The Generous Repetition
Chapter 5. The Kenosis of Discourse
Chapter

Preface
Abbreviations
Introduction
Chapter 1. Revealing Revelations
Chapter 2. Hypertheology
Chapter 3. Formal Indications
Chapter 4. The Generous Repetition
Chapter 5. The Kenosis of Discourse
Chapter 6. Apocalyptics and Enlightenment
Epilogue
Bibliography
Index

Author Bio
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Hent de Vries

Hent de Vries is Paulette Goddard Professor of the Humanities. He is Professor of German, Religious Studies, Comparative Literature, and Affiliated Professor of Philosophy. He received his BA/MA in Judaica and Hellenistic Thought (Theology), Public Finance and Political Economy (Law), at Leiden University, and obtained his PhD there in Philosophy of Religion, with a study on Theodor W. Adorno and...