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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 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.

Contemporary conversations about religion and culture are framed by two reductive definitions of secularity. In one, multiple faiths and nonfaiths coexist free from a dominant belief in God. In the other, we deny the sacred altogether and exclude religion from rational thought and behavior. But is there a third way for those who wish to rediscover the sacred in a skeptical society? What kind of faith, if any, can be proclaimed after the ravages of the Holocaust and the many religion-based terrors since?

Richard Kearney explores these questions with a host of philosophers known for their inclusive, forward-thinking work on the intersection of secularism, politics, and religion. An interreligious dialogue that refuses to paper over religious difference, these conversations locate the sacred within secular society and affirm a positive role for religion in human reflection and action. Drawing on his own philosophical formulations, literary analysis, and personal interreligious experiences, Kearney develops through these engagements a basic gesture of hospitality for approaching the question of God. His work facilitates a fresh encounter with our best-known voices in continental philosophy and their views on issues of importance to all spiritually minded individuals and skeptics: how to reconcile God's goodness with human evil, how to believe in both God and natural science, how to talk about God without indulging in fundamentalist rhetoric, and how to balance God's sovereignty with God's love.

This important book brings together in one volume a collection of illuminating encounters with some of the most important philosophers of our age-by one of its most incisive and innovative critics.

For more than twenty years, Richard Kearney has been in conversation with leading philosophers, literary theorists, anthropologists, and religious scholars. His gift is eliciting memorably clear statements about their work from thinkers whose writings can often be challenging in their complexity.

Here, he brings together twenty-one originally published extraordinary conversations-his 1984 collection Dialogues: The Phenomenological Heritage, his 1992 Visions of Europe: Conversations on the Legacy and Future of Europe, and his 1995 States of Mind: Dialogues with Contemporary Thinkers. Featured interviewees include Stanislas Breton, Umberto Eco, Hans-Georg Gadamer, Herbert Marcus, George Steiner, Julia Kristeva, Emmanuel Levinas, and Jean-Franois Lyotard. To this classic core, he adds recent interviews, previously unpublished, with Paul Ricoeur, Jean-Luc Marion, Jacques Derrida, and George DumŽzil, as well as six colloquies about his own work.

Wide-ranging and accessible, these interviews provide a fascinating guide to the ideas, concerns, and personalities of thinkers who have shaped modern intellec-tual life. This book will be an essential point of entry for students, teachers, scholars, and anyone seeking to understand contemporary culture.

Contents
Preface
Part One: Recent Debates
Jacques Derrida: Terror, Religion, and the New Politics
Jean-Luc Marion: The Hermeneutics of Revelation
Paul Ricoeur: (a) On Life Stories (b) On The Crisis of Authority
(c) The Power of the Possible (d) Imagination, Testimony, and Trust
Georges Dumézil: Myth, Ideology, Sovereignty
Part Two: From Dialogues: The Phenomenological Heritage, 1984
Emmanuel Levinas: Ethics of the Infinite
Herbert Marcuse: The Philosophy of Art and Politics
Paul Ricoeur: (a) The Creativity of Language (b) Myth as the Bearer of Possible Worlds
Stanislas Breton: Being, God, and the Poetics of Relation
Jacques Derrida: Deconstruction and the Other
Part Three: From States of Mind, 1995
Julia Kristeva: Strangers to Ourselves: The Hope of the Singular
Hans Georg Gadamer: Text Matters
Jean-François Lyotard: What Is Just?
George Steiner: Culture-The Price You Pay
Paul Ricoeur: Universality and the Power of Difference
Umberto Eco: Chaosmos: The Return to the Middle Ages
Part Four: Colloquies with Richard Kearney
Villanova Colloquy: Against Omnipotence
Athens Colloquy: Between Selves and Others
Halifax Colloquy: Between Being and God
Stony Brook Colloquy: Confronting Imagination
Boston Colloquy: Theorizing the Gift
Dublin Colloquy: Thinking Is Dangerous
Appendix: Philosophy as Dialogue

What is strange? Or better, who is strange? When do we encounter the strange? We encounter strangers when we are not at home: when we are in a foreign land or a foreign part of our own land. From Freud to Lacan to Kristeva to Heidegger, the feeling of strangeness--das Unheimlichkeit--has marked our encounter with the other, even the other within our self. Most philosophical attempts to understand the role of the Stranger, human or transcendent, have been limited to standard epistemological problems of other minds, metaphysical substances, body/soul dualism and related issues of consciousness and cognition. This volume endeavors to take the question of hosting the stranger to the deeper level of embodied imagination and the senses (in the Greek sense of aisthesis).

This volume plays host to a number of encounters with the strange. It asks such questions as: How does the embodied imagination relate to the Stranger in terms of hospitality or hostility (given the common root of hostis as both host and enemy)? How do we distinguish between projections of fear or fascination, leading to either violence or welcome? How do humans "sense" the dimension of the strange and alien in different religions, arts, and cultures? How do the five physical senses relate to the spiritual senses, especially the famous "sixth" sense, as portals to an encounter with the Other? Is there a carnal perception of alterity, which would operate at an affective, prereflective, preconscious level? What exactly do "embodied imaginaries" of hospitality and hostility entail, and how do they operate in language, psychology, and social interrelations (including racism, xenophobia, and scapegoating)? And what, finally, are the topical implications of these questions for an ethics and practice of tolerance and peace?

The essays in this volume all ask what it means for human beings to be embodied as desiring creatures—and perhaps still more piercingly, what it means for a philosopher to be embodied. In taking up this challenge via phenomenology, psychoanalysis, hermeneutics, and the philosophy of literature, the volume questions the orthodoxies not only of Western metaphysics but even of the phenomenological tradition itself. We miss much that has philosophical import when we exclude the somatic aspects of human life, and it is therefore the philosopher’s duty now to rediscover the meaning inherent in desire, emotion, and passion—without letting the biases of any tradition determine in advance the meaning that reveals itself in embodied desire. Continental philosophers have already done much to challenge binary oppositions, and this volume sets out a new challenge: we must now also question the dichotomy between being at home and being alienated. Alterity is not simply something out there, separate from myself; rather, it penetrates me through and through, even in my corporeal experience. My body is both my own and other; I am other than myself and therefore other than my body. Additionally, this book is a conversation, not a presentation of a new orthodoxy. Thus, the hope is that these essays will open the way for further dialogue that will continue to radically rethink our understanding of embodied desire. Gathered together here are twelve essays that address these issues from deeply interrelated albeit unique perspectives from within the field.
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