Levinas and the Philosophy of Religion

Indiana University Press
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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 / £30.50

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About the author

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.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Indiana University Press
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Published on
Jul 12, 2001
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Pages
264
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ISBN
9780253108555
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Language
English
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Genres
Philosophy / Religious
Religion / Philosophy
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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“The fate of our times is characterized by rationalization and intellectualization and, above all, by ‘the disenchantment of the world.’” Max Weber’s statement remains a dominant interpretation of the modern condition: the increasing capabilities of knowledge and science have banished mysteries, leaving a world that can be mastered technically and intellectually. And though this idea seems empowering, many people have become disenchanted with modern disenchantment. Using intimate encounters with works of art to explore disenchantment and the possibilities of re-enchantment, Arts of Wonder addresses questions about the nature of humanity, the world, and God in the wake of Weber’s diagnosis of modernity. Jeffrey L. Kosky focuses on a handful of artists—Walter De Maria, Diller + Scofidio, James Turrell, and Andy Goldsworthy—to show how they introduce spaces hospitable to mystery and wonder, redemption and revelation, and transcendence and creation. What might be thought of as religious longings, he argues, are crucial aspects of enchanting secularity when developed through encounters with these works of art. Developing a model of religion that might be significant to secular culture, Kosky shows how this model can be employed to deepen interpretation of the art we usually view as representing secular modernity. A thoughtful dialogue between philosophy and art, Arts of Wonder will catch the eye of readers of art and religion, philosophy of religion, and art criticism.
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“The fate of our times is characterized by rationalization and intellectualization and, above all, by ‘the disenchantment of the world.’” Max Weber’s statement remains a dominant interpretation of the modern condition: the increasing capabilities of knowledge and science have banished mysteries, leaving a world that can be mastered technically and intellectually. And though this idea seems empowering, many people have become disenchanted with modern disenchantment. Using intimate encounters with works of art to explore disenchantment and the possibilities of re-enchantment, Arts of Wonder addresses questions about the nature of humanity, the world, and God in the wake of Weber’s diagnosis of modernity. Jeffrey L. Kosky focuses on a handful of artists—Walter De Maria, Diller + Scofidio, James Turrell, and Andy Goldsworthy—to show how they introduce spaces hospitable to mystery and wonder, redemption and revelation, and transcendence and creation. What might be thought of as religious longings, he argues, are crucial aspects of enchanting secularity when developed through encounters with these works of art. Developing a model of religion that might be significant to secular culture, Kosky shows how this model can be employed to deepen interpretation of the art we usually view as representing secular modernity. A thoughtful dialogue between philosophy and art, Arts of Wonder will catch the eye of readers of art and religion, philosophy of religion, and art criticism.
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