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Theory of Religious Cycles

Tradition, Modernity, and the Bahá’í Faith

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Mikhail Sergeev

In Theory of Religious Cycles: Tradition, Modernity and the Bahá’í Faith Mikhail Sergeev offers a new interpretation of the Soviet period of Russian history as a phase within the religious evolution of humankind by developing a theory of religious cycles, which he applies to modernity and to all the major world faiths of Judaism, Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam.

Sergeev argues that in the course of its evolution religion passes through six common phases—formative, orthodox, classical, reformist, critical, and post-critical. Modernity, which was started by the European Enlightenment, represents the critical phase of Christianity, a systemic crisis that could be overcome with the appearance of new religious movements such as the Bahá’í Faith, which offers a spiritual extension of the modern worldview.

Oneness and the Displacement of Self

Dialogues on Self-Realization

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Michael Krausz

This book presents a fictional dialogue among four former college friends about Oneness and self-realization. News of the sudden death of a relative occasions their discussion. One friend, a devotee of the Advaita or non-duality school of Hindu philosophy, seeks to short-circuit the pain and suffering characteristically associated with anxieties about human mortality. According to her, to be is to be the ultimate ineffable undifferentiated Being, the birthless and the deathless—the One. The other friends, whose philosophical attitudes are broadly pragmatist, relativist, and realist, inquire into her views. While the pragmatist looks to the advaitist for guidance about meditative practices, she does not renounce human existence. She welcomes the joys and satisfactions as well as the burdens and pains of human existence. In turn, the relativist is skeptical about theories that aim to reach beyond one’s historical, cultural or personal frame of reference. On his view, to be is to be in relationship, especially with other human beings. Finally, the realist seeks objective, frame-independent truth. In addition, he holds that the world is comprised of individual objects and their properties. Accordingly, he finds the idea of Oneness to be incomprehensible.

The Vision of Gabriel Marcel

Epistemology, Human Person, the Transcendent

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Brendan Sweetman

This book illustrates the profound implications of Gabriel Marcel’s unique existentialist approach to epistemology not only for traditional themes in his work concerning ethics and the transcendent, but also for epistemological issues, concerning the objectivity of knowledge, the problem of skepticism, and the nature of non-conceptual knowledge, among others. There are also chapters of dialogue with philosophers, Jacques Maritain and Martin Buber. In focusing on these themes, the book makes a distinctive contribution to the literature on Marcel.

Kierkegaard, Religion, and Existence

The Voyage of the Self

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Avi Sagi

This book is an original philosophic exploration of the meaning of Kierkegaard’s life, his thought, and his works. It makes a bold case for Kierkegaard’s recognition of the concrete existence of the individual, including Kierkegaard himself, as crucial to the spiritual life. Written with delicate insight, and beautifully translated from Hebrew, this work offers valuable new turns to understanding the puzzling life-work of a modern giant of spiritual reflection.

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Hisakazu Inagaki and J. Nelson Jennings

Philosophical Theology and East-West Dialogue is a unique philosophical and theological analysis of certain key interactions between Eastern and Western thinkers. The book on the one hand contrasts general traits of Eastern, Buddhist thought and Western, Greek thought. However, in doing so it focuses on influential philosophers and theologians who manifest particular instances of wider issues. The result is a careful examination of basic questions that offers both broad implications and concrete specificity in its approach.
The book itself is an instance of East-West dialogue. Independently of each other both authors had previously engaged in serious cross-cultural studies. The Japanese Inagaki had researched Western science and philosophy, then written in Japanese comparative studies of Japanese thought. The North American Jennings had researched Japanese theology. They brought these backgrounds together, dialoguing with each other until the present study emerged.
Several creative Japanese thinkers, as well as important Westerners, are taken up. The study follows the lead of many Eastern impulses, but it also critically utilizes Western methods. Contemporary thinking on religious plurality is carefully examined. This new study is a must for those interested in philosophy and theology in general, and East-West interaction in particular.

Diskurs und Befreiung

Studien zur philosophischen Ethik von Karl-Otto Apel und Enrique Dussel

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Hans Schelkshorn

Die europäische Diskursethik und die lateinamerikanische Philosophie der Befreiung artikulierten Anfang der 70er Jahre das weitverbreitete Bedürfnis nach grundlegenden gesellschaftlichen Veränderungen. Inzwischen stoßen allerdings diskurstheoretische Vernunftmoralen und neomarxistische Befreiungsphilosophien nicht nur im postmodernen Denken auf tiefe Skepsis. Vor dem Hintergrund wachsender sozialer Ungleichheit in Nord und Süd und der zunehmenden Macht populistischer bzw. fundamentalistischer Strömungen scheint es gegenwärtig jedoch durchaus angebracht zu sein, mögliche Errungenschaften der Diskurs- und Befreiungsethik in einer präzisen und zugleich kritischen Auseinandersetzung mit ihren theoretischen Grundlagen zu rekonstruieren und damit vorschnellen Abschiedsreden nochmals ins Wort zufallen. In einer vorsichtigen, die universalistische Orientierung prinzipiell bewahrenden Rekontextualisierung der Moraltheorien von Karl-Otto Apel und Enrique Dussel werden einerseits Möglichkeiten für gegenseitige Korrekturen und Ergänzungen zwischen Diskurs- und Befreiungsethik, andererseits aber auch Perspektiven für eine interkulturell orientierte Ethik als Fundament einer Kritischen Theorie der globalen sozialen Frage analysiert.

Holy Scriptures in Judaism, Christianity and Islam

Hermeneutics, Values and Society

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Edited by Hendrik M. Vroom and Jerald D. Gort

One of the prime issues that needs to be addressed in dialogical encounter between the three monotheistic faiths of the world is that concerning the authority and interpretation of Holy Writ, since Jews, Christians and Muslims alike consider their Scriptures to be divine revelation. It is incumbent upon each of these religions to apprise itself of the hermeneutical approach employed by the others in ascribing current meaning to ancient scriptural texts. This is not only important as a means for the enhancement of inter-religious understanding but is also of great interest to society at large. What role does the Jewish Bible, the Christian Bible, and the Qu'ran play in the thinking and the lives of contemporary Jews, Christians, and Muslims? How are these Holy Scriptures interpreted in terms of present-day circumstances? How much room do the three religions allow for bringing their basic messages and biblical-theological traditions into rapport with constantly changing social, political and economic conditions? Is the concept of hermeneutical space acceptable to these religions? If so, in what sense and at what level? Is it possible to identify the scopus of a text and then reconstitute it textually, as it were, in light of the social and ethical questions thrown up by new contextual developments? Can interpretive adjustments be made without jeopardizing the core message of the text involved? And do the three monotheistic religions stand open to one another for influence in this regard? Has one or another of them taken hermeneutical cues from the others? Is there room for mutual learning within the hermeneutical space mentioned above or is this a sacred space closed to all influence from other traditions? These are among the central questions raised and dealt with in this interreligious collection of essays, perhaps the only dialogical symposium to date to deal exclusively with the doctrine and hermeneutics of Holy Scripture in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

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Edited by R.A. Mall and Dieter Lohmar

Der erste Band dieser Reihe trägt den Titel: Philosophische Grundlagen der Interkulturalität. Neben einer begrifflichen und inhaltlichen Klärung der Interkulturalität geht es in den Beiträgen um eine grundsätzliche Diskussion und Standortbestimmung der interkulturellen Philosophie in dem heutigen Weltkontext der Philosophie. Der heutige weltphilosophische Kontext bedarf einer komprehensiveren Hermeneutik.