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The Philosophy of Spirituality

Analytic, Continental and Multicultural Approaches to a New Field of Philosophy

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Edited by Heather Salazar and Roderick Nicholls

The essays in The Philosophy of Spirituality explore a new field in philosophy. Until recently, most philosophers in the analytic and continental Western traditions treated spirituality as a religious concept. Any non-religious spirituality tended to be neglected or dismissed as irremediably vague. Here, from various philosophical and cultural perspectives, it is addressed as a subject of independent interest.

This is a philosophical response to increasing numbers of spiritual but not religious people inhabiting secular societies and the heightened interaction between a multitude of spiritual traditions in a globalized age. A provocative array of approaches (African, Indigenous, Indian, Stoic, and Sufic perspectives, as well as Western analytic and continental views) offer fresh insights, many articulated by emerging voices.

Contributors are Mariapaola Bergomi, Moses Biney, Christopher Braddock, Drew Chastain, Kerem Eksen, Nikolay Milkov, Roderick Nicholls, Jerry Piven, Heather Salazar, Eric Steinhart, Richard White, Mark Wynn and Eric Yang.

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.

Migration as a Sign of the Times

Towards a Theology of Migration

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Edited by Judith Gruber and Sigrid Rettenbacher

Migrations are contested sites of identity negotiations: they are not simply a process of border crossings but more so of border shiftings. Rather than allowing migrants to swiftly move across stable borders from one clearly defined identity to another, migrations question and renegotiate these very identities. Migrations undermine and re-establish borders along which the identity of migrants (and also that of the supposedly settled population) are constituted, and, as a discourse, migrations serve as a contested site of negotiating identities. Migrations reveal the negotiable character of identities - and representations of migration are themselves a hotspot in contemporary identity constructions.

What can theology contribute to the negotiations on migration? The contributions of this volume work towards a reading of migration as a sign of the times. Together, they offer "steps towards a theology of migration." They show that migration calls for a new way of doing. A theology that is exposed to migration as a sign of the times is drwan into the shifting, unsettling, and undermining of borders. This has impact not only on the discourse of migration, but also on the discourse of theology: it calls theology to move away from its search for well-established definitions (literally: borders) of its God-talk and to venture into new, uncharted territory. It loses its fixed, clearly defined grounds and finds itself on the way toward a renegotiation of what it means to believe in, celebrate, and reflect on YHWH - on God who is with us on the way.

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.

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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.

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Edited by Notker Schneider, Dieter Lohmar, Morteza Ghasempour and Hermann-Josef Scheidgen

Was Interkulturelle Philosophie ist, und worin ihr besonderer Beitrag zur Philosophie im ganzen bestehen kann, das kann sich allein in konkreten Ausarbeitungen erweisen. Der vorliegende Band repräsentiert eine breitgefächerte Auswahl sowohl der unterschiedlichen Ansatzpunkte, von denen interkulturelles Philosophieren ausgeht, als auch der diversen Forschungsgebiete innerhalb der Philosophie, die durch interkulturelle Fragestellungen angesprochen sind. Die Vielfalt der historischen und systematischen Zugangsweisen reflektiert die Überzeugung, daß Interkulturelle Philosophie kein in sich geschlossenes Lehrgebäude ist und ein solches auch nicht werden kann, sondern interkulturelles Philosophieren eine bestimmte Einstellung und eine Haltung darbietet, die auf der grundlegenden Annahme beruht, daß die letzte philosophische Einsicht, die Wahrheit im Singular, von niemandem allein erlangt worden ist und auch nicht erlangt werden kann.