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Arts, Religion, and the Environment

Exploring Nature's Texture

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Edited by Sigurd Bergmann and Forrest J. Clingerman

Humans have been described as “meaning-making animals.” At the threshold of the Anthropocene, how might humans artistically envision their place in the world? Do humans possess cultural tools, which will allow us to imagine new possibilities and relationships with the natural environment at a time when our material surroundings are under siege?
Exploring Nature’s Texture looks at the imaginative possibilities of using the visual arts to address the breakdown of the human relationship with the environment. Bringing together contributions from artists, theologians, anthropologists and philosophers, it investigates the arts as a bridge between culture and nature, as well as between the human and more-than-human world.

Contributors: Whitney A. Bauman, Sigurd Bergmann, Forrest Clingerman, Timothy M. Collins, J. Sage Elwell, Reiko Goto, Arto Haapala, Tim Ingold, Karolina Sobecka, George Steinmann

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Edited by Dirk-Martin Grube

Interpretation and Meaning in Philosophy and Religion synthesizes cutting-edge philosophical reflections on interpretation with their application to religion. For this, new theoretical insights on interpretation by Krausz, Lamarque, Leddy, Hagberg, and Gibson are examined. Topics cover multiplism (i.e. interpretative pluralism), the goal of interpretation and its starting point. These concepts are then studied in relation to the practice of interpreting religious texts. For example, Grube proposes that the action-relevance of religious interpretations limits the possibility of tolerating divergent interpretations, Karrer-Grube challenges Lamarque’s insistence on a firm starting point, and Gokhale challenges Krausz by arguing that Vedantic practices of interpretation are non-multiplist.

Jesus or Nietzsche

How Should We Live Our Lives?

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Raymond Angelo Belliotti

This book reconstructs the cornerstones of Jesus’s moral teachings about how to lead a good, even exemplary, human life. It does so in a way that is compatible with the most prominent, competing versions of the historical Jesus. The work also contrast Jesus’ understanding of the best way to lead our lives with that of Friedrich Nietzsche. Both Jesus and Nietzsche were self-consciously moral revolutionaries. Jesus refashioned the imperatives of Jewish law to conform to what he was firmly convinced was the divine will. Nietzsche aspired to transvalue the dominant values of his time —which themselves were influenced greatly by Christianity— in service of what he took to be a higher vision. The interplay of these radical versions of the good human life, seasoned with critical commentary emerging from modern findings in the sciences and humanities, opens possibilities and lines of inquiry that can inform our choices in answering that enduring, paramount question, “How should we live our lives?”

Looking Beyond?

Shifting Views of Transcendence in Philosophy, Theology, Art, and Politics

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Edited by W. Stoker and W.L. van der Merwe

Religion is undergoing a transformation in current Western society. In addition to organized religions, there is a notable movement towards spirituality that is not associated with any institutions but in which experiences and notions of transcendence are still important. Transcendence can be described as God, the absolute, Mystery, the Other, the other as alterity, depending on one’s worldview. In this book, these shifts in the views of transcendence in various areas of culture such as philosophy, theology, art, and politics are explored on the basis of a fourfold heuristic model (proposed by Wessel Stoker). In conversation with this model, various authors, established scholars in their fields, explain the meaning and role, or the critique, of transcendence in the thought of contemporary thinkers, fields of discourse, or cultural domains. Looking Beyond? will stimulate further research on the theme of transcendence in contemporary culture, but can also serve as a textbook for courses in various disciplines, ranging from philosophy to theology, cultural studies, literature, art, and politics.

The Revolt of Unreason

Miguel de Unamuno and Antonio Caso on the Crisis of Modernity

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Michael Candelaria

This book examines solutions to the crisis of modernity proposed by the Spanish philosopher Miguel de Unamuno and the Mexican philosopher Antonio Caso. Acceptance of the objective claims of modern scientific rationality and the consequent rejection of the objective validity of artistic, moral, and religious claims generates the crisis of modernity. The problem is that of justifying artistic, moral, and religious claims. Miguel de Unamuno in his classic work, The Tragic Sense of Life, addresses the conflict between the belief in personal immortality and modern scientific rationality. Holding that there is no rational justification for the belief in immortality, Unamuno finds a solution in a “saving scepticism” to act “as if” he deserved immortality. In his book Existence as Economy, as Art, and Charity Caso attempts to create an aposteriori metaphysics based on the “current” results of science supplemented by the intuitions of art and morality. In doing so, Caso believes that he has enlarged the scope of the knowable to include objects of art, morality, and religion. Unamuno, by accepting the strict line of demarcation between faith and reason has no other recourse but to turn to decisionism. By turning to intuitionism, Caso believes that he has blurred the line of demarcation. Decisionism and intuitionism, therefore, are worthy of further exploration.

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Edited by Christopher R. Allers and Marieke Smit

Amidst the cacophony of claims made about forgiveness, this book serves to aid in an effort to put “forgiveness in perspective.” Marieke Smit and Christopher R. Allers have collected here ten essays written by twelve authors from around the world and across the disciplinary spectrum including philosophers, practitioners, psychologists, literary theorists, and prison chaplains. All the essays offer a perspective on forgiveness and put forgiveness in perspective whether by tracing what forgiveness “is,” how this religious inheritance is worked out in our secularizing societies, how forgiveness works in our quotidian experience, or a particular manifestation in a particular context such as marriage, prison, or after an abortion, to name a few. The multi-disciplinary character of this book provides a multi-disciplinary appeal as well as a resource to enlarge one’s own perspective on this perplexing, enigmatic, and wonderfully complex concept of forgiveness.

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Edited by Ourida Mostefai and John T. Scott