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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.

Confronting Capital and Empire

Rethinking Kyoto School Philosophy

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Edited by Viren Murthy, Fabian Schäfer and Max Ward

Confronting Capital and Empire inquires into the relationship between philosophy, politics and capitalism by rethinking Kyoto School philosophy in relation to history. The Kyoto School was an influential group of Japanese philosophers loosely related to Kyoto Imperial University’s philosophy department, including such diverse thinkers as Nishida Kitarō, Tanabe Hajime, Nakai Masakazu and Tosaka Jun.

Confronting Capital and Empire presents a new perspective on the Kyoto School by bringing the school into dialogue with Marx and the underlying questions of Marxist theory. The volume brings together essays that analyse Kyoto School thinkers through a Marxian and/or critical theoretical perspective, asking: in what ways did Kyoto School thinkers engage with their historical moment? What were the political possibilities immanent in their thought? And how does Kyoto School philosophy speak to the pressing historical and political questions of our own moment?

The Ethics and Religious Philosophy of Etty Hillesum

Proceedings of the Etty Hillesum Conference at Ghent University, January 2014

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Edited by Klaas A.D. Smelik, Meins G.S. Coetsier and Jurjen Wiersma

The Ethics and Religious Philosophy of Etty Hillesum contains the proceedings of the second international Etty Hillesum Congress at Ghent University in January 2014 and is a joint effort by fifteen Hillesum experts to shed new light on the life, works and vision of the Dutch Jewish writer Etty Hillesum (1914-1943), one of the victims of the Nazi-regime. Hillesum’s diaries and letters illustrate her heroic struggle to come to terms with her personal life in the context of the Holocaust. This volume revives Hillesum research with a comprehensive rereading of her texts. With the current rise of interest in peace studies, Judaism, the Holocaust, inter-religious dialogue, gender studies and mysticism, it is evident that this book will be invaluable to students and scholars in various disciplines.

Sacrifice in Modernity: Community, Ritual, Identity

From Nationalism and Nonviolence to Health Care and Harry Potter

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Edited by Joachim Duyndam, Anna-Marie J.A.C.M. Korte and Marcel Poorthuis

Sacrifice seems to belong to a religious context of the past. In Sacrifice in Modernity: Community, Ritual, Identity it is demonstrated how sacrificial themes remain an essential element in our post-modern society. The shaping of community, performing rituals and the search for identity, three main characteristics of traditional sacrifice, are dynamics of our modern times as well which cannot be understood without sacrificial awareness. This is demonstrated in such areas as the German poet Hölderlin, Harry Potter, martyrdom, the Twilight Saga, the Japanese writer Endo, Tarkovsky, movies and more.

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.

Looking Beneath the Surface

Medical Ethics from Islamic and Western Perspectives

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Edited by Hendrik M. Vroom, Petra Verdonk, Marzouk Aulad Abdellah and Martina C. Cornel

Looking Beneath the Surface explores Arab-Islamic and Western perspectives on medical ethical issues: genetic research and treatment, abortion, organ donation, and palliative sedation and euthanasia. The contributions in this volume discuss the state of the (medical) art, the role of laws, counseling, and spiritual counseling in the decision-making process.
The different approaches to the ethical issues, ways of moral reasoning, become clear in these contributions, especially the role of tradition for Islam and the importance of autonomy for the West. Beneath the differences, however, the reader will also discover common values, such as the role of dignity and the value of life, and similar practices. Some of the main differences are sociocultural in nature, rather than religious as such.
Well-known experts in the fields of medicine and ethics have contributed to this volume from different religious and secular backgrounds. The book offers a carefully written introduction and final chapter on intercultural comparisons. Looking Beneath the Surface is more than a collection of writings on issues in medical ethics: it helps the reader to compare different paradigms of accountability and moral reasoning.

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.

Agents of uncertainty

Mysticism, scepticism, Buddhism, art and poetry

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John Danvers

Through an analysis of many different examples, Danvers articulates a new way of thinking about mysticism and scepticism, not as opposite poles of the philosophical spectrum, but as two fields of enquiry with overlapping aims and methods. Prompted by a deep sense of wonder at being alive, many mystics and sceptics, like the Buddha, practice disciplines of doubt in order to become free of attachment to fixed appearances, essences and viewpoints, and in doing so they find peace and equanimity. They develop ways of living with impermanence and the unexpected by letting go of adherence to dogmatic beliefs and by suspending judgement. In common with many artists and poets they act as agents of uncertainty, actively disturbing the routines and habits of day-to-day thought and behaviour in order to demonstrate how to maintain a sense of balance and spontaneity in the midst of life’s difficulties. Topics explored include: being and self as process; mysticism and language; scepticism and dogmatism; Buddhism, interdependence and emptiness; Daoism and impermanence; dialectics of doubt in art and poetry. Written in a lively and accessible style, accompanied by drawings and photographs by the author, this volume is aimed at scholars, artists, teachers, and anyone interested in philosophy, religion, art, poetry and ways of being.

Criticism of Religion

On Marxism and Theology, II

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Roland Boer

Criticism of Religion offers a spirited critical commentary on the engagements with religion and theology by a range of leading Marxist philosophers and critics: Lucien Goldmann, Fredric Jameson, Rosa Luxemburg, Karl Kautsky, Julia Kristeva, Alain Badiou, Giorgio Agamben, Georg Lukács, and Raymond Williams. Apart from offering sustained critique, the aim is to gather key insights from these critics in order to develop a comprehensive theory of religion. The book follows on the heels of the acclaimed Criticism of Heaven, being the second volume of a five volume series called Criticism of Heaven and Earth.