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This book takes up the philosophical task described by Samuel Taylor Coleridge and F.D. Maurice as digging toward the common humanity that is the ground of value. The book is an essay in philosophy defined by time (its focal point is the nineteenth century), space (its focal point is Britain), and persons (it is concerned especially with Maurice's contribution to social theory). The first chapter explores the Victorian Age as historical context and background for Maurice's work. The second explores Coleridge's thought as philosophical context and background. The third explores a range of Maurice's theological works that spans his entire career. The fourth turns, finally, as Maurice did, to the practice of adult education as the place of social transformation and, more particularly, the contested terrain where human nature and human souls are turned to work in the world as persons, not hands.
This extended essay joins an old conversation at the intersection of freedom and necessity. Though it takes place at the beginning of the twenty-first century by the “Christian” reckoning that has become an integral part of European identity, it will at times read like a conversation between classical Greece and nineteenth-century Europe. The cast consists of characters drawn from Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, and Plato as well as the authors themselves - Plato, Aristotle, Locke, Hume, Kant, Kierkegaard, MacIntyre, and Nussbaum. Some of these writers have been associated with displaced, displacing claims of universality; but each is in place and in time in ways that are instructive for ethics. Myth, the matter of stories, becomes also the matter of critical reflection, which in turn is subjected to critical reflection. Every fragment of philosophy is a contribution to the reflection, and it is nothing if it is separated from the matter - the stories, the myths, and the characters (including us) who both make them and live in them.
This book redefines religious studies as a field in which a plurality of disciplines interact. A social science when understood as a body of knowledge, religion is also marked by discovery, appreciation, orientation, and application—an interplay of the arts and sciences. Teaching religious studies involves the question of the occupation of territories and disentangling occupation from violence.