Religions Challenged by Contingency

Theological and Philosophical Approaches to the Problem of Contingency


In this volume, the relationship between religion and contingency is investigated. Its historical part comprises analyses of important philosophers’ interpretations of this relationship, viz. that of Leibniz, Kant, Lessing, Jaspers, and Heidegger. Its systematic part analyses how this relationship should be currently (re-)interpreted. The upshot of the different interpretations is a re-evaluation of the traditional assumption that accepting contingency is detrimental to the pursuit of religion. It is shown that a number of the philosophers scrutinized are not as critical regarding the acceptance of (certain sorts of) contingency in the religious realm as is often thought, and the systematic contributions show that it may be unavoidable, sometimes even desirable, to accept contingency when dealing with religion. Contributors include: Lieven Boeve, Wim Drees, Joris Geldhof, Dirk-Martin Grube, Frans Jespers, Peter Jonkers, Donald Loose, Ben Vedder, Henk Vroom.
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Biographical Note

Dirk-Martin Grube, Ph.D. (1991) in religion, Temple University, Philadelphia, currently holds the chair in the philosophy of religion and ethics at Utrecht University. He has published on Paul Tillich, Karl Barth, Alvin Plantinga, Gotthold Ephraim Lessing, and William James. Peter Jonkers, Ph.D. (1982) in philosophy, Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium, currently holds the chair in philosophy at the Faculty of Catholic Theology of Tilburg University. He has published on German idealism, philosophy of religion, metaphysics and philosophy of culture.

Review Quote

"This book is an interesting contribution to the process of the re-evaluation of the relationship between contingency and religion. Important philosophical interpretations of this relationship are meticulously scrutinized and the systematic contributions add fascinating discussions and suggestions." Edwin Koster, Bijdragen, International Journal in Philosophy and Theology, 2010.

Table of contents

Preface ... vii Introduction Contingency and Religion—A Philosophical Tour d’Horizon ... 1 Dirk-Martin Grube (Utrecht University) PART I HISTORICAL CASE-STUDIES IN RELIGION AND CONTINGENCY: CLASSICAL PHILOSOPHY Chapter One Universal Religion, Contingency, and Truth in Leibniz ... 47 Frans P.M. Jespers (Radboud University Nijmegen) Chapter Two Kant on Contingency in Christian Religion ... 67 Donald Loose (Tilburg University) Chapter Three The Lessing/Schumann Controversy. Lessing’s Stance on Contingency Compared to Kant’s Stance ... 89 Dirk-Martin Grube (Utrecht University) PART II HISTORICAL CASE-STUDIES IN RELIGION AND CONTINGENCY: MODERN PHILOSOPHY Chapter Four Contingency and Salvation. A Hermeneutics of Christianity from the Perspective of Heidegger and Thomas Aquinas ... 119 Ben Vedder (Radboud University Nijmegen) Chapter Five Jaspers, Existence, and Contingency. On the Risk of a Loss of Sense for God in Modern Philosophy ... 136 Joris Geldhof (Catholic University of Leuven) PART III RELIGION AND CONTINGENCY: SYSTEMATIC APPROACHES Chapter Six Contingent Religions, Contingent Truths? A Philosophical Analysis of the Role of Existential Truth in Religious Ways of Life ... 61 Peter Jonkers (Tilburg University) Chapter Seven Religious Truth, Particularity, and Incarnation. A Theological Proposal for a Philosophical Hermeneutics of Religion ... 182 Lieven Boeve (Catholic University of Leuven) Chapter Eight Can We Be Sure About Contingent Religious Insights? ... 205 Henk Vroom (VU - University Amsterdam) Chapter Nine Our Universe—A Contingent Cosmos? ... 221 Willem B. Drees (Leiden University) Name Index ... 244 About the Authors ... 247


All those interested in philosophy and religion, in particular, philosophers of religion, systematic theologians and philosophers who are interested in the development of ideas