New York: Cambridge University Press (2001)
Leading philosopher of religion D. Z. Phillips argues that intellectuals need not see their task as being for or against religion, but as one of understanding it. What stands in the way of this task are certain methodological assumptions about what enquiry into religion must be. Beginning with Bernard Williams on Greek gods, Phillips goes on to examine these assumptions in the work of Hume, Feuerbach, Marx, Frazer, Tylor, Marett, Freud, Durkheim, Le;vy-Bruhl, Berger and Winch. The result exposes confusion, but also gives logical space to religious belief without advocating personal acceptance of that belief, and shows how the academic study of religion may return to the contemplative task of doing conceptual justice to the world. Religion and the Hermeneutics of Contemplation extends in important ways D. Z. Phillips' seminal 1976 book Religion Without Explanation. It will be of interest to scholars and students of philosophy, anthropology, sociology and theology.