Religious Studies 57 (4):634–653 (2021)

Jack Williams
University of Edinburgh (PhD)
This article proposes a new approach to employing Maurice Merleau-Ponty's philosophy in the philosophy of religion. Rather than finding a latent theology in Merleau-Ponty – as some interpreters do – this article argues that Merleau-Ponty's later ontology can provide the basis for a philosophical anthropology which can help us understand why human beings are drawn to religion and how this is expressed in affective and ritual practice. This ontology can help us to understand the notion of freedom as it applies to affective, embodied, and ritual religious practices and begins to sketch out how freedom might be understood in light of embodiment.
Keywords Merleau-Ponty  Philosophy of Religion  Phenomenology  Perception  Ontology  Freedom
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