ABSTRACTGraeme Wood’s The Way of the Strangers suggests that many scholars have denied or downplayed the Islamic State’s own account of its emphatically religious foundation. This tendency is heir to the Enlightenment strategy of defanging illiberal religion by claiming that only religions conforming to liberal principles are genuinely religious—raising anew questions that arose at the dawn of liberalism, in the wake of the Wars of Religion.
Does the toleration of liberal democratic society mean that religious faiths are left substantively intact, so long as they respect the rights of others? Or do liberal principles presuppose a deeper transformation of religion? Does life in democratic society itself transform religion? In Making Religion Safe for Democracy, J. Judd Owen explores these questions by tracing a neglected strand of Enlightenment political thought that presents a surprisingly unified reinterpretation of Christianity by Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, and Thomas Jefferson. Owen then (...) turns to Alexis de Tocqueville's analysis of the effects of democracy on religion in the early United States. Tocqueville finds a religion transformed by democracy in a way that bears a striking resemblance to what the Enlightenment thinkers sought, while offering a fundamentally different interpretation of what is at stake in that transformation. Making Religion Safe for Democracy offers a novel framework for understanding the ambiguous status of religion in modern democratic society. (shrink)
Largely due to the cultural and political shift of the Enlightenment, Western societies in the eighteenth century emerged from sectarian conflict and embraced a more religiously moderate path. In nine original essays, leading scholars ask whether exporting the Enlightenment solution is possibleor even desirabletoday. Contributors begin by revisiting the Enlightenment's restructuring of the West, examining its ongoing encounters with Protestant and Catholic Christianity, Judaism, Islam, and Hinduism. While acknowledging the necessity of the Enlightenment emphasis on toleration and peaceful religious coexistence, (...) these scholars nevertheless have grave misgivings about the Enlightenment's spiritually thin secularism. The authors ultimately upend both the claim that the West's experience offers a ready-made template for the world to follow and the belief that the West's achievements are to be ignored, despised, or discarded. (shrink)
Recovering Reason: Essays in Honor of Thomas L. Pangle is a collection of essays composed by students and friends of Thomas L. Pangle to honor his seminal work and outstanding guidance in the study of political philosophy. These essays examine both Socrates' and modern political philosophers' attempts to answer the question of the right life for human beings, as those attempts are introduced and elaborated in the work of thinkers from Homer and Thucydides to Nietzsche and Charles Taylor.