Thinking about the first coming and how it relates to visions of a second coming is one of the most important ways for the Christian tradition to contribute to serious reflection on the structure of history, the significance of anticipation, and their importance for the structure of action. This paper draws on two texts, Flannery O’Connor’s novel, Wise Blood, and Thomas Sheehan’s historical and theological study, The First Coming, to lay a groundwork for such reflection. Rather than treating the texts (...) sequentially, this article intertwines them, following the structure of Sheehan’s book but illuminating it with O’Connor’s story. (shrink)
This paper takes Gandhi's satyagraha, which he defined as "holding on to truth" as a basis for a political philosophy of nonviolence that draws on voices familiar from twentieth century nonviolent struggles as well as sociobiology, literary criticism, and feminist approaches to sacrifice.
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 who both make them and live in them. (shrink)
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 , space , and persons . 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. (shrink)
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.
This paper begins with three observations: 1) At what is generally believed to be its origin in ancient Greece, “Western” philosophy is not sharply distinguished from poetry, science, or theology; 2) At what is generally believed to be its origin, “Western” philosophy is not Western; it is born in a multicultural matrix consisting of African, Asian, Middle Eastern, and Southern European influences; 3) As philosophy comes to think of itself as “Western,” it separates itself from poetry, science, and the rest (...) of the world-particularly from its roots in Northern Africa.In the first three sections, I examine each observation in turn. In the fourth section, I take up the implications of “Western” philosophy’s alienation from its roots for the contemporary controversy surrounding multiculturalism. If the roots of “Western” philosophy are multicultural, I propose a “radical” philosophy that reclaims them in our own multicultural context. More specifically, I propose to ask a question posed here in its most brutal form: does “Western” philosophy depend on the abandonment of its friends and the murder of the indigenous peoples it encounters? If yes, then it is necessary to ask whether “piety” demands that the West march on in any case. Colonialism and neocolonialism join Aeneas in answering both questions affirmatively. If no, then it is possible to proceed with the kind of radical reclamation suggested above. (shrink)
Taking up John of Salisbury’s dictum that we read ancient texts to improve our eyesight, this article returns to an “old” book for “new” insight into the perennial philosophical problem of visual perception. A careful reading of Berkeley’s essay on vision improves our eyesight in at least four ways: First, it reminds us that the most interesting aspects of visual perception are not “primary” but “derivative.” Second, it reminds us that our relationship with the world is an interactive process of (...) making connections and proposes some ways in which those connections and the process of making them might be brought to consciousness and subjected to critical examination. Third, it reminds us of the extent to which making connections is a linguistic process: we live in language as surely as we live in the world, and the processes by which we take our places in the world are forms of language. Fourth, it introduces a concept of “levels” and movement between them that is particularly important to computational models that may result in nonhuman analogues of human vision. (shrink)