Philosophy and the Turn to Religion

JHU Press, 23 juil. 1999 - 475 pages

Originally published in 1999. If religion once seemed to have played out its role in the intellectual and political history of Western secular modernity, it has now returned with a vengeance. In this engaging study, Hent de Vries argues that a turn to religion discernible in recent philosophy anticipates and accompanies this development in the contemporary world. Though the book reaches back to Immanuel Kant, Martin Heidegger, and earlier, it takes its inspiration from the tradition of French phenomenology, notably Emmanuel Levinas, Jean-Luc Marion, and, especially, Jacques Derrida. Tracing how Derrida probes the discourse on religion, its metaphysical presuppositions, and its transformations, de Vries shows how this author consistently foregrounds the unexpected alliances between a radical interrogation of the history of Western philosophy and the religious inheritance from which that philosophy has increasingly sought to set itself apart.

De Vries goes beyond formal analogies between the textual practices of deconstruction and so-called negative theology to address the necessity for a philosophical thinking that situates itself at once close to and at the farthest remove from traditional manifestations of the religious and the theological. This paradox is captured in the phrase adieu (à dieu), borrowed from Levinas, which signals at once a turn toward and a leave-taking from God—and which also gestures toward and departs from the other of this divine other, the possibility of radical evil. Only by confronting such uncanny and difficult figures, de Vries claims, can one begin to think and act upon the ethical and political imperatives of our day.


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Table des matières

Introduction i
Thearchy and Beyond 115 The Movement
Formal Indications
The Generous Repetition
Death of the Other 265The Aporetic as Such 271Heideggers
The Kenosis of Discourse
Revealing Revelations Once More 325 The Confessional
Apocalyptics and Enlightenment
Revelation of John and the Ends of Philosophy 386 Speech Tact
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À propos de l'auteur (1999)

Hent de Vries is Paulette Goddard Professor of the Humanities. He is Professor of German, Religious Studies, Comparative Literature, and Affiliated Professor of Philosophy. He received his BA/MA in Judaica and Hellenistic Thought (Theology), Public Finance and Political Economy (Law), at Leiden University, and obtained his PhD there in Philosophy of Religion, with a study on Theodor W. Adorno and Emmanuel Levinas, Jürgen Habermas and Jacques Derrida, entitled Theologie im pianissimo: Zwischen Rationalität und Dekonstruktion. Before joining NYU, de Vries directed The Humanities Center at Johns Hopkins University, holding the Russ Family Chair in the Humanities with a joint appointment in Philosophy. He also taught in the Philosophy departments of Loyola University in Chicago and the University of Amsterdam, where he long held the Chair of Metaphysics and its History and co-founded and directed the Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis. He received visiting positions and fellowships at Harvard, Chicago, Princeton, Brown, Columbia, the Paris Collège International de Philosophie, the Université Saint Louis in Brussels, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and the Université de Paris, Panthéon-Sorbonne. Hent de Vries is currently serving his second term as Director of the summer School of Criticism and Theory at Cornell University (SCT), Ithaca. In 2018, he was the Titulaire of the Chaire de Métaphysique Étienne Gilson at the Institut Catholique, Paris. He is the Editor of the book series "Cultural Memory in the Present," published by Stanford University Press.

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