Anatheism: Returning to God After God

Anatheism: Returning to God After God

by Richard Kearney
     
 

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Has the passing of the old God paved the way for a new kind of religious project, a more responsible way to seek, sound, and love the things we call divine? Has the suspension of dogmatic certainties and presumptions opened a space in which we can encounter religious wonder anew? Situated at the split between theism and atheism, we now have the opportunity to

Overview

Has the passing of the old God paved the way for a new kind of religious project, a more responsible way to seek, sound, and love the things we call divine? Has the suspension of dogmatic certainties and presumptions opened a space in which we can encounter religious wonder anew? Situated at the split between theism and atheism, we now have the opportunity to respond in deeper, freer ways to things we cannot fathom or prove.

Distinguished philosopher Richard Kearney calls this condition ana-theos, or God after God-a moment of creative "not knowing" that signifies a break with former sureties and invites us to forge new meanings from the most ancient of wisdoms. Anatheism refers to an inaugural event that lies at the heart of every great religion, a wager between hospitality and hostility to the stranger, the other& mdash;the sense of something "more." By analyzing the roots of our own anatheistic moment, Kearney shows not only how a return to God is possible for those who seek it but also how a more liberating faith can be born.

Kearney begins by locating a turn toward sacred secularity in contemporary philosophy, focusing on Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Paul Ricoeur. He then marks "epiphanies" in the modernist masterpieces of James Joyce, Marcel Proust, and Virginia Woolf. Kearney concludes with a discussion of the role of theism and atheism in conflict and peace, confronting the distinction between sacramental and sacrificial belief or the God who gives life and the God who takes it away. Accepting that we can never be sure about God, he argues, is the only way to rediscover a hidden holiness in life and to reclaim an everyday divinity.

Editorial Reviews

Page-Turner blog, The New Yorker - James Wood
A heartfelt, pragmatic, and eminently realistic argument about how one might continue to think about—and even dedicate one's life to—God after the 'death' or 'disappearance' of God over the last hundred years or so.

The New Yorker
A heartfelt, pragmatic, and eminently realistic argument about how one might continue to think about—and even dedicate one's life to—God after the 'death' or 'disappearance' of God over the last hundred years or so.... Richard Kearney wants to see what is left of God, in the time after God, and he does so superbly well.

Symposium
provides a thought-provoking exchange between the religious and contemporary continental philosophy.

— Robert W.M. Kennedy

Religious Studies Review
As always, Kearney's work is poetic and thoughtful.

— Forrest Clingerman

Ephemerides Theologicae Lovanienses
This book is the outcome of a rich philosophical journey... I highly recommend this book to readers who wish to move beyond well-trodden paths in the debate between theism and atheism.

— M. Moyaert

From the Publisher
I enjoyed Kearney's book tremendously, especially the ana-theme: the distinction between going on believing as before or believing again. This is a profound distinction for our age. The possibilities opened up by the 'ana' offer a large palette of expanding choices combining and recombining new and old positions of belief and non-belief.

Numerous dogmatic believers possess the consummate art of rendering God utterly insupportable to any free spirit... while certain atheists can be so obtuse in their scientific utilitarianism that one feels like converting at the nearest altar. It is to avoid these extremes that the Irish philosopher, Richard Kearney, has written this remarkable hermeneutics of faith.... One must salute this thought-provoking book written with rare honesty and openness of mind.

I find the notion of ana-theism extremely pertinent as a way of witnessing to the death of the death of God (a double privative) while opening a third way: a path beyond both theism and atheism, beyond metaphysics and religion, which returns to the possibility of the divine event as such.

Symposium - Robert W.M. Kennedy
provides a thought-provoking exchange between the religious and contemporary continental philosophy.

Religious Studies Review - Forrest Clingerman
As always, Kearney's work is poetic and thoughtful.

Ephemerides Theologicae Lovanienses - M. Moyaert
This book is the outcome of a rich philosophical journey... I highly recommend this book to readers who wish to move beyond well-trodden paths in the debate between theism and atheism.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780231519861
Publisher:
Columbia University Press
Publication date:
11/01/2009
Series:
Insurrections: Critical Studies in Religion, Politics, and Culture
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
272
File size:
2 MB

Meet the Author

Richard Kearney holds the Charles H. Seelig Chair of Philosophy at Boston College and is visiting professor at University College Dublin. The author of two novels and a volume of poetry, his most recent philosophical works include the trilogy Philosophy at the Limits: Strangers, Gods, and Monsters: Ideas of Otherness, The God Who May Be: A Hermeneutics of Religion, and On Stories (Thinking in Action).

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