Earthly Paradise: Myths and Philosophies

Overview

Paradise haunts the Biblical West. At once the place of origin and exile, utopia and final destination, it has shaped our poetic and religious imagination and informed literary and theological accounts of man’s relation with his creator, with language and history. For Kant, Paradise was the inaugural moment for the rise and progress of reason as the agency of human history, slowly but certainly driving humanity away from error and superstition. Nietzsche described it more somberly as the very embodiment of the ...

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Overview

Paradise haunts the Biblical West. At once the place of origin and exile, utopia and final destination, it has shaped our poetic and religious imagination and informed literary and theological accounts of man’s relation with his creator, with language and history. For Kant, Paradise was the inaugural moment for the rise and progress of reason as the agency of human history, slowly but certainly driving humanity away from error and superstition. Nietzsche described it more somberly as the very embodiment of the conflict between humanity and its beliefs.

In Earthly Paradise, Milad Doueihi contemplates key moments in the philosophical reception and uses of Paradise, marked by the rise of critical and historical methods in the Early Modern period. How do modern debates around the nature of evil, free will, and the origin of language grow out of the philosophical interpretations of Paradise as the site of human history? How do the reflections of Spinoza, Pierre Bayle, Leibniz, and their contemporaries inform our current ideas about the Biblical narrative of the Fall? Is Paradise the source of human error or an utopian vision of humanity itself?

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Editorial Reviews

Art Press

Milad Doueihi's beautiful book does not seek to lift the mystery over earthly paradise. He shows, with select erudition, how this history prior to history informs the foundations of modernity. This modernity, while it is inaugurated with a contestation of the authority of the Bible, inherits and depends upon the same Biblical categories it seeks to undermine.
— Fabrice Hadjaj

La quinzaine littéraire
Milad Doueihi's essay shows that a theological and erudite past can rejoin, through singular ways reconstructed here, some of the essential interrogations of our present. Although our sense of modernity may suffer from it, there are living cultural units that only mastered erudition, and the subtlety of analysis, allow us to reconstruct in their slow but certain elaboration.
— Jean Marie Goulemot
La quinzaine litteraire

Milad Doueihi's essay shows that a theological and erudite past can rejoin, through singular ways reconstructed here, some of the essential interrogations of our present. Although our sense of modernity may suffer from it, there are living cultural units that only mastered erudition, and the subtlety of analysis, allow us to reconstruct in their slow but certain elaboration.
— Jean Marie Goulemot

Gordon Teskey
Anyone who wants to understand the ethical turn in modern philosophy, or the intellectual roots of the Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms, needs to read Doueihi's account of the philosophical conditions under which our ideas of paradise developed and were at last overthrown. In this lucid study, beautifully translated by Jane Marie Todd, Milad Doueihi, argues that while the earthly paradise belongs to myth, it is a myth around which our most vital thinking continually turns.
Art Press - Fabrice Hadjaj
Milad Doueihi's beautiful book does not seek to lift the mystery over earthly paradise. He shows, with select erudition, how this history prior to history informs the foundations of modernity. This modernity, while it is inaugurated with a contestation of the authority of the Bible, inherits and depends upon the same Biblical categories it seeks to undermine.
La quinzaine littéraire - Jean Marie Goulemot
Milad Doueihi's essay shows that a theological and erudite past can rejoin, through singular ways reconstructed here, some of the essential interrogations of our present. Although our sense of modernity may suffer from it, there are living cultural units that only mastered erudition, and the subtlety of analysis, allow us to reconstruct in their slow but certain elaboration.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674032859
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 6/30/2009
  • Pages: 192
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Milad Doueihi holds the Chair of Research on Digital Cultures, Laval University.
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Table of Contents

  • Contents

  • Acknowledgments
  • Preface

  1. A Few Adamic Difficulties
  2. Burlesque Diversions and Serious Amusements
  3. The Return of the Manichaeans
  4. Paradise between Politics and Freedom
  5. Philosopher without Paradise
  6. Paradise of Reason
  7. God’s Hell

  • By Way of Conclusion
  • Notes
  • Authors Cited
  • Index

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