Encountering Religion: Responsibility and Criticism After Secularism

Encountering Religion: Responsibility and Criticism After Secularism

by Tyler Roberts

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Tyler Roberts encourages scholars to abandon rigid conceptual oppositions between "secular" and "religious" to better understand how human beings actively and thoughtfully engage with their worlds and make meaning. The artificial distinction between a self-conscious and critical "academic study of religion" and an ideological and authoritarian "religion," he argues, only obscures the phenomenon. Instead, Roberts calls on intellectuals to approach the field as a site of "encounter" and "response," illuminating the agency, creativity, and critical awareness of religious actors.

To respond to religion is to ask what religious behaviors and representations mean to us in our individual worlds, and scholars must confront questions of possibility and becoming that arise from testing their beliefs, imperatives, and practices. Roberts refers to the work of Hent de Vries, Eric Santner, and Stanley Cavell, each of whom exemplifies encounter and response in their writings as they traverse philosophy and religion to expose secular thinking to religious thought and practice. This approach highlights the resources religious discourse can offer to a fundamental reorientation of critical thought. In humanistic criticism after secularism, the lines separating the creative, the pious, and the critical themselves become the subject of question and experimentation.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780231535496
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Publication date: 09/17/2013
Series: Insurrections: Critical Studies in Religion, Politics, and Culture
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 320
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Tyler Roberts is professor of religious studies at Grinnell College. He received his B.A. from Brown University and his M.T.S. and Th.D. from Harvard University. He is the author of Contesting Spirit: Nietzsche, Affirmation, Religion and has published essays on Jacques Derrida, Slavoj Žižek, and J. Z. Smith.

Table of Contents

Part I. Locating Religion
1. Religion and Incongruity
2. Placing Religion
Part II. Encountering Religion
3. Encountering the Human
4. Encountering Theology
Part III. Religion
5. Religion and Responsibility
6. On Psychotheology
7. Criticism as Conduct of Gratitude

What People are Saying About This

Kevin Schilbrack

Tyler Roberts is not the only one who argues that constructive or normative thinking is a legitimate or even a necessary part of the study of religion, but Encountering Religion is the strongest and most eloquent critique of those who would exclude it. This book makes a richly informed case for the humanistic cultural criticism of religions.

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