Monotheism and Tolerance

Monotheism and Tolerance

Recovering a Religion of Reason
Robert Erlewine
Distribution: World
Publication date: 01/11/2010
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 978-0-253-22156-8
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Why are religious tolerance and pluralism so difficult to achieve? Why is the often violent fundamentalist backlash against them so potent? Robert Erlewine looks to a new religion of reason for answers to these questions. Drawing on Enlightenment writers Moses Mendelssohn, Immanuel Kant, and Hermann Cohen, who placed Christianity and Judaism in tension with tolerance and pluralism, Erlewine finds a way to break the impasse, soften hostilities, and establish equal relationships with the Other. Erlewine’s recovery of a religion of reason stands in contrast both to secularist critics of religion who reject religion for the sake of reason and to contemporary religious conservatives who eschew reason for the sake of religion. Monotheism and Tolerance suggests a way to deal with the intractable problem of religiously motivated and justified violence.

Author Bio

Robert Erlewine is Assistant Professor in the Department of Religious Studies at Illinois Wesleyan University.


“An important corrective to recent discussions of the relation between monotheism and tolerance.”
 — Leora Batnitzky, Princeton University

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Table of Contents



Part 1. Overcoming the Current Crisis
1. Monotheism, Tolerance, and Pluralism: The Current Impasse
2. Learning from the Past: Introducing the Thinkers of the Religion of Reason

Part 2. Mendelssohn: Idolatry and Indiscernability
3. Mendelssohn and the Repudiation of Divine Tyranny
4. Monotheism and the Indiscernible Other

Part 3. Kant: Religious Tolerance
5. Radical Evil and the Mire of Unsocial Sociability
6. Kant and the Religion of Tolerance

Part 4. Cohen: Ethical Intolerance
7. Cohen and the Monotheism of Correlation
8. Cohen, Rational Supererogation, and the Suffering Servant

Conclusion: Revelation, Reason, and the Legacy of the Enlightenment

Works Cited

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