God and the Other

God and the Other

Ethics and Politics after the Theological Turn
J. Aaron Simmons
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 04/12/2011
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 978-0-253-22284-8
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The theological turn in French phenomenology has been of great interest to scholars working in contemporary continental thought, but according to J. Aaron Simmons, not enough has been done to bring these debates into conversation with more mainstream philosophy. Building on the work of Kierkegaard, Levinas, Marion, and Derrida, among others, Simmons suggests how continental philosophy of religion can intersect with political philosophy, environmental philosophy, and theories of knowledge. By productively engaging philosophical "God-talk," Simmons proposes a robust model of postmodern religious belief and ethical existence.

Author Bio

J. Aaron Simmons is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Hendrix College. He is editor (with David Wood) of Kierkegaard and Levinas: Ethics, Politics, and Religion (IUP, 2008).


“Suggests how continental philosophy of religion can intersect with political philosophy, environmental philosophy, and theories of knowledge. ”

“J. Aaron Simmons has firm command not only of recent work on Levinas and Kierkegaard, but also of a wide range of alternatives in analytic philosophy of religion and political philosophy. More than an exercise in analytic-continental bridge building, Simmons moves continental ethics forward and makes it politically worthwhile.”
 — John Davenport, Fordham University

“Debates within so-called "continental philosophy" and "analytic philosophy" are far closer to each other than most on either "side" realize. By boldly crossing the continental/analytic divide, J. Aaron Simmons convincingly argues that engagement between the two is not only possible, but necessary. God and the Other is a significant step forward.”
 — Bruce Ellis Benson, Wheaton College

“Combines solid research with thoughtful consideration of the issues, and opens up genuinely creative and integrative thinking. . . . Informative, challenging, and provocative.”
 — Jeffrey Dudiak, Kings University College, Edmonton

“This first book by . . . a Furman University philosopher is a bold and impressive foray into the chasm that has distanced the analytic and continental traditions of philosophy over the last two generations. . . . God and the Other forcefully registers the emergence of Simmons as one of a number of new voices in philosophy of religion on the present horizon.”
 — Religious Studies Review

“We do not have many good examples of how continental and analytic philosopher can engage one another in a shared conversation . . . [Simmons] uses the analytic philosophers to state problems or to clarify options, and he then develops an analysis of the continental figures in order to show how the basic framework of the problem or puzzle needs to be revised or altered.”
 — Intnl Jrnl Philosophy of Religion

“This book convincingly argues from epistemological, ethical, ontological, and political angles that the theological turn of new phenomenology might inform contemporary ethics and politics—not despite its ‘God talk,’ but because of it . . . . The book is an invaluable resource for those sorting through the theological turn and for those who hear the call of the Other.”
 — Sophia

“This book is recommended not only to those with interests in new phenomenology but also to anyone interested in the ongoing debate and discussion on what relationship, if any, religion should have in the public sphere. ”
 — The Journal of Religion

“This book is an encouraging sign about new directions in Continental philosophy—and Continental philosophy of religion more specifically. . . . Recommended. ”
 — Choice

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Table of Contents

List of Abbreviations for Kierkegaard and Levinas Texts
Introduction: God... Again--Again... God
1. The Problem: Richard Rorty's Critique of Emmanuel Levinas--or, Why Continental Ethics and Philosophy of Religion Face Political Challenges
Part 1. A Question of Priority--Levinas and Kierkegaard
2. Hearing Divine Commands and Responding to the Call of the Other: A Reading of Kierkegaard's Fear and Trembling
3. Bi-directional Relationality: Levinasian Readings of the Akedah and the (Dynamic) Ethical in Kierkegaard
4. An Ontology of Constitutive Responsibility: Kierkegaardian "Transparency" and Levinasian "Exposure"
5. Levinasian Subjectivity and Political Critique
Part 2. Obligation and Transcendence in New Phenomenology
6. Mapping Twists and "Turns": An Introduction to the Current Debate and Suggestions for Moving Forward
7. Reconstructive Separatism: On Phenomenology and Theology
8. Is Continental Philosophy Just Catholicism for Atheists? Critique and Kenosis
Part 3. Intersections and Applications
9. The Religious: Maintaining the Paradox--Wittgenstein and Kierkegaard on Postmodern Christianity
10. The Political: Politics as an Ethico-religious Task--Reconsidering Religion in the Public Square
11. The Epistemological: Between Trust and Hope--Justification in a Deconstructive Democracy
12. The Ethical: Expansive Relationality--Levinas, Community, and Climate Change
13. The Ethico-Political: Following Postmodern Exemplars

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