Stanley Cavell, Religion, and Continental Philosophy

Stanley Cavell, Religion, and Continental Philosophy

Espen Dahl
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 05/05/2014
Format: Hardback
ISBN: 978-0-253-01202-9
Bookmark and Share

Other formats available:

Buy from Amazon


The American philosopher Stanley Cavell (b. 1926) is a secular Jew who by his own admission is obsessed with Christ, yet his outlook on religion in general is ambiguous. Probing the secular and the sacred in Cavell’s thought, Espen Dahl explains that Cavell, while often parting ways with Christianity, cannot dismiss it either. Focusing on Cavell's work as a whole, but especially on his recent engagement with Continental philosophy, Dahl brings out important themes in Cavell’s philosophy and his conversation with theology.

Author Bio

Espen Dahl is Associate Professor of Systematic Theology at the UiT The Arctic University of Norway. He is author of Phenomenology and the Holy: Religious Experience after Husserl and In Between: The Holy Beyond Modern Dichotomies.


“First-rate and never so technically exposed as to impede readers new to Cavell, or to his reluctance to theology or continental philosophy. I can't imagine a better introduction to the interweaving themes and topics.”
 — Edward Mooney, Syracuse University

“In making such a convincing case for claiming that religion is Stanley Cavell’s pervasive, hence invisible, business, Espen Dahl also puts Cavell’s writings into sustained and productive dialogue with the work of Levinas and Girard in ways other commentators have not previously managed.”
 — Stephen Mulhall, Oxford University

“It is undoubtedly tricky business writing a book about Stanley Cavell and any book enterprising enough to bring him into conversation with Christian theology should be additionally commended, especially one as likable as Espen Dahl’s Stanley Cavell, Religion, and Continental Philosophy.”
 — Modern Theology

“Dahl has a comprehensive grasp on Cavell's thought, is clearly a gifted theologian, and manages to place Cavell in conversation with continental thought as productively as anyone before him. Moreover, he does so in prose that is a model of clarity and brevity.”
 — Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

“Although short, Espen Dahl has written a book that truly delivers on its title: it clearly, concisely, and powerfully shows Cavell’s frequent and deep links to and engagements with religion and religious themes and with (so-called) Continental philosophy. While both of these strands have been explored piecemeal by scholars, Dahl’s innovation consists in the detail with which he can engage these themes and the position he is able to carve out. . . . Dahl has also written a highly accessible book on Cavell, and yet one which in no way 'waters down' or dilutes Cavell’s thinking. There ought to be more books of this kind on Cavell.”
 — Intl Journal for the Philosophy of Religion

Customer Reviews

There are currently no reviews
Write a review on this title.

Table of Contents

List of Abbreviations
1. Modernism and Religion
2. The Ordinary Sublime
3. Acknowledging God
4. Skepticism, Finitude, and Sin
5. The Tragic Dimension of the Ordinary
6. The Other and Violence
7. Forgiveness and Passivity
Conclusion: The Last Question: Self-redemption or Divine Redemption?

Related Titles