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Religion and the Hermeneutics of Contemplation

Religion and the Hermeneutics of Contemplation


  • Date Published: July 2001
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521008464

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About the Authors
  • Leading philosopher of religion D. Z. Phillips argues that intellectuals need not see their task as being for or against religion, but as one of understanding it. What stands in the way of this task are certain methodological assumptions about what enquiry into religion must be. Beginning with Bernard Williams on Greek gods, Phillips goes on to examine these assumptions in the work of Hume, Feuerbach, Marx, Frazer, Tylor, Marett, Freud, Durkheim, Lévy-Bruhl, Berger and Winch. The result exposes confusion, but also gives logical space to religious belief without advocating personal acceptance of that belief, and shows how the academic study of religion may return to the contemplative task of doing conceptual justice to the world. Religion and the Hermeneutics of Contemplation extends in important ways D. Z. Phillips' seminal 1976 book Religion without Explanation. It will be of interest to scholars and students of philosophy, anthropology, sociology and theology.

    • An examination of the conceptual assumptions of atheistic thought
    • Probes the assumptions of leading thinkers including Frazer, Feuerbach, Marx, Freud and Durkheim
    • Extending D. Z. Phillips' earlier work, this book makes an important new contribution to the philosophy of religion and related disciplines
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    Reviews & endorsements

    '… there is no doubt that he has produced an extremely important corrective to long-standing and persisting misunderstandings in the study of religion. As such, it is a book that deserves to be widely read.' Theology

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    Product details

    • Date Published: July 2001
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521008464
    • length: 346 pages
    • dimensions: 228 x 153 x 21 mm
    • weight: 0.555kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Hermeneutics and the philosophical future of religious studies
    2. Bernard Williams on the gods and us
    3. Hume's legacy
    4. Feuerbach: religion's secret
    5. Marx and Engels: religion, alienation and compensation
    6. Tylor and Frazer: are religious beliefs mistaken hypotheses?
    7. Marett: primitive reactions
    8. Freud: the battle for 'earliest' things
    9. Durkheim: religion as a social construct
    10. Lévy-Bruhl: primitive logic
    11. Berger: the avoidance of discourse
    12. Which: trying to understand
    13. Understanding: a philosophical vocation.

  • Author

    D. Z. Phillips, University of Wales, Swansea

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