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Transforming Philosophy and Religion


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Table of Contents

Introduction Norman Wirzba and Bruce Ellis Benson
Part 1. The Nature of the Quest
1. The Primacy of Love Norman Wirzba
2. The Economies of Knowledge and Love in Paul Bruce Ellis Benson
3. Love, This Lenient Interpreter: On the Complexity of a Life Edward Mooney
Part 2. Justice
4. A Love as Strong as Death: Ricoeur's Reading of the Song of Songs Mark Gedney
5. Paul Ricoeur and the Possibility of Just Love Christopher Watkin
6. Why There Is No Either/Or in Works of Love: A Kantian Defense of Kierkegaardian (Christian) Unconditional Love Bertha Alvarez Manninen
7. Living by Love: A Quasi-Apostolic carte postale on Love in Itself, If There Is Such a Thing John D. Caputo
Part 3. The Sacred
8. A Love that B(l)inds: Reflections on an Agapic Agnosticism B. Keith Putt
9. Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder Brian Treanor
10. Creation Ex Amore James Olthuis
11. Militant Love: Zizek and the Christian Legacy Tyler Roberts
12. Love as a Declaration of War? On the Absolute Character of Love in Jean-Luc Marion's Phenomenology of Eros Christina M. Gschwandtner
Part 4. Rethinking Humanity
13. Liberating Love's Capabilities: On the Wisdom of Love Pamela Sue Anderson
14. The Genesis of Love: An Irigarayan Reading Ruthanne S. Pierson Crapo
15. You'd Better Find Somebody to Love: Toward a Kierkegaardian Bioethic Amy Laura Hall
List of Contributors

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Actively engages love in the practice of philosophy

About the Author

Norman Wirzba is Professor of Philosophy and Chair of the Philosophy Department at Georgetown College. He is author of The Paradise of God: Renewing Religion in an Ecological Age and editor (with Bruce Ellis Benson) of The Phenomenology of Prayer.Bruce Ellis Benson is Associate Professor and Chair of the Philosophy Department at Wheaton College. He is author of Pious Nietzsche (IUP, 2007). He is editor (with Kevin Vanhoozer and James K. A. Smith) of Hermeneutics at the Crossroads (IUP, 2006).


Wirzba and Benson's astonishingly rich, scholarly compilation of essays from professors of philosophy and religion/religious studies brings a novel approach to the intersection of Christianity and Western philosophy. Rather than being a philosophy about love, this book shows that love provides the essential framework through which philosophy and theology both operate and manifest. If philosophy has as its goal an active understanding alongside of the world, then Christian agape love, understood as a deep concern for the Other as neighbor, is a necessary precondition. As John Caputo states: "... love is what being-commanded-by-the-law is all about." James Olthuis's compelling essay suggests that the Creation be understood not as an out-of-chaos ex nihilo creation, but instead as a seduc! tive, ebullient creation ex amore (cum amore et ad amorem). Amy Laura Hall argues that love needs to be the process by which one approaches bioethics; by being able to manipulate genetics, is one changing the definition of humanity? Contributors wrestle respectfully with Kierkegaard, St. Paul, Levinas, and Derrida from diverse vantage points, but the primacy of love as the source for wisdom (and not another instance of dry subject matter) is never lost. This collection is both beautiful and exciting in its scope, content, and direction. Summing Up: Essential. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty. S. J. Shaw, Prairie View A&M University, Choice, January 2009

"This collection is both beautiful and exciting in its scope, content, and direction. Summing Up: Essential." -Choice, January 2009

"The strength of this collection of essays, all sharing in their continental-philosophical bent, lies mainly in its extreme relevance and its apparent 'call to action' for thinkers of philosophical and religious thought." -Louvain Studies

"... these essays in Transforming Philosophy and Religion offer a resounding affirmation of St. Paul's proclamations about the emptiness of knowledge without love (I Corinthians 13). Given its contributors (esp. Caputo and Wirzba) and the topics that they engage (e.g., Paul, Zizek, etc.), it will be of particular interest to the aspiring theologians of the emerging church." -Chris Smith, Editor, The Englewood Review of Books (Indy), Dec. 5, 2008

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