Is There a Sabbath for Thought?: Between Religion and Philosophy

Is There a Sabbath for Thought?: Between Religion and Philosophy

John D. Caputo series editor
Copyright Date: 2005
Published by: Fordham University Press
Pages: 380
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    Is There a Sabbath for Thought?: Between Religion and Philosophy
    Book Description:

    Seeking to renew an ancient companionship between the philosophical andthe religious, this book's meditative chapters dwell on certain elementalexperiences or happenings that keep the soul alive to the enigma of the divine.William Desmond engages the philosophical work of Pascal, Kant, Hegel,Nietzsche, Shestov, and Soloviev, among others, and pursues with a philosophicalmindfulness what is most intimate in us, yet most universal: sleep, poverty,imagination, courage and witness, reverence, hatred and love, peace and war.Being religious has to do with that intimate universal, beyond arbitrarysubjectivism and reductionist objectivism.In this book, he attempts to look at religion with a fresh and open mind,asking how philosophy might itself stand up to some of the questions posed toit by religion, not just how religion might stand up to the questions posed to it byphilosophy. Desmond tries to pursue a new and different policy, one faithfulto the light of this dialogue.

    eISBN: 978-0-8232-4803-2
    Subjects: Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-viii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-x)
  3. Preface and Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-xii)
  4. By Way of Introduction: The Intimate Universal—Between Religion and Philosophy
    (pp. 1-32)

    How speak of the space between religion and philosophy, how speak in that space? What are some of the questions, disconcertments, disquiets occasioned by that space between? What release or confinement—of thought itself, of reverence—is possible there? What enabling or endowing there? What provocation of one by the other? What agon between religion and philosophy, and what affinity or bond? What sleep and peace there, what poverty, or courage or enmity there? Is there a Sabbath for thought there?

    These are some of the perplexities addressed in this book. They ask for thorough consideration, and they might be...

  5. 1 The Sleep of Finitude: On the Unease of Philosophy and Religion
    (pp. 33-72)

    Shortly before his death, Ludwig Heyde publishedThe Measure of the Human(De Maat van de Mens), and the following reflections are occasioned by a memorial dialogue with his concerns.¹ Heyde’s book deeply engages the finitude of our condition, but it is marked by a philosophical courage to think laterally to the currents of thought, seemingly inexorable, that flow from the claims of modernity, and now postmodernity, to embrace finitude and nothing but finitude. Most notably, the book refuses to be silent about religion and the affiliation and unease between it and philosophy. In this regard,The Measure of the...

  6. 2 Between Finitude and Infinity: Hegelian Reason and the Pascalian Heart
    (pp. 73-104)

    Pascal is a religious-philosophical thinker of finitude, though not at all marked by any postulatory finitism. A hyperbolic sleeplessness visits our finitude, and then we wonder if we can ever be at home with finitude. In Hegel, the speculative philosopher, there is a kind of sleeplessness of finitude but this is said to awaken us to a sublationary infinitude that includes finitude as a moment of the totality’s own self-mediation, and then we wonder if we have fallen asleep to finitude. Finitude and infinity, and the relation between them, take on significantly different characters if our response to the exceeding...

  7. 3 Religion and the Poverty of Philosophy
    (pp. 105-133)

    Often we come across references to the richness of religion, relative to which the more analytical and conceptual approaches of philosophy appear to be impoverished. This is one sense of the poverty of philosophy. There is some truth to this view, but it is not rich enough a view, and indeed not rich enough in its view of philosophical poverty. Interestingly enough, poverty and richness are notions that here easily convert into each other. I mean that the richness of religion is not separable from its sense of its own poverty. I mean also the hesitation of religion, no matter...

  8. 4 Religious Imagination and the Counterfeit Doubles of God
    (pp. 134-166)

    Imagination has often been treated with a double attitude: on one hand, the source of error; on the other, a source of higher truth. The first attitude we find endemic in the Western tradition, not least among philosophers whose rationalistic bent has made them deeply suspicious of imagination. The second we find more and more to the fore in modernity, when the new epistemological credibility of imagination was raised to unprecedented levels with the Romantic turn in European culture, itself influenced in important respects by the understanding of imagination we find in Kant’s transcendental philosophy. In some ways, the affirmative...

  9. 5 God Beyond the Whole: Between Solov’ëv and Shestov
    (pp. 167-199)

    The idea of the whole has immensely influenced the thinking of God in the wake of German idealism. This is not unconnected with the claim that we live in a “post-theistic” time, and that if we are to have a God, it should take some pan(en)theistic form. Yet there are fundamental ambiguities attached to the idea of the whole, especially in relation to God. I want to explore some of these philosophical and religious ambiguities, with the aid of Vladimir Solov’ëv and Lev Shestov. Solov’ëv (1853–1900) is considered by many to be the greatest of Russian philosophers to seek...

  10. 6 Caesar with the Soul of Christ: Nietzsche’s Highest Impossibility
    (pp. 200-237)

    Nietzsche has been a companion to my thinking as long as I have tried to reflect philosophically. I read him as a teenager when I first became aware of philosophy and he has come and gone as a companion for over thirty years. It is hard to speak of someone so close—and yet, for me Nietzsche is and was finally distant and alien. If one takes him seriously, it is hard not either to love him or hate him—or perhaps both. Indifference is hardly an option. I record rather a double response: fascination, and yet resistance. How few...

  11. 7 The Secret Sources of Strengthening: On Courage
    (pp. 238-261)

    Courage is something we take for granted as understood, something recognized and recognizable in everyday life. Clearly courage is also ethically important, and one might wonder what significance it has for both philosophy and religion. Yet once one tries to say quite what it is, one finds oneself quickly in the middle of perplexity. The perplexity less bewilders one as makes one wonder what isthereat all to be understood. A person shows courage, but what isbeing shown, and what are its sources? It seems to elude one the moment one tries to make determinate what just a...

  12. 8 On the Betrayals of Reverence
    (pp. 262-288)

    There are many models for the interrelations of religion, philosophy, and science: separation, complementarity, reconciliation, nonchalant indifference, and so on. I turn away from these models to turn back. I turn away from the enchantments of determinacy—its fixation on fixity, its will to secure. Here fixed philosophy, there religion fixed, there again science fixed; and then we see them stand as determinate, and now we set to and ask how we are to relate or mediate or reconcile or divorce or settle them in comfortable collusion or apartheid, and on and on. We become marriage counselors or police officers...

  13. 9 Enemies: On Hatred
    (pp. 289-311)

    Love and friendship are of great significance for both religion and philosophy, and we might say the same for enmity and hatred. As I hope here to indicate, philosophical reflection can bring us to a boundary where something of the religious significance of enmity becomes more intelligible. While much has been written on love and friendship—and I have written myself on eros, agape, and, more recently, philia¹—much less has been written on enemies or enmity. Some thinkers have written on war, some on the need of an enemy, such as Nietzsche and Carl Schmitt. But to my knowledge...

  14. 10 Is There a Sabbath for Thought? On Peace—Between Philosophy and Religion
    (pp. 312-356)

    In the Bible the Sabbath is the day of rest reserved for God, a day calling human beings to unreserved rest, recalling humans to what is, and is to be, their first love, their being bound up with, bound by, God. The day also recalls human beings to the first commandment, which tells us that God is God, God alone is God, and nothing but God is God. The Sabbath is the day when we are to be most free of idols, that is to say, counterfeit doubles of God. The other days, one might say, are days when the...

  15. Index
    (pp. 357-362)
  16. Back Matter
    (pp. 363-365)