This book analyzes the ideas central to the philosophy of Kant, Hegel, and Kierkegaard to show that they are biblical in origin, both ontologically and historically. Polka argues that Schopenhauer has an altogether false conception of the fundamental ideas of the Bible and of Christianity, which leaves his philosophy irredeemably contradictory.
In this paper it is argued that, while the case that Antony Flew makes against philosophically invalid arguments for the existence of God is generally sound, he fails to comprehend the power and cogency of the ontological argument. Thus, his conception of the grounds of morality, separate from the biblical tradition of theology, is by no means compelling. This paper aims to show that the rational concept of morality that Flew rightly claims to uphold is not only consistent with but (...) also presupposes, paradoxically, the ontological argument for the existence of God. Central ideas of Kant and, above all, of Spinoza are called upon to show that the nexus between morality and theology, between philosophy and God, is that central to the ontological argument. The conclusion of the paper is that, just as philosophy without God is empty, so God without philosophy is blind. (shrink)
In Between Philosophy and Religion Volumes I and II, Brayton Polka examines Spinoza's three major works—on religion, politics, and ethics—in order to show that his thought is at once biblical and modern. This book and its companion volume will be essential reading for any scholar of Spinoza.
I argue in my paper that, when the ?twofold standpoint,? in terms of which Kant undertakes to set metaphysics upon the revolutionary path of critical reason, is truly assessed, we discover that the fundamental distinction that he makes between subject and object, between thinking (together with desiring and willing) and knowing, between thinking the thing in itself and knowing objects of possible experience, or between freedom and nature, recapitulates the ontological argument demonstrating the necessary relationship between thought and existence.
In my essay I argue that the critical distinction that Spinoza makes between two concepts of desire, as also between two concepts of the good, captures the distinction that Tertullian makes in posing the question: What does Athens have to do with Jerusalem? In identifying the good with desire—desire with the good—and in denying that desire is dependent on the good in itself, Spinoza shows us that philosophy, as ethics, belongs to Jerusalem, to the Bible, and not to Athens. We (...) see, then, that the distinction between Athens and Jerusalem is not the distinction between philosophy and the Bible, between reason and faith, between the secular and the religious. (shrink)
In Part 2 of my study I focus on Works of Love of Kierkegaard in analyzing his concept of the single individual in light of what I call the hermeneutics of the relationship of the religious and the secular. I continue to emphasize that the hermeneutical distinction that Kierkegaard critically makes between Christianity and Christendom is the distinction, not between the religious and the secular but between, rather, a true understanding of the relationship of the religious and the secular, on (...) the one hand, and an idolatrous conception of that relationship, on the other. (shrink)
In my paper, I undertake to show that the God of the Bible is the subject of modern philosophy, i.e., that philosophy is biblical and that the Bible is philosophical. Central to the argument of my paper is an analysis of the fundamental difference between the philosophy of Aristotle, as based on the law of contradiction and thus on the contradictory opposition between necessity and existence, and the philosophy of, in particular, Spinoza and Kant, as based on the transcendental logic (...) of the necessary relationship of thought and existence. Thus, I argue that the ontological argument demonstrates the necessary existence of the thinking subject and of the subject thought, at once human and divine. In short, metaphysics is practical reason, the practice of doing unto others what you want others to do unto you, and reason is metaphysical practice, the practice of proving that there is one thing that you, a subject, cannot think without it necessarily existing, and that is the other subject. (shrink)
This study argues that Shakespeare's aim in Coriolanus is twofold: (1) to depict the ancient world of Rome as dominated by contradiction; and (2) to signal to us moderns, in the biblical tradition, that we can comprehend or, in other words, interpret the contradictory world of the ancients solely on the basis of a paradoxical world elsewhere, beyond contradiction. Shakespeare thus shows us how important it is to distinguish between the contradictory values of antiquity, from which the Romans (like the (...) Greeks) know no exit, and the paradoxical values of modernity, whose interpretive basis, the love of neighbor—interpret others as you would have others interpret you—provides us moderns with a world of otherness (Augustine's City of God) by which we can overcome the earthly contradictions dividing us. (shrink)
The critical issue that I examine in my study, which is divided into two parts, is how we are to interpret, within what Kierkegaard regards as “the present age,” his concept of the single individual when viewed in light of the hermeneutical distinction that he makes between Christianity and Christendom. Since the distinction between Christianity and Christendom is not one between the religious and the secular or between faith and reason but one between what he calls indirect communication and direct (...) communication, we find that the single individual of the present age of modernity is at once religious and secular. (shrink)