What place do imagination and art have in Christian existence? This paper examines this question through the writings of Kierkegaard's pseudonym Anti‐Climacus: The Sickness Unto Death and Practice in Christianity. I focus on the latter work in particular because it best illustrates the importance of imagination in following after (Efterfølgelse) Christ in imitation, which Anti‐Climacus presents as the proper task of faithful Christian existence. After outlining both his critique and his affirmation of the imagination, I then consider what role the (...) notion of ‘Christian art’ might play in his account of the imitation of Christ. Anti‐Climacus gives a severe critique of Christian art, insofar as it disposes the viewer to detached observation and admiration – rather than imitation – of Christ. However, an earlier passage in the same text gives a provocative yet cryptic indication of the sort of art that would not succumb to this danger. Taking a cue from the phenomenology of Jean‐Luc Marion, I draw out this suggestion and argue for the important role that visual art can play in imitating Christ. The final section illustrates this point briefly with three paintings: Matthias Grünewald's Crucifixion, Hans Holbein's The Body of the Dead Christ in the Tomb, and Albrecht Dürer's Self‐Portrait (1500). (shrink)
In this important new book, Brian Gregor gives a comprehensive account of Paul Ricoeur’s philosophy of religion, which focuses on the regeneration of human capability. Gregor documents the thinkers, movements, and themes that shaped Ricoeur’s thought and gives a critical examination of Ricoeur’s philosophical interpretation of religion.
This paper examines Heidegger’s account of the proper relation between philosophy and theology, and Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s critique thereof. Part I outlines Heidegger’s proposal for this relationship in his lecture “Phenomenology and Theology,” where he suggests that philosophy might aid theology by means of ‘formal indication.’ In that context Heidegger never articulates what formal indication is, so Part II exposits this obscure notion by looking at its treatment in Heidegger’s early lecture courses, as well as its roots in Husserl. Part III (...) presents Bonhoeffer’s theological response, which challenges Heidegger’s attempt to maintain a neutral ontology that remains unaffected by both sin and faith. (shrink)
This essay examines what the philosophy of Paul Ricoeur can contribute to current debates on the role of spiritual exercise, or askēsis, in philosophical life. The influential work of Pierre Hadot and Michel Foucault has sparked a widespread interest in the ancient model of philosophy, variously described as a way of life, art of living, or care of the self. Ricoeur’s potential contribution to this conversation has been overlooked, largely because he does not discuss these themes explicitly or often. However, (...) Ricoeur’s early phenomenology of embodiment in The Voluntary and the Involuntary offers valuable insights regarding the exercises of self-transformation. After a brief survey of Ricoeur’s concept of askēsis, this essay draws on Ricoeur to demonstrate the merits of physical exercise, or gymnastic, in ethical and spiritual formation. Gymnastic, Ricoeur shows, can be a form of spiritual exercise. The final section of the paper then makes a similarly counterintuitive claim: namely, that reading is an embodied practice that can facilitate the ethical formation of the lived body. (shrink)
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, best known for his involvement in the anti-Nazi resistance, was one of the 20th century's most important theologians. His ethics have been a source of guidance and inspiration for men and women in the face of evil. Today, Bonhoeffer's theology is being read by Continental thinkers who value his contributions to the recent "religious turn" in philosophy. In this volume, an international group of scholars present Bonhoeffer's thought as a model of Christian thinking that can help shape a (...) distinctly religious philosophy. They examine the philosophical influences on Bonhoeffer and explore the new perspectives his work brings to the perennial challenges of faith and reason, philosophy and theology, and the problem of evil. These essays add Bonhoeffer's voice to important contemporary debates in the philosophy of religion. (shrink)
This paper offers a critical examination of Kierkegaard's account of friendship, and considers whether he accounts sufficiently for the transformative possibilities of friendship. Part I gives a brief discussion of ethical friendship in Either/Or, then turns to Works of Love and its critique of friendship. Kierkegaard does, however, retrieve and affirm friendship insofar as it is transformed by Christian neighbor love. The author then proceeds to consider whether this transformed friendship can also be genuinely transformative. Part II draws on Kierkegaard's (...) analysis of the leveling effects of modern culture, and argues that friendship can play an important role in resisting this threat by helping to initiate and preserve religious actuality. The author of the article contends that Kierkegaard needs to be pushed further on this point, since his writings remain ambivalent regarding such a possibility. Similarly, Part III examines Kierkegaard's openness to a concept of transformative Christian friendship. To this end, the article considers the possibility of friendship with Christ. Then, drawing on John 15, the Christological basis for friendship is taken into consideration. Finally, through Kierkegaard's account of Christ's friendship with Peter, the author of the article concludes that a charitable reading of Kierkegaard points us toward transformative friendship, even though it seems also clear that the Danish thinker does not venture far enough in that direction himself. /// O presente artigo analisa criticamente o pensamento de Kierkegaard sobre a amizade, interrogando-se particularmente até que ponto ele dará ou não suficiente atenção às possibilidades transformativas da mesma. Começando com uma breve discussão da amizade ética na obra Alternativa, o artigo passa depois a uma análise de Obras do Amor e à crítica da amizade que nela se faz. Mostra-se, assim, que Kierkegaard retoma e afirma a amizade na medida em que ela é transformada pelo amor ao próximo. A questão seguinte tem a ver com a possibilidade de esta amizade transformada poder também ela mesma ser genuinamente transformativa. Num segundo momento, o autor do artigo toma em consideração a análise que Kierkegaard faz dos efeitos niveladores da cultura moderna, argumentando que a amizade pode desempenhar um papel importante na resistência a esta ameaça ajudando a iniciar e a preservar a actualidade religiosa da mesma. O autor considera que Kierkegaard precisa de ser confrontado no que se refere a esta questão dado que os seus escritos permanecem ambivalentes a propósito desta possibilidade. De igual modo, num terceiro momento do artigo, o autor analisa a abertura de Kierkegaard ao conceito cristão de uma amizade transformativa. Para este fim, é considerada sobretudo a possibilidade da nossa amizade com Cristo. Neste contexto, o artigo aborda, nomeadamente em referência ao capítulo 15 do Evangelho de S. João, a base Cristo-lógica da amizade. Por fim, o artigo faz referência à amizade de Cristo com Pedro e conclui que uma leitura benevolente de Kierkegaard não pode deixar de nos apontar para uma visão transformativa da amizade, ainda que o pensador dinamarquês não pareça ir suficientemente longe nesta direcção. (shrink)