Buddhas, gods, prophets and oracles are often depicted as asking questions. But what are we to understand when Jesus asks “Who do you say that I am?”, or Mazu, the Classical Zen master asks, “Why do you seek outside?” Is their questioning a power or weakness? Is it something human beings are only capable of due to our finitude? Is there any kind of question that is a power?
Focusing on three case studies of questions in divine discourse on the level of story – the god depicted in the Jewish Bible, the master Mazu in his recorded sayings literature, and Jesus as he is depicted in canonized Christian Gospels – Nathan Eric Dickman meditates on human responses to divine questions. He considers the purpose of interreligious dialogue and the provocative kind of questions that seem to purposefully decenter us, drawing on methods from confessionally-oriented hermeneutics and skills from critical thinking.
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Tim Knepper, Editor.
Global Categories and Problems develops chapters from papers developed for an NEH Collaborative Grant. The authors will present their drafts at a mini-conference in October 2021. 17 core scholars will propose core categories and questions from their own area of specialization (South Asian, East Asian, African, Native American, Abrahamic, and contemporary-academic philosophy of religion).
Nathan Loewen and Agnieszka Rostalska, Editors.
How might philosophical studies of religion enter the globalized, 21st-century world? Diversifying Philosophy of Religion: Critiques, Methods, and Case Studies is the first of four volumes whose contributions develop neglected topics and issues in the philosophy of religion. The volume engages critical theoretical and methodological issues in the academic study of religion, especially as they implicate issues of power regarding who speaks for and represents religious traditions and philosophies. These issues encompass, though exceed, the following: the construction of religion and religious traditions; who represents or speaks about religious issues, how, and why; critical issues of power, race, class, sexuality, gender, and intersectionality; and the methods and aims of global philosophy of religion. Where much philosophical thinking about religion in the English-speaking world inherits the limitations of Eurocentrism, colonialism and orientalism, these volumes are designed to creatively address these boundaries by developing models for exploring global diversity. Each volume’s chapters demonstrate how expertise in different methods may be applied to various geographical regions, building constructive options for philosophical reflections on religion.
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Philosophies of Religion: A Global and Critical Approach is an undergraduate textbook in philosophy of religion. It is the first textbook in philosophy of religion to rethink the basic topics and questions of philosophy of religion in a manner that is equitably inclusive of a global diversity of religious traditions. It also engages critical theoretical and methodological issues in the academic study of religion, especially as they implicate issues of power regarding who speaks for and represents religious traditions and philosophies.
Each chapter includes religious philosophies from East Asia, South Asia, West Africa, and Native North America, along with traditional material from the Abrahamic religious traditions and modern-academic philosophy of religion. Most chapters explore philosophical questions with regard to either the “self” or the “cosmos,” encouraging students not only to explore a global diversity of religious philosophies but also to philosophize about this content. The textbook therefore avoids the “God-first” approach of traditional philosophy of religion that marginalizes and denigrates many religious traditions.
Readers discover an approach to philosophy of religion that engages our contemporary access to information about the world’s diversity. The textbook includes a global diversity of religious philosophies (East Asia, South Asia, West Asia, West Africa, North America, and Europe). The objective is to restructure the basic topics and questions of philosophy of religion so they are appropriate to a variety of religious philosophies, and, to engage critical issues in the academic study of religion, especially as they implicate issues of power regarding who speaks for and represents religious traditions and philosophies.
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Gereon Kopf and Purushottama Bilimoria, Editors.
How can a variety of different approaches be put into dialogue within one book? A dialogue between a multiplicity of equal voices eschews the notion of a “meta-narrative” (métarécits) or a dominant paradigm. The volume has has multiple possible beginnings and endings, since it contains a variety of narratives. In conceiving of this volume, we are inspired by the Mahāyāna Buddhist image of Indra’s net and Mark Taylor’s, albeit unreadable, Hiding. The former presents an image of the cosmos with no center and infinite entry points, the latter a book that is non-linear in design.
The multi-entry approach proposes to rethink our discipline by introducing 18 different ways to envision philosophy of religion. “18,” of course, is an arbitrary number that emerged from the participants in the GCPR project.
The approach has five fundamental features.
1) A multi-entry approach shifts the focus from traditions such as “Christianity” or “indigenous religions” to systems such as “monotheism” and “communalism.”
2) Systems are driven by governing paradigms. Each paradigm determines unique questions and concerns with regard to what may be “philosophy” and/of “religion.”
3) Each system has a concrete historical context that has shaped its development, even if it can be thought through and applied independent from this particular context.
4) Each system develops its own language (translation into English will be an interesting problem) to envision what we call “religion” and “philosophy.” Every author either adopts an existing language or develops a new one.
5) All systems are regarded equal. There will be no overarching paradigm or language. Every chapter engages two other chapters on its own terms.