Habermas and Religion

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9780745653273: Habermas and Religion

To the surprise of many readers, Jürgen Habermas has recently made religion a major theme of his work. Emphasizing both religion's prominence in the contemporary public sphere and its potential contributions to critical thought, Habermas's engagement with religion has been controversial and exciting, putting much of his own work in fresh perspective and engaging key themes in philosophy, politics and social theory.

Habermas argues that the once widely accepted hypothesis of progressive secularization fails to account for the multiple trajectories of modernization in the contemporary world. He calls attention to the contemporary significance of "postmetaphysical" thought and "postsecular" consciousness - even in Western societies that have embraced a rationalistic understanding of public reason.

Habermas and Religion presents a series of original and sustained engagements with Habermas's writing on religion in the public sphere, featuring new work and critical reflections from leading philosophers, social and political theorists, and anthropologists. Contributors to the volume respond both to Habermas's ambitious and well-developed philosophical project and to his most recent work on religion. The book closes with an extended response from Habermas - itself a major statement from one of today's most important thinkers.

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About the Author:

Craig Calhoun is Director of the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Eduardo Mendieta is an Associate Professor of Philosophy at SUNY Stony Brook.

Jonathan VanAntwerpen is Director of the Program on Religion and the Public Sphere at the Social Science Research Council, New York.


"Essential reading for philosophers and sociologists of religion and generally for anyone concerned with religion and politics."
LSE Review of Books

"This groundbreaking book contains a number of penetrating and insightful essays on Habermas's recent work, and on the meaning of the secular and of postsecularism. It will undoubtedly take the debate on all these issues to a much more rigorous and fruitful level. A stellar collection, with papers of a very high quality."
Charles Taylor, Professor Emeritus, McGill University

"In 2001, shortly after 9/11, Jürgen Habermas's address 'Faith and Religion' attracted a great deal of attention. Until that time the topic of religion had not been a major concern in Habermas’s extensive oeuvre but he now began to speak of a postsecular age in which religion becomes a major topic in rethinking modernity and in meeting the challenge of religion in public life. This collection includes many of his most sophisticated interpreters and critics and Habermas, in his characteristic dialogical spirit, replies to each of his critics. Anyone seriously interested in the current state of the discussion about religion and public life will find this collection essential reading."
Richard J. Bernstein, New School for Social Research

"Jürgen Habermas has sometimes been called the pope of European secularism, but in recent years he has written frequently and appreciatively about religion without giving up his own position. This volume collects a number of very lively responses to these writings, many of them challenging Habermas in fairly sharp ways, and coming from those close to him, like Thomas McCarthy, and far from him, like John Milbank. The book ends with Habermas’s generous but firm response to his critics: altogether a most readable and thought-provoking book."
Robert Bellah, Professor Emeritus, University of California, Berkeley

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