Thursday, September 09, 2010

The Future of Continental Philosophy of Religion

I blogged a few months back about the 4th conference in the Postmodernism, Culture and Religion series at Syracuse, "The Future of Continental Philosophy of Religion." Over the last few days, churchandpomo have posted the contributions to a symposium on continental philosophy of religion that were first published in Faith and Philosophy vol.6, no.9 (Oct 2009).

First, James K.A. Smith (Calvin College) wrote, "Continental Philosophy of Religion: Prescriptions for a Healthy Subdiscipline." Abstract: Over the past decade there has been a burgeoning of work in philosophy of religion that has drawn upon and been oriented by "continental" sources in philosophy—associated with figures such as Martin Heidegger, Jacques Derrida, Emmanuel Levinas, Jean-Luc Marion, Gilles Deleuze, and others. This is a significant development and one that should be welcomed by the community of Christian philosophers. However, in this dialogue piece I take stock of the field of "continental philosophy of religion" and suggest that the field is developing some un-healthy patterns and habits. The burden of the paper is to suggest a prescription for the future health of this important field by articulating six key practices that should characterize further scholarship in continental philosophy of religion.

Then Bruce Ellis Benson (Wheaton College) replied with, "A Response to Smith's 'Continental Philosophy of Religion'." Abstract: All of us working in continental philosophy of religion can be grateful to James K. A. Smith for his call to consider which practices will best further the "health" of the burgeoning subdiscipline of continental philosophy of religion. Given that he offers his suggestions "in the spirit of 'conversation starters,'" my response is designed to continue what I hope will be an ongoing conversation. With that goal in mind, I respond to Smith by considering not only the practicality of each suggestion but also whether adopting practices he suggests would actually improve the health of the subdiscipline.

And then Jamie responded with, "The End of Enclaves: A Reply to Benson." Abstract: In reply to Benson’s response, I agree that we should be seeking the dissolution of all enclaves in philosophy of religion—whether continental or analytic. But I continue to suggest that continental philosophy of religion bears special burdens in this respect.

No comments: