Humanism and Religion: A Call for the Renewal of Western Culture

Hardcover | February 3, 2012

byJens Zimmermann

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The question of who 'we' are and what vision of humanity 'we' assume in Western culture lies at the heart of hotly debated questions on the role of religion in education, politics, and culture in general. The need for recovering a greater purpose for social practices is indicated, for example,by the rapidly increasing number of publications on the demise of higher education, lamenting the fragmentation of knowledge and university culture's surrender to market-driven pragmatism. The West's cultural rootlessness and lack of cultural identity are also revealed by the failure ofmulticulturalism to integrate religiously vibrant immigrant cultures. A main cause of the West's cultural malaise is the long-standing separation of reason and faith. Jens Zimmermann suggests that the West can rearticulate its identity and renew its cultural purpose by recovering the humanistic ethos that originally shaped Western culture. In tracing the religious roots of humanism from patristic theology, through the Renaissance into modern philosophy, we findthat humanism was originally based on the correlation of reason and faith. In this book, the author combines humanism, religion, and hermeneutic philosophy to re-imagine humanism for our current cultural and intellectual climate. The hope of this recovery is for humanism to become what CharlesTaylor has called a 'social imaginary', an internalized vision of what it means to be human. This vision will encourage, once again, the correlation of reason and faith in order to overcome current cultural impasses, such as those posed, for example, by religious and secularistfundamentalisms.

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The question of who 'we' are and what vision of humanity 'we' assume in Western culture lies at the heart of hotly debated questions on the role of religion in education, politics, and culture in general. The need for recovering a greater purpose for social practices is indicated, for example,by the rapidly increasing number of publica...

Jens Zimmermann was born and raised in Germany. He holds a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the University of British Columbia, Canada, and a Ph.D. in Philosophy from the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, Germany. He currently occupies the position of Canada Research Chair in Interpretation, Religion and Culture, and is Prof...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:400 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.01 inPublished:February 3, 2012Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199697752

ISBN - 13:9780199697755

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Table of Contents

Introduction1. Western Culture after Christendom2. The Theological Origins of Humanism3. Humanism from Vico to Dilthey4. Martin Heidegger's Post-Metaphysical Hyper-Humanism5. Levinas's Humanism of the Other6. Hans-Georg Gadamer's Hermeneutic Humanism7. Christian Responses: Maurice Blondel and Dietrich Bonhoeffer8. Toward a Religious Humanism?