Powers Of Distinction: On Religion And Modernity by Nancy LevenePowers Of Distinction: On Religion And Modernity by Nancy Levene

Powers Of Distinction: On Religion And Modernity

byNancy Levene

Paperback | December 6, 2017

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In this major new work, philosopher of religion Nancy Levene examines the elemental character of religion and modernity. Deep in their operating systems, she argues, are dualisms of opposition and identity that cannot be reconciled with the forms of life they ostensibly support. These dualisms are dead ends, but they conceal a richer position—another kind of dualism constitutive of mutual relation. This dualism is difficult to distinguish and its concept of relation difficult to commit to. It risks contention and even violence. But it is also the indispensable support for modernity’s most innovative ideals: democracy, criticism, and interpretation.
In readings from Abraham to the present, Levene recovers this richer dualism in its difference from the alternatives—other dualisms, nondualism, multiplication. From Abraham we get the biblical call to give up tribal belonging for a promised land of covenantal relation. Yet modernity, inclusive of this call, is also the principle that critiques the promise when it divides self from other, us from them.

Drawing on a long tradition of thinkers and scholars even as she breaks new ground, Levene offers here nothing less than a new way of understanding modernity as an ethical claim about our world, a philosophy of the powers of distinction to include rather than to divide.
Nancy Levene is associate professor of religious studies at Yale University. She is the author of Spinoza’s Revelation: Religion, Democracy, and Reason.  
Title:Powers Of Distinction: On Religion And ModernityFormat:PaperbackDimensions:304 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.9 inPublished:December 6, 2017Publisher:University of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:022650753X

ISBN - 13:9780226507538

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Table of Contents

1 The Principle of Modernity
2 A History of Religion
3 Artificial Populations
4 The Collective
5 Images of Truth from Anselm to Badiou
6 The Radical Enlightenment of Spinoza and Kant
7 Modernity as Ground Zero
8 Of Gods, Laws, Rabbis, and Ends


Editorial Reviews

“Powers of Distinction can be understood as a major contribution to what has been called post-secularism, a field often taken as the study of the afterlife of religion in fundamentally secular western modernity. But for Levene, the religious and the secular in modernity are not self-sufficient and opposed propositions; in fact, the belief in the opposition of those ideas, whether in favor of the religious or the secular, is what modernity, in Levene’s sense, refuses. This book will be of greatest interest to scholars and students of religion, but by no means will it be limited to people working in ‘religious studies,’ a category that is indeed fundamentally redefined here.”