The Theological Origins of Modernity

Paperback | August 15, 2009

byMichael Allen Gillespie

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Exposing the religious roots of our ostensibly godless age, Michael Allen Gillespie reveals in this landmark study that modernity is much less secular than conventional wisdom suggests. Taking as his starting point the collapse of the medieval world, Gillespie argues that from the very beginning moderns sought not to eliminate religion but to support a new view of religion and its place in human life. He goes on to explore the ideas of such figures as William of Ockham, Petrarch, Erasmus, Luther, Descartes, and Hobbes, showing that modernity is best understood as a series of attempts to formulate a new and coherent metaphysics or theology.

“Bringing the history of political thought up to date and situating it against the backdrop of contemporary events, Gillespie’s analyses provide us a way to begin to have conversations with the Islamic world about what is perhaps the central question within each of the three monotheistic religions: if God is omnipotent, then what is the place of human freedom?”—Joshua Mitchell, Georgetown University

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Exposing the religious roots of our ostensibly godless age, Michael Allen Gillespie reveals in this landmark study that modernity is much less secular than conventional wisdom suggests. Taking as his starting point the collapse of the medieval world, Gillespie argues that from the very beginning moderns sought not to eliminate religion...

Michael Allen Gillespie is the Jerry G. and Patricia Crawford Hubbard Professor of Political Science in Trinity College of Arts and Sciences and professor of philosophy at Duke University. He is the author of Hegel, Heidegger, and the Ground of History, and Nihilism before Nietzsche, both published by the University of Chicago Press.

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Hegel, Heidegger, and the Ground of History
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Format:PaperbackDimensions:400 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.9 inPublished:August 15, 2009Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0226293467

ISBN - 13:9780226293462

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Table of Contents

Preface
Introduction

1          The Nominalist Revolution and the Origin of Modernity
2          Petrarch and the Invention of Individuality
3          Humanism and the Apotheosis of Man
4          Luther and the Storm of Faith
5          The Contradictions of Premodernity
6          Descartes’ Path to Truth
7          Hobbes’ Fearful Wisdom
8          The Contradictions of Enlightenment and the Crisis of Modernity

Epilogue
Notes
Index

Editorial Reviews

"In this rich and dense book, [Gillespie] is self-consciously trying to correct the 'standard' understanding of the origin of modernity. Rather than being the 'victory of secularism,' modernity, he says, is a series of attempts to grapple with fundamental theological issues."