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Notable Publications

Below are books of note that may be of interest to affiliates of the Centre. Also below are books written, edited, or translated by members and staff of the Centre. All book descriptions come from the publisher.

[1]The Metaphysical Presuppositions of Being-in-the-world:
A Confrontation Between St. Thomas Aquinas and Martin Heidegger

by Caitlin Smith Gilson

The Metaphysical Presuppositions of Being-in-the-World brings St. Thomas Aquinas and Martin Heidegger into dialogue and argues for the necessity of Christian philosophy. Through the confrontation of Heideggerian and Thomist thought, it offers an original and comprehensive rethinking of the nature of temporality and the origins of metaphysical inquiry. The book is a careful treatment of the inception and deterioration of the four-fold presuppositions of Thomistic metaphysics: intentionality, causality, finitude, ananke stenai. The analysis of the four-fold has never before been done and it is a central and original contribution of Gilson’s book. The four-fold penetrates the issues between the phenomenological approach and the metaphysical vision to arrive at their core and irreconcilable difference. Heidegger’s attempt to utilize the fourfold to extrude theology from ontology provides the necessary interpretive impetus to revisit the radical and often misunderstood metaphysics of St. Thomas, through such problems as aeviternity, non-being and tragedy.
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[3]Robert Spaemann’s Philosophy of the Human Person:
Nature, Freedom, and the Critique of Modernity
by Holger Zaborowski

The German philosopher Robert Spaemann provides an important contribution to a number of contemporary debates in philosophy and theology, opening up possibilities for conversation between these disciplines. He engages in a dialogue with classical and contemporary positions and often formulates important and original insights which lie beyond common alternatives. In this study Holger Zaborowski provides an analysis of the most important features of Spaemann’s philosophy and shows the unity of his thought. The question ‘Who is a person?’ is of increasing significance: Are all human beings persons? Are there animals that can be considered persons? What does it mean to speak of personal identity and of the dignity of the person? Spaemann provides an answer to these questions: Every human being, he argues, is a person and, therefore, ‘has’ his nature in freedom. In order to understand the person, Spaemann explains, we have to think about the relation between nature and freedom and avoid the reductive accounts of this relation prevalent in important strands of modern thought. Spaemann develops a challenging critique of modernity, incorporating analysis of modern anti-modernisms and showing that these are also subject to a dialectical development, perpetuating the problematic shortcomings of many features of modern reasoning. If we do not want to abolish ourselves as persons, Spaemann reasons, we need to find a way of understanding ourselves that evades the dialectic of modernity. Thus, he reminds his readers of ‘self-evident’ knowledge: insights that we have once already known, but tend to forget.
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[5] After the Postsecular and the Postmodern:
New Essays in Continental Philosophy of Religion

edited by Anthony Paul Smith and Daniel Whistler

Continental philosophy of religion has been dominated for two decades by ‘postsecular’ and ‘postmodern’ thought. This volume brings together a vanguard of scholars to ask what comes after the postsecular and the postmodern – that is, what is Continental philosophy of religion now? Against the subjugation of philosophy to theology, After the Postsecular and the Postmodern: New Essays in Continental Philosophy of Religion argues that philosophy of religion must either liberate itself from theological norms or mutate into a new practice of thinking in order to confront the challenges religion presents for our time. The essays do not propose a new orthodoxy but set the stage for new debates by reclaiming a practice of philosophy of religion that recovers and draws on the insights of a distinctly modern tradition of Continental philosophy, confronts the challenge of rethinking the secular in the light of the postsecular event, and calls for a move from strictly critical to speculative thought in order to experiment with what philosophy can do. This collection of essays is indispensable for anyone interested in the relationship between philosophy and theology, political questions regarding religion and in what contemporary speculative Continental philosophy has to add to philosophy of religion.
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[7]Absence of Mind: The Dispelling of Inwardness from the Modern Myth of the Self (Terry Lectures)
by Marilynne Robinson

In this ambitious book, acclaimed writer Marilynne Robinson applies her astute intellect to some of the most vexing topics in the history of human thought – science, religion, and consciousness. Crafted with the same care and insight as her award-winning novels, Absence of Mind challenges postmodern atheists who crusade against religion under the banner of science. In Robinson’s view, scientific reasoning does not denote a sense of logical infallibility, as thinkers like Richard Dawkins might suggest. Instead, in its purest form, science represents a search for answers. It engages the problem of knowledge, an aspect of the mystery of consciousness, rather than providing a simple and final model of reality. By defending the importance of individual reflection, Robinson celebrates the power and variety of human consciousness in the tradition of William James. She explores the nature of subjectivity and considers the culture in which Sigmund Freud was situated and its influence on his model of self and civilization. Through keen interpretations of language, emotion, science, and poetry, Absence of Mind restores human consciousness to its central place in the religion-science debate.
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Bendict XVI: A Guide for the Perplexed
by Tracey Rowland

This title presents an upper-level introduction to the thought and theology of Pope Benedict XVI. This Guide provides students of theology with a guide around the theoretical axes upon which the theology of Joseph Ratzinger revolves. It begins with a presentation of the key ideas in the works of his intellectual antecedents and contemporary interlocutors and then moves to an account of Ratzinger’s responses to a number of theological crises. The work then moves to an account of Ratzinger’s understanding of Christianity as an encounter with the Person of Christ and his placement of Christianity within the context of world religions in general. This theme is spread throughout his publications and recurs in the first encyclical of his papacy, Deus Caritas Est. This first encyclical will be treated in depth along with the second and third encyclicals which form a trilogy on the theological virtues (love, hope and faith). The work concludes with an assessment of the primacy of the transcendental of beauty in the theology of Ratzinger, his affinity with Hans Urs von Balthasar and the Augustinian motif of the relationship between love and reason. “Continuum’s Guides for the Perplexed” are clear, concise and accessible introductions to thinkers, writers and subjects that students and readers can find especially challenging – or indeed downright bewildering. Concentrating specifically on what it is that makes the subject difficult to grasp, these books explain and explore key themes and ideas, guiding the reader towards a thorough understanding of demanding material.
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Spinoza and the Specters of Modernity: The Hidden Enlightenment of Diversity from Spinoza to Freud
by Michael Mack


Spinoza and the Specters of Modernity draws new theoretical conclusions from a study of Spinoza’s legacy in the age of Goethe and beyond, largely transmitted through the writings of Herder, that will have implications for the study of German intellectual history and, more broadly, the study of religion and literature. Michael Mack describes how a line of writers and thinkers re-configured Spinoza’s ideas and how these ideas thus became effective in society at large. Mack shows that the legacy of Spinoza is important because he was the first thinker to theorize narrative as the constitutive fabric of politics, identity, society, religion and the larger sphere of culture. Indeed, Mack argues for Spinoza’s writings on politics and ethics as an alternative to a Kantian conception of modernity.
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[13]Romano Guardini: Reform from the Source
by Hans Urs von Balthasar
translated by Albert K. Wimmer and D. C. Schindler

Romano Guardini (1885-1968) was one of the greatest Catholic minds of the twentieth century. He helped shape Catholic theology between the two world wars and after, as well as the thinking of many non-Catholics of the period. His influence contributed to the reforms of the Second Vatican Council and it continues to be felt through Pope Benedict, who, as a theologian, a cardinal and now as Pope, has drawn extensively on Guardini for inspiration. Indeed, Guardini was a major theological mentor of Benedict XVI, influencing the Pope from his understanding of Jesus to his writings on the sacred Liturgy, from his view of faith to his perspective on the modern world.

Romano Guardini: Reform from the Source, written by another great theological mind, Hans urs von Balthasar, presents a kind of “roadmap” to Guardini’s thought. As an introduction to Guardini, von Balthasar’s study is intended to challenge readers to take up Guardini’s own writings and to find in him the wisdom that has inspired so many others. Many of Guardini’s influential works are still in print today, works that cover a wide range of important spiritual, theological and moral issues.
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Forthcoming Titles:

[15]Future Christ: A Lesson in Heresy
by François Laruelle
translated by Anthony Paul Smith
(forthcoming 16 Dec 2010)

In this work Laruelle draws on material from the traditions of Christianity, Judaism and Gnosticism, but he does so by suspending their authority. This adventure in non-philosophy does not claim to think for religion, but from it as material and with disinterest towards its self-given status as ultimate authority. This provocative, yet remarkably accessible book introduces philosophy to the lessons of heresy and makes use of them in a non-philosophical “dualysis” of messianism and apocalypticism. Laruelle investigates the “heretic question”, analogous to but historically distinguished from the “Jewish question”, to develop a “non-Christian science” that struggles against and for our World. Future Christ thus opens up novel ways of thinking within existing religious and philosophical thought and marks an incisive and wide-ranging non-philosophical engagement with key contemporary debates in philosophy and theology.
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[17]Paul’s New Moment: Continental Philosophy and the Future of Christian Theology
by John Milbank, Slavoj Žižek, and Creston Davis, with a contribution from Catherine Pickstock
(forthcoming 1 December 2010)

The rediscovery of the Apostle Paul by atheistic or agnostic European philosophers is one of the most striking developments in recent philosophy–and certainly one of keen interest to the church. These philosophers view Paul as having a revolutionary understanding of authority and politics. Bringing together Radical Orthodox theologian John Milbank, Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek, and Creston Davis, who has been a student of both, this book reflects on Paul’s new moment in secular philosophy. In a debate format, Žižek brings Marxist and post-Marxist ideas into a discussion with Milbank about the influence of Paul. The book also includes a contribution from Catherine Pickstock.
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[19]The Truth is the Way: Kierkegaard’s Theologia Viatorum (Veritas [20])
by Christopher Ben Simpson
(forthcoming 31 August 2010)

“SCM Veritas” engages in critical and original questions of pressing concern to both philosophers and theologians. The major concern of all books in this series is to display a rigorous theological critique of categories not often thought to be theological in character, such as phenomenology or metaphysics which are mainly considered as philosophical categories. All the books in this series aim to illustrate that without theology, something essential is lost in our accounts of such categories – not only in the abstract but in the way in which we inhabit the world. The Danish existentialist philosopher Søren Kierkegaard is one of the most influential thinkers for of the 19th century. His work crosses the boundaries of theology, philosophy, psychology and literature. This book presents another way of reading Kierkegaard – as a robustly theological , even metaphysical, thinker – as post-postmodern, even Radically Orthodox.
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