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Religion and Violence

, 472 pages
November 2001



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Religion and Violence

Philosophical Perspectives from Kant to Derrida

Chosen as an Outstanding Academic Title for 2003 by Choice Magazine

Does violence inevitably shadow our ethico-political engagements and decisions, including our understandings of identity, whether collective or individual? Questions that touch upon ethics and politics can greatly benefit from being rephrased in terms borrowed from the arsenal of religious and theological figures, because the association of such figures with a certain violence keeps moralism, whether in the form of fideism or humanism, at bay. Religion and Violence: Philosophical Perspectives from Kant to Derrida's careful posing of such questions and rearticulations pioneers new modalities for systematic engagement with religion and philosophy alike.

Hent de Vries is professor of Modern European Thought in the Humanities Center and the Department of Philosophy at the Johns Hopkins University and professor of Philosophy at the University of Amsterdam. Among his books are Philosophy and the Turn to Religion and Minimal Theologies: Critiques of Secular Reason in Adorno and Levinas, both available from Johns Hopkins. He is the co-editor, with Samuel Weber, of Violence, Identity, and Self-Determination and Religion and Media, and, with Mieke Bal, of the book series Cultural Memory in the Present.

"One cannot but be impressed by the acumen and erudition of Hent de Vries' Religion and Violence, which is a very fine addition to contemporary continental European philosophy of religion... It is a book well worth reading."

" Religion and Violence continues de Vries's reexamination of the place of philosophical theology and the philosophy of religion in the major texts of continental philosophy. Both subjects are transformed as de Vries meticulously unpacks the major texts of the post-Kantian philosophical tradition, unfolding in effect a new history of the afterlife of theology."

"A rich text with many insightful readings... Hent de Vries is an excellent philosopher and scholar."

"Demonstrates with rich erudition how the Derridian programmatic can shed light on the 'religious' dimension of philosophical and ethical strategies that seek to address violence."

"Here Hent de Vries deals with some of the most difficult authors—Kant, Kierkegaard, Benjamin, Levinas, and—throughout—Jacques Derrida, as well as with some of the most difficult issues in philosophy (not to say in political and personal life) there are, and the result is a rich, rewarding, and extremely important book."

"Hent de Vries counters the reductions of ethics to morality (and to moralism) by offering a capacious understanding of error as essential to the ethical turn. This book reverberates with intellectual complexity and intensity."

"With outstanding skill and remarkable insight, de Vries interrogates a range of texts from Kant to Derrida and challenges us to rethink the received picture of 'the secular Enlightenment.'."

"One of a number of first-rate monographs published in the field of philosophy this year."

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