Category Archives: Books

New Edited Volume: The Resounding Soul

PrintGreetings, dear readers! It’s been a while, but I wanted to inform you that as of this past November (of 2015), my friend Samuel Kimbriel and I have published an edited volume through Wipf & Stock entitled The Resounding Soul: Reflections on the Metaphysics and Vivacity of the Human Person. The essays contained within are the fruit of the conference on “The Soul” that took place in the summer of 2013. The collection has been a labor of love, and we are both really proud of the final product.

Here is the book description:

It is surely not coincidental that the term “soul” should mean not only the center of a creature’s life and consciousness, but also a thing or action characterized by intense vivacity (“that bike’s got soul!”). It also seems far from coincidental that the same contemporary academic discussions that have largely cast aside the language of “soul” in their quest to define the character of human mental life should themselves be so—how to say it?—bloodless, so lacking in soul. This volume arises from the opposite premise, namely that the task of understanding human nature is bound up with and in important respects dependent upon the more critical task of learning to be fully human, of learning to have soul. The papers collected here are derived from a conference in Oxford sponsored by the Centre of Theology and Philosophy and together explore the often surprising landscape that emerges when human consciousness is approached from this angle. Drawing upon literary, philosophical, theological, historical, and musical modes of analysis, the essays of this volume vividly remind the reader of the power of the ancient language of soul over against contemporary impulses to reduce, fragment, and overly determine human selfhood.

We were also blessed to have the following blurbs added to the back of the book:

“According to Aristotle, inquiry into the soul is one of the noblest human tasks. Such an inquiry, however, has all but disappeared: if the soul is not denied altogether, it is rarely thought about. The Resounding Soul helps us recollect this ancient knowledge, and at the same time opens up new avenues of reflection. By inviting us to lift our gaze in this bourgeois and pragmatic age, the editors have rendered a great service.” — D. C. Schindler, author, Associate Professor of Metaphysics and Anthropology, The John Paul II Institute

“These exacting essays variously suggest that the apparently problematic category of the soul nonetheless secures the reality of mind without reduction, and without a dualistic contrast to body and matter. Both body and mind live, and it is the living force of the soul which combines them in growth, motion and reflection.” — Catherine Pickstock,  Professor of Metaphysics and Poetics, Emmanuel College, University of Cambridge

The best way to secure a copy of this collection is directly from the publisher’s website here.

TheResoundingSoul-Cover-Rembrandt

Histories of Philosophy

A friend recently asked me to provide a reading list of books that contain surveys of philosophy. Below is the list that gave him. Now, I understand these are all, to some degree, narrative accounts from many different perspectives including both ancient, medieval, modern, and post-modern trajectories.

  • Louis Dupré, Passage to Modernity
  • Michael Allen Gillespie, Nihilism before Nietzsche
  • Michael Allen Gillespie, The Theological Origins of Modernity
  • Adrian Pabst, Metaphysics: The Creation of Hierarchy
  • Charles Taylor, The Sources of the Self
  • Charles Taylor, A Secular Age
  • Conor Cunningham, Genelogy of Nihilism: Philosophies of Nothing and the Difference of Theology
  • Philipp W. Rosemann,  Omne Agens Agit Sibi Simile: A “Repetition” of Scholastic Metaphysics
  • Pierre Hadot, What is Ancient Philosophy?
  • Dominique Janicaud (ed.), Phenomenology and the “theological Turn”: The French Debate
  • Philip Goodchild (ed.), Rethinking Philosophy of Religion: Approaches from Continental Philosophy
  • Jonathan I. Israel, Radical Enlightenment: Philosophy and the Making of Modernity 1650-1750
  • Gillian Rose, Dialectic of Nihilism
  • John Mullarkey, Post-Continental Philosophy: An Outline

What would you add to this list?

Where Heaven and Earth Meet

“However, it is not the case that in any genus—even [the genus] of motion—we come to an unqualifiedly maximum and minimum. Hence, if we consider the various movements of the spheres, [we will see that] it is not possible for the world-machine to have, as a fixed and immovable centre, either our perceptible earth or air or fire or any other thing.

“Hence, the world does not have a [fixed] circumference. For if it had a fixed center, it would also have a [fixed] circumference; and hence it would have its own beginning and end within itself, and it would be bounded in relation to something else, and beyond the world there would be something else and space (locus). But all these [consequences] are false. Therefore, since it is not possible for the world to be enclosed between [a physical] center and a physical circumference, the world—of which God is the centre and the circumference—is not understood. And although the world is not infinite, it cannot be conceived as finite, because it lacks boundaries within which it is enclosed” (Nicholas of Cusa, On Learned Ignorance, trans. Jasper Hopkins [Minneapolis: Banning, 1981], II.11; p. 114).

Karsten Harries associates this quotation with the Camille Flammarion woodcut (pictured above) in her Infinity and Perspective (pp. 46-8). The caption on the woodcut reads Un missionaire du moyen age raconte qu’il avait trouvé le “point où le ciel et la Terre se touchent”. Nothing more to add just now, but I really dig this.

Call For Papers: Kierkegaard’s Upbuilding Discourses

This was forwarded to our department:

CALL FOR PAPERS
KIERKEGAARD’S UPBUILDING DISCOURSES

Oxford Centre for Theology and Modern European Thought
International Conference
16–18 April, 2010

The Oxford Centre for Theology and Modern European Thought, in connection with the Søren Kierkegaard Society of the UK, is pleased to announce an international conference focusing on Kierkegaard’s Upbuilding Discourses. While often overlooked, the Upbuilding Discourses provide a rich ground for understanding Kierkegaard’s wider work, as well as his own identity. Furthermore, the Discourses offer a valuable contribution to a more general discussion of such issues as sin, love,  suffering, salvation, and personal identity.

This will be the first of three conferences on Kierkegaard’s Discourses, and will focus on the Eighteen Upbuilding Discourses of 1843-4, and the Three Discourses on Imagined Occasions. Further conferences will consider the discourses of 1847 (Århus, 2010), and Kierkegaard’s final discourses (Copenhagen, 2011).

Alongside the main speakers, there is the opportunity for the presentation of shorter papers of between 20-30 minutes. Abstracts of 300-500 words are invited on a wide range of themes related to the conference topic.

To submit an abstract or for further information, please contact Dr Matthew Kirkpatrick at – kierkegaard.conference@gmail.com. The deadline for submissions is 1st March, 2010.

For further details about the conference, including accommodation, fees, and registration, please visit www.kierkegaard.org.uk.

Speakers include:

Christopher Barnett
Iben Damgaard
Arne Grøn
Helle Møller Jensen
George Pattison
Jolita Pons
David Possen
Hugh Pyper
Joel Rasmussen
Steven Shakespeare
Claudia Welz

Helpfully, the Three Discourses on Imagined Occasions was also one of the volumes recently published in paperback.

Lastly, here’s the CFP poster if you’d like to download it: Kierkegaard Conference – Call for Papers.

On the prices of books

Sadly, after doing some clicking back and forth on my earlier post on all the paperback Kierkegaard books coming out (are now out now, by the way), I’ve noticed that in just about every case, all of the prices went up by a few dollars/pounds.  I suppose this isn’t much of a surprise as pre-order prices tend to be cheaper.

In other news, SCM Press has a pretty decent sale on some books of interest, ending on 30 Sept. 2009:

A Couple of Items

A new book symposium has begun on the Church and Postmodern Culture blog on Daniel A. Siedell’s God in the Gallery: A Christian Embrace of Modern Art.  Two posts are up already, one by Jamie Smith and the other by Matthew Milliner (who blogs at millinerd.com)  This Monday an engagement with the third chapter will be from Bruce Ellis Benson. The remainder of the schedule can be found here.

Second, I have begun a series of posts on Kierkegaard and Socrates over on Cynthia Nielsen’s Per Caritatem blog. The first post highlights Socrates’ importance for Kierkegaard at the end of his life, and the second post delves a bit into Kierkegaard’s “Sophistical” situation vis-à-vis the Danish Hegelian Christians of Copenhagen. I should have a third post up soon.

Of excellent book covers

Tiana and I just got back from a two-week trip to the States.  This was our first trip home since we moved to Nottingham in August 2008.  We visited Cincinnati, OH and while in California, San Diego, Merced, and Concord.  While in San Diego I visited the new Theology building on the Point Loma Nazarene University Campus.  I was able to see a good handful of my old MA professors, and before leaving, I managed to catch Dr. Michael Lodahl, my professor for my History of Christian Thought I & II classes.

Glancing around his bookshelf, I noticed that he had several copies of the new edition of his The Story of God: A Narrative Theology book.  The first one came out in 1994 (with the different subtitle “Wesleyan Theology & Biblical Narrative”) and has been assigned in many undergraduate Nazarene theology departments.  However, being a computer science undergrad, I was never assigned the book, nor did I ever get around to reading it in between my forray into theology since then.  What immediately struck me was how incredibly, vastly improved the new cover of the book was.  Here it is below:

And here is a link to a picture of the old one.  As you can see, ridiculously improved.  Not only that, but it’s about one of the coolest book covers I’ve ever seen.

There is a brief but interesting write-up of the process of this cover’s creation over on the Face Out Books website.

[If I ever got into Jules Verne, this would definitely be the set to get (with covers designed by the same place), don’t you think?]

Kierkegaard’s Hardcover-only Writings Soon in Paperback

It was recently pointed out to me by Chris Simpson that the pseudonymous authorship of Kierkegaard only consists of roughly 45% of his total writings, whereas the other 55% were signed/”religious”. With that said, it is exciting to discover that some of the harder-to-find Princeton editions of Kierkegaard’s work consisting of this signed authorship–previously only available in hardcover and therefore cost-prohibitavely expensive–are soon coming out in paperback! These volumes tend to be ignored in the popular scholarship on Kierkegaard, but these works, along with his Journals and Papers, are essential for any Kierkegaard scholar.

Looking at the paperback column below, these are clearly more affordably priced, although some are still a bit pricey. Those ones tend to be the larger volumes over 500-700 pages or so (e.g. The Moment and Later Writings), but there may be exceptions.

Here’s a breakdown with a price comparison chart where the paperback prices listed are the pre-order prices from Amazon. Hopefully it’s not too confusing. That being said, those viewing this post in an RSS reader like Google Reader, Netvibes, etc., may way to view this post on the blog itself because the styles may get munged.

Cover Vol# Title Hardback Price $/£ Paperback List $/£ Paperback Price $/£ Release Date
I Early Polemical Writings 134.95* / £138.46
$35.00 / £19.95 $29.33 / £18.95
July 09 /
June 21, 09†
IX Prefaces/Writing Sampler $56.24 / $40.00‡ / £33.00
$29.95 / £17.95 $29.95 / £17.05 July 09 /
June 4, 09
X Three Discourses on Imagined Occasions $177.50* / £47.50
$24.95 / £14.95 $24.95 / £14.20 July 09 /
June 4, 09
XIII The Corsair Affair, and Articles Related to the Writings $500.00* / £unavail.
$29.95 / £17.95 $29.95 / £17.05 August 09 /
July 5, 09
XIV Two Ages: The Age of Revolution and the Present Age, A Literary Review $67.50 / $45.50 / £32.01
$24.95 / £14.95 $24.95 / £14.20 August 09 /
July 5, 09
XV Upbuilding Discourses in Various Spirits $199.99* / £unavai. $35.00 / £19.95 $29.33 / £18.95 July 09 /
June 21, 09
XVII Christian Discourses: The Crisis and a Crisis in the Life of an Actress $57.00 / £64.60 $45.00 / £26.95 $37.42 / £25.60 July 09 /
June 21, 09
XVIII Without Authority $80.00 / $42.38 / £37.95 $35.00 / £19.95 $29.33 / £18.95 July 09 /
June 4, 09
XXII The Point of View $75.96 / $70.00 / £64.60 $35.00 / £19.95 $29.33 / £18.95 July 09 /
June 4, 09
XXIII The Moment and Late Writings $83.84 / £58.90 $60.00 / £35.00 $49.55 / £33.25 July 09 /
June 21, 09
XXIV The Book on Adler $95.00 / $50.00 / £44.88 $40.00 / £23.95 $33.38 / £22.75 August 09 /
July 5, 09
XXV Letters and Documents $125.00 / $85.00 / £99.14 $65.00 / £38.95 $53.59 / £37.00 August 09 /
July 5, 09
XXVI Cumulative Index to Kierkegaard’s Writings $99.50 / $90.00 / £59.95 $65.00 / £38.95 $53.59 / £37.00 July 09 /
June 21, 09

* Items designated with an asterisk mean that Amazon only has them “used and new from [x price]”, indicating that they don’t have any in stock and used bookstores or individual resellers are trying to scalp them at usually batshit crazy insane prices (e.g. The Corsair Affair).

† The Princeton site for Kierkegaard’s works only lists a release date in “Month Year” format whereas Amazon has more specific dates that don’t always align with these dates. The format will be “[Princeton Date] / [Amazon Date]”. We all know that Amazon’s release dates don’t really signify anything real, so take these with a grain of salt.

‡ Hardcover prices with two prices listed are for the “[New Price] / [Used Price]” where the used price is the best price available in the Amazon Marketplace.

Symposium on Christ, History and Apocalyptic

A series of posts has begun around Nate Kerr’s book Christ, History and Apocalyptic: The Politics of Christian Mission over on the Church and Postmodern Culture blog.  First up is Joshua Davis on the introductory chapter 1, who has just posted his engagement on Monday.  The conversation is already picking up nicely.

Here is the rest of the schedule:

  • 19 January – Chapter 2: “Ernst Troeltsch: The Triumph of Ideology and the Eclipse of Apocalyptic”, response by David Congdon
  • 26 January – Chapter 3: “Karl Barth: Foundations for an Apocalyptic Christology”, response by John McDowell
  • 2 February – Chapter 4: “Stanley Hauerwas: Apocalyptic, Narrative Ecclesiology, and ‘the Limits of Anti-Constantinianism’ “, response by John W. Wright
  • 9 February – Chapter 5: “John Howard Yoder: The Singularity of Jesus and the Apocalypticization of History”, response by Douglas Harink
  • 16 February – Chapter 6: “Towards an Apocalyptic Politics of Mission”, response by James K. A. Smith
  • 23 February – Concluding response by Nathan R. Kerr (although he has already been providing helpful clarifying comments already)

Also, Nate informs me that Cascade Books is still offering a 40% off discount if the book purchased through their site using the discount code “KERR40”, bringing the book down to $16.80 (significantly cheaper than Amazon).

Dave Belcher informs us that there will be a panel at this year’s Wesleyan Theological Society conference on Nate’s book as well.  Panelists include Scott Daniels, John Wright, Sam Powell, and Michael Cartwright, with Nate responding, and Dave Belcher at the moderating helm.

Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

These are slightly old now (in internet time), but here are a couple of noteworthy reviews in NDPR:

Paul Draper has a very good and critical review of Naturalism, which is written by Stewart Goetz and Charles Taliaferro (Interventions series).  The final paragraph:

Although [Goetz and Taliaferro]’s assessment of naturalism is, in my opinion, far from complete, I would highly recommend the book to philosophy students at all levels. It would be an ideal text for a course in metaphysics or philosophy of mind or even philosophy of religion. For not only is it a very short book, which increases the likelihood that students would actually read it, but it is full of arguments that are rigorous, clear, and free of technical jargon. In addition to being accessible, these arguments provide excellent models for students to imitate in their own philosophical writing. I would also strongly recommend the book to professional philosophers, especially to naturalists. For the book is an excellent reminder that, while naturalism is unquestioned by most philosophers, there remains serious and all too often unanswered opposition to it, and the problems it faces are deep and difficult.

Not a bad book cover, either, eh?

David Burrell has a review of Michael Allen Gillespie’s newest book entitled The Theological Origins of Modernity.  The book sounds rather disappointing on Burrell’s take.  Which reminds me: I still need to finish Gillespie’s earlier work, which I’ve been told by people who have read both, is quite a bit better.  Oh here I go, getting all ‘indie’ on genealogical takes on philosophy and theology, oy.

In other news, it’s 4:30pm and the sun set about an hour ago.  I’m definitely not anywhere used to that.

After Enlightenment

John Betz’s new and important book on Hamann is just out: After Enlightenment: The Post-Secular Vision of J. G. Hamaan (Illuminations series, more details here).  Our library doesn’t have it yet, and it is outrageously expensive — and I heard it may only be published in hardback — so I may not be able to borrow it from these parts for another few weeks.

Meanwhile, Peter Leithart has begun blogging the book:

Hopefully there will be more to come; it’s a rather large book, and in the newer, weird, large-and-bulky Blackwell format (e.g., the 2nd edition of Theology and Social Theory and William Desmond’s God and the Between).

Nate Kerr’s Christ, History and Apocalyptic: The Politics of Christian Mission

Nate Kerr’s Christ, History and Apocalyptic: The Politics of Christian Mission is now out in the U.S. through Cascade Books.  Ben Myers has posted an except on his Faith and Theology blog of chapter 5 bearing the title, “John Howard Yoder: The Singularity of Jesus and the Apocalypticization of History.” Those outside of the U.S. will need to buy the book here in the Centre of Theology and Philosophy’s Veritas series published by SCM Press, which will be out very soon.

This January on the Church and Postmodern Culture blog, we hope to have a symposium on Nate’s book.  More on that later as we are still working out people to engage the book!

The Return of Metaphysics

If you attended the Radical Orthodoxy and Process Theology panel at the 2007 AAR in San Diego, one of the interesting commonalities between the two sensibilities was an embrace of a return to metaphysics.  In 2006, the Centre of Theology and Philosophy hosted a conference called ‘Belief and Metaphysics’ (CoTP report here) around this issue (although not related to process) and subsequently published a collection of essays from the conference by the same title.

At this year’s AAR in Chicago, Nate Kerr is moderating a panel on the recently-released Belief and Metaphysics volume in the Veritas series entitled “The Return of Metaphysics: A dialogue on the occasion of the publication of Belief and Metaphysics.”  The panel is graciously sponsored by SCM PressVeritas Series and The Centre of Theology and PhilosophyClick on the poster above to see the larger version which lists all the details for the event, including the list of panelists.  If you received your AAR book in the mail this past week, you will also find these details listed on page 151. It looks to be a pretty exciting panel!

Regrettably, chances are very likely that I will not be able to attend the AAR this year because of our upcoming move to Nottingham in the fall.  We have a bit too much going on and not enough money to fly everywhere and attend everything.  However, I will be going to and presenting at this, which will be much easier to get to from Nottingham.  Still, if you can make it to the AAR, I highly encourage attendance at this this panel.  It looks to be quite interesting and a lot of fun with a good diverse response to the book.  The book itself is very diverse so we’ll see what happens!

Judging a Cover by Its Book

I am no stranger to book covers. Having designed the covers in two book series, this has sparked some fun discussions with my friend Kaz over the evolution of cover design, especially in theology and philosophy books.

Most book covers until recent times have been about careful text placement on usually a single-color background. To illustrate just a few examples, see, for instance, the bright red cover to the Krell-edited Basic Writings of Heidegger; the simple large text upon white of Charles Taylor’s Hegel and Modern Society; the original cover to Hauerwas’ The Peaceable Kingdom, which ups the ante a bit by applying a radial orange-yellow gradient; the highly recognizeable two-tone covers of Princeton’s Kierkegaard Writings series with SK’s portrait at the two-tone intersection. And from here, more multi-tone and pictures are introduced so that there really does not seem to be much of a limit in design any longer, outside of the usual printing costs.

Enter Continuum Press, namely, their Continuum Impacts series. These are reprints of well-known philosophical texts that have already established themselves in the history of philosophy, most of them being within the wider contintental tradition, with plenty of exceptions, theological and otherwise (Erasmus and Luther on Free Will, Barth, Schillebeeckx, Gandhi, et. al.). To see a slapdash view of all of the covers in this series, click here (after quickly extracting all the ISBN’s, I whipped up a short PHP script to display all the books in the series).

I’m curious, what do you think about the covers in this series? What say you?!

Update: Anthony has alerted me to a post he wrote three years ago on the same subject, with funny and appropriate commentary worth checking out.

Interview with Marcus Pound

aar2007-025a.jpg

My friends over at The Other Journal have just posted an interview with Marcus Pound, recent author of Theology, Psychoanalysis and Trauma in the Veritas series.  Knowing Marcus from a few conversations at various conferences (and enjoying his ability to rock out on some folk songs), his responses are as lively and enlightening as he is in person.

Books Read in Fall ’07

As my good friend Rusty is wont to do, here is my list of books reading during this last semester. Not all of these were read for class, but most were either assigned reading or read for papers. Some of these books were read over the Christmas break, making this more of Fall ’07 semester through yesterday reading list. This is, of course, in addition to a big handful of related journal articles to these topics. The only books not listed (because I did not have time to read them in full, but of which considerable sections were read) were a couple works by Graham Priest, notably In Contradiction: A Study of the Transconsistent, and An Introduction to Non-Classical Logic, not to mention Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit, which I am still working through.

“Any sane economy has to rest in an exchange of gifts

Well this is rather cool. In my post below on the Gift ‘vs.’ Economy, I suggested that a way forward would be toward some form of distributivism, linking to John Médaille’s book in the process, called The Vocation of Business: Social Justice in the Marketplace. Yesterday, I copy-and-pasted that post into a post over on the Church & Pomo blog, and John Médaille actually showed up and offered his comments! Turns out he has what looks to be a rather interesting group blog as well.

Pete Candler on the final books of Augustine’s Confessions

In the spirit of my earlier post here, Pete Candler says it much better:

Memory is, for Augustine, ultimately a questin of desire, of the right intentio or affection towards that which one remembers. The well-trained memory is one in which good use is made of the “things” in one’s memory. “A character,” he says, “is only to be praised for loving passionately when what it loves deserves to be passionately loved.” He describes the threefold character of disposition, learning and practice (usus) which correspond to the threefold division of memory, understanding and will (which further corresponds to the three rhetorical functions: delighting, teaching, moving). As is typical in his treatment in De Trinitate, the third term is a combination of the first two. Thus the practice of a person’s memory, or its “use,” consists in the “use the will now makes of what the memory and understanding hold, whether it refers them to something else or whether it takes delight in them as ends in themselves.” Therefore, to remember well is to will rightly, to have the proper kind of learned disposition towards that which one remembers [pp. 61-2].

And then, with this in mind, Pete says a couple of pages later:

What follows, then, in the remaining three books of the Confessions, is no mere afterthought, as some have argued. Instead, from what we have seen so far, we are in a position now to understand Books IX-XIII as the actual activity of the memory doing its work, as the plumbing of its unfathomable and mysterious depths. Yet the locus of this activity is not only the individual mind, but the collective memory of the church. The content of that recollection is not the boyhood adventures of Augustine; it is rather the story of God’s way with the world. Thus he begins Book XI with a retelling of the account of creation in Genesis, and concludes in Book XIII with a discussion of the eternal Sabbath. That is to say, Augustine now formally situates his own personal narrative within a larger story, that which the church tells — moreover, that story in whose telling and performing the church is itself enacted [pp. 65-6].

New Interview with William Cavanaugh

There’s a new interview with William T. Cavanaugh at The Other Journal:

The Nation State Project, Schizophrenic Globalization, and the Eucharist: An Interview with William T. Cavanaugh
by Ben Suriano

Really good stuff, as always, although some familiar material for those who know Cavanaugh’s stuff.  Looks like Cavanaugh also has a new book coming out called Being Consumed: Economics and Christian Desire.

Economy vs. the Gift?

In Peter Leithart’s post “Gift and Economy,” after clarifying that in reality, the gift and economy are not actually opposed, he concludes with the following question: “If I am right about classical economic theory (and I might stand corrected), the question arises of why it should have developed this way.  Why would gift/gratitude/relationship be left out of economic consideration?  And, how would economic theory be different if it’s included?”

I am no economist, but my first inclination is to say that the reason that gift/gratitude/relationship is left out of economic consideration is because modern economics itself it predicated upon an economy of lack.  The gift is one of surplus, one that in divine terms as D.B. Hart puts it in regards to Anselm, one that “exceeds every debt.”  In the gift, there is always a ‘more’ that exceeds the violence of exchange, which is also why Milbank is right to argue for the gift before the contract in our society (see his essay “Liberality versus Liberalism”).  Economic theory, if it assumed an economy of abundance (jubilee economics), would be very much more distributive, I think!