The Gift Exchanged: The Gift in Religion (Paperback)John Milbank (author)
- Coming soon
Edited by John Milbank, Catherine Pickstock and GrahamWard
In recent years the field of theology and religious studies haschanged out of all recognition; however there is currently no bookseries which fully reflects the diverse elements of these shiftsand tries to produce new syntheses.
The most important context here is a move of these disciplinesfrom the margin to the centre. This reflects the increasedvisibility of religion in the world at large. There has been aperceived failure of secular ideologies, now including liberalismitself and an increased loss of faith in enlightenment humanism.This has left a vacuum which only religions appear to be able tofill. Intellectually there is also a growing sense that religionand culture lie so close together that religion is an unavoidableand fundamental human reality. A further factor is globalisation: religions are able to exploit this phenomenon, especially becausein world terms they remain very powerful. At the same time this newcircumstance is encouraging an intensified conflict between thecompeting universal visions of the 'great faiths'.Eminent social scientists like Jurgen Habermas are now using termslike 'post-secularism' to define these new culturalconditions.
It is not just within the social sciences that there is arenewed interest in religion. A large group of continentialphilosophers have become dissatisfied with a purely 'postmodern'approach. These thinkers are increasingly discussing aspects ofreligion, and include figures such as Zizek, Marion, Chretien, Derrida and Irigaray. In the Ango-Saxon world there have beendifferent but parallel trends in the wake of the exhaustion of theanalytic project on the part of some thinkers. Post-analyticphilosophy is either more naturalistic or more religious (as can beseen in the debate between Dennett and MacIntyre and CharlesTaylor).
The novelty of Theory and Theology would be, in the first place, an explicit foregrounding of the new interaction between theology, philosophy, political theory and cultural studies (includingreligious studies). Despite the theoretical convergence of certaintrends, they often in practice do not come together. Th aim ofTheory and Theology would be to make this happen, and therebysignificantly to advance contemporary theoretical discussion. Wewould hope that this would become not just a respected but arenowned series. Possible future contributors would include Zizek, Eagleton, Badiou, Charles Taylor, O-T Venard OP, J-Y Lacoste, J-LChretien and William Desmond.
We would expect to work closely with Rebecca Harkin to determinethe correct mix of titles, but the first 4 or 5 could be:
1. The Gift in Religion by John Milbank. This book would for thefirst time offer a complete treatment of the debate on the gift inall its ethnographic, historical, philosophic and theologicalramifications.
2. Creation and Evolution by Michael Hanby. This book wouldoffer something very original: a philosophical and theologicalcritique of Darwinism in terms of its presuppositions andconsequences, which nonetheless in no ways endorses'creationism' which it rather sees as a modernphenomenon that colludes with its seeming opponent.
3. Work by John Hughes A thorough re-examination of philosophiesand theologies of labour.
4. The Lineage of Soul by Catherine Pickstock.
5. Cultural Ethics: Rethinking Christian Socialism by GrahamWard This study would begin with a genealogy of socialist thought, relating both it Marxist and religious forms to cultural shifts inChristianity and politics dating back to the early modern period.It would then go on to examine its demise under the new cultrualconditions of the 1970's and 80's and explore the newcontemporary possibilities at a point when, in the West, postsecualrity encounters forms of postdemocracy, postliberalismand posthumanism.
Publisher: John Wiley and Sons Ltd
Number of pages: 320