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The Quest for God and the Good: World Philosophy as a Living Experience

Diana Lobel

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Paper, 312 pages,
ISBN: 978-0-231-15315-7
$28.00 / £19.50

August, 2011
Cloth, 312 pages,
ISBN: 978-0-231-15314-0
$85.00 / £58.50

Diana Lobel takes readers on a journey across Eastern and Western philosophical and religious traditions to discover a beauty and purpose at the heart of reality that makes life worth living. Guided by the ideas of ancient thinkers and the insight of the philosophical historian Pierre Hadot, The Quest for God and the Good treats philosophy not as an abstract, theoretical discipline, but as a living experience.

For centuries, human beings have struggled to know why we are here, whether a higher being or dimension exists, and whether our existence is fundamentally good. Above all, we want to know whether the search for God and the good will bring happiness. Following in the path of the ancient philosophers, Lobel directly connects conceptions of God or an Absolute with notions of the good, illuminating diverse classical texts and thinkers. She explores the Bible and the work of Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Maimonides, al-Farabi, and al-Ghazali. She reads the Tao Te Ching, I Ching, Bhagavad Gita, and Upanishads, as well as the texts of Theravada, Mahayana, and Zen Buddhism, and traces the repercussions of these works in the modern thought of Alfred North Whitehead, Iris Murdoch, Alasdair MacIntyre, and Charles Taylor.

While each of these texts and thinkers sets forth a distinct and unique vision, all maintain that human beings find fulfillment in their contact with beauty and purpose. Rather than arriving at one universal definition of God or the good, Lobel demonstrates the aesthetic value of multiple visions presented by many thinkers across cultures. The Quest for God and the Good sets forth a path of investigation and discovery culminating in intellectual and spiritual communion.

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About the Author

Diana Lobel is associate professor of religion at Boston University and the author of Between Mysticism and Philosophy: Sufi Language of Religious Experience in Judah Halevi’s Kuzari and A Sufi-Jewish Dialogue: Philosophy and Mysticism in Bahya Ibn Paquda’s Duties of the Heart.

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